Mummified Scarab

by Professor Spellbinder

Effect:

The Wizard's apprentices roll onstage a little platform (approximately two feet square) which is covered by an Egyptian ornamental head-dress cloth, a large board covered with hieroglyphics and English translations, and a tiny sarcophagus. The Wizard places the board against the front of the platform, removes the headdress and puts it on to weave his tale of ancient Egypt.

Some background information upon which to elaborate: To the ancient Egyptians, the scarab dung beetle was considered sacred. The beetle rolls its little ball of dung ahead of it, back to its lair for laying eggs on it and burying it, and the Egyptians saw in this a representation of how the sun god Ra slowly rolls the sun across the sky and buries it in the earth each night. So the scarab was honored, used as decorative symbols on jewelry, and even mummified and buried with the dead.

Now the Wizard opens a small sarcophagus and removes an object wrapped in cloth strips. On unwrapping it, he shows what appears to be a mummified scarab.

"It is thought that the Ouija board was invented in the 1890's, and named after an Egyptian word meaning 'good luck.' That is pure nonsense invented by the modern board's designer. However, the Egyptians did use a similar channeling board, as it is called, on which were hieroglyphs that could be interpreted by the priests. There was no set pattern to the boards, but they might have resembled this one."

The Wizard picks up and shows a board, roughly two feet by three feet, painted with Egyptian hieroglyphs (the article includes the authentic hieroglyphs you need to duplicate for this effect).

The board is now set up on top of the platform, and the mummified scarab is placed at its base. The Wizard backs away, and suddenly the scarab leaps at the board, clinging to the hieroglyphs that represent "BEGIN" which are located at the base of the board opposite the glyphs for "GO AWAY."

"We're in luck," says the Wizard. "The scarab has a message for someone here today."

The Wizard chants a question and if the scarab beetle thinks it is worthy of an answer, it moves slowly up and down the board until it comes to rest upon the hieroglyphs for the answer.

Finally, after answering a series of questions, the scarab grows weary of the game and travels across the board until it touches the glyphs for "LIVE, PROSPER, BE HEALTHY." Then it travels down to the "GO AWAY" glyph and drops into its sarcophagus.

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