“Signs of life in mummy exhibit in Mexico have experts worried for those who get close”
This is the eye-catching headline of Aspen Pflughoeft’s article published yesterday in the Miami Herald. When I happened upon the piece in my newsfeed today, I felt a jolt of excitement. The macabre bent of my imagination had me anticipating a report of an uncanny shift of position detected in one of the exhibit’s desiccated constituents. My interest only grew when I began reading the article and discovered that the traveling exhibit displayed the famed “Mummies of Guanajuato”–the same collection of preserved corpses immortalized by Ray Bradbury in his 1947 Dark Carnival story “The Next in Line” (later collected in The October Country).
To my disappointment, though, the article soon revealed the disconcerting “sign of life”: patches of fungus on one of the mummies, a growth spurt that could pose a biohazard to viewers (the exhibit’s arrangers downplay any safety concerns). Suddenly, Pflughoeft’s headline turned into an exacerbating case of click-baiting. But as HBO’s The Last of Us has shown, a thriving fungus can make for a quite frightful antagonist. And articles such as the one in the Miami Herald are just the sort of raw material that provides inspiration for the horror genre’s dark dreamers. Here’s hoping that there will be some new mummy tale of apocalyptic outbreak forthcoming in the near future, one forming a worthy successor to “The Next in Line.”