: An intermediate
level English resource.
Titanic and the Temple of Doom
from wars and natural catastrophes, one of the greatest disasters of
the 20th century was the sinking of the great liner Titanic,
on a voyage from Liverpool to New York after striking an
iceberg off the coast of Labrador. "How
did it happen? How could it happen ?" people asked . Yet it happened !
Inexplicable, or was it? Is it possible that the sinking of the Titanic
was caused by a ghost? A lot of this story is true... but did it really
happen quite like this ?
As the Titanic sank, was the
priestess of Amon-Ra looking on?
We need to leave the icy cold waters of the North Atlantic,
and go thousands of miles back to the dry heat of the Nile Valley in
Egypt. It is here, perhaps, that we can find the start of the
mystery of the Titanic, here in the year 1910, in the great city of
One day, a British Egyptologist, called Douglas
Murray, was staying in Cairo, when he was contacted by a man he did not
know, a strange American adventurer.
The American had something unusual to offer the
British archaeologist, something that was certain to thrill
him : a
beautiful ancient Egyptian mummy-case, containing the mummy
of the high-priest
from the temple of the god Amon-Ra. The object
was over 3000 years old, but in beautiful condition – gold,
with bright paintings on it, and a "portrait
of the priestess. The
American did not want a lot of money for it, and Murray was delighted
He gave the man a cheque.
The cheque was never cashed. That
evening the American who had sold the case died. For his
part, Murray arranged to have the treasure sent back to Britain.
However, it was not long before he learnt more about the beautiful
mummy : apparently it had been discovered in a funeral
chamber in a
part of the Nile Valley. On the walls of the chamber, there were
inscriptions which warned
of terrible consequences to anyone who broke
the tomb. Murray was pretty sceptical about this warn
ing until a
few days later, when a gun he was holding exploded in his hand,
his arm. The arm had to be amputated.
Murray decided to come back to England. On the
return journey, two of his companions died from mysterious causes, two
servants who had handled the mummy died soon afterwards. By this time,
Murray had decided that there really was a spell
on the mummy,
decided to get rid of
it. A lady he knew said she would like it, so he
gave it to her. Shortly afterwards, the lady's mother died, and her
fiancé left her : she herself caught a strange disease. She
tried to give the mummy case back to Douglas Murray, but naturally
Murray did not want to have anything more to do with the cursed
object. In the end, it was presented to the British Museum.
It was presumed that that would be the end of the
story, but it was not.
Even in the museum, the mummy continued to cause strange events. A
museum photographer died shortly after taking pictures of the new
exhibit; and a curator
also died for no apparent reason. In the end,
the governors of the British Museum, not usually considered to be
people, decided to get
the mummy. They
decided to give it to a museum in New York.
At the start of April 1912, arrangements for the
transfer were complete, and the mummy began its journey to its new
home. Unfortunately .... or was it fortunately? ... the New York museum
never received its new exhibit. For when it sank, one of the objects in
the strong-room of the Titanic was the mummy case of the priestess of
the temple of Amon-Ra. Or so they say.
to sink, sank
to go to the bottom of the sea - liner
: big passenger ship - maiden
: first - strike
hit - thrill
excite - priest
man of god - portrait
picture - delighted
- very happy - funeral
: ceremony when a person has died - warn
: predict - break into:
break - spell
curse, magic -frivolous
: silly- get
sell or give - curator
See also: Song: The Titanic
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The Titanic and the Temple of Doom
the missing verbs and auxiliaries in this extract from the article. To
help you, the first letter of each verb has been provided; but not the
first letter of the auxiliaries..
evening the American who ______ s________ the case d_______.
his part, Murray arranged to have the treasure s_______ back to
Britain. However, it was not long before he l_______ more about the
beautiful mummy : apparently it _____ _______ discovered in a
funeral chamber in a dry part of the Nile Valley. On the walls of the
chamber, there _______ inscriptions which warned of terrible
consequences to anyone who b_______ into the tomb. Murray was pretty
sceptical about this warning until a few days later, when a gun he
_____ h______ exploded in his hand, s_______ his arm. The arm ______
____ ____ amputated.
Before taking this article, ask your pupils to tell you about the
Some of them are sure to be able to provide some details.
auxiliaries. See Linguapress English grammar
testing / oral expression.
After pupils have become familiar with this article, have them hide or
cover the written text, while you read it to them. Read through this
stopping at each l
the text below, and asking pupils to recall the missing words in
We need to leave the icy cold waters of l
the North Atlantic, and go thousands of miles back to the ldry heat of the Nile Valley in
Egypt. It is here, perhaps, that we can find the l start of the mystery of the
Titanic, here in the year l 1910,
in the great city of ll
One day, a British Egyptologist, called Douglas
Murray, was l
staying in Cairo, when he was contacted by a man l he did not know, a strange
The American had something unusual to l offer the British archaeologist,
something that was certain to l
thrill him : a beautiful ancient Egyptian mummy-case,
containing the mummy of l
the high-priestess from the temple of the god Amon-Ra. The object
was l over 3000
years old, but in beautiful condition – gold, with l bright paintings on it, and a
"portrait" of the priestess. The American did not want l a lot of money for it, and
Murray was delighted. He gave the man l
Using information from the article, and
their imagination, students should write an imaginary letter from
Douglas Murray either to his brother in Scotland,
lady he gave the mummy case to, or to the American museum, after the
sinking of the Titanic.
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