Mössner and Italesi were often cited as examples by believers in spiritualism and the occult, thanks to their deaths so soon after the excavations at the funerary complex of Teti II. Italesi died of scarlet fever while in quarantine at Port Said in December 1913, while Mössner perished the following year of a septic infection contracted after he was jailed by the British after war broke out.

Of course, that was patently ridiculous: British jails in Cairo weren’t known for their high levels of sanitation, much less if the prisoner was a suspected enemy alien, and there had been sporadic outbreaks of scarlet fever throughout the 1910’s on the Mediterranean coast. A pharaoh would have had to be far-seeing indeed to arrange a world war and an outbreak of unknown disease to kill those who violated the sanctity of his poorly-built rubble mound of a pyramid, and Teti II was a mediocre, forgotten ruler at best.

Nevertheless, when the entranceway to his pyramid collapsed a week after the death of Mössner, entombing 16 workers and two Europeans, the legend of the pharaoh’s wrath was established in the popular imagination, eclipsed only when Tutankhamen’s tomb was unearthed a decade later.