The Mystery of the Cocaine Mummies (1996)

Channel 4

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Documentary Description

Documentary on the findings of routine tests on a mummy in a Munich museum which showed high levels of nicotine and cocaine. The findings were criticised because such substances come from the Americas and were, apparently, not discovered until thousands of years after the passing of the Egyptian dynasties. The film questions whether the mummies are fake or whether there were trade routes between Egypt and South America that predate accepted chronology. 

In the beginning of the nineties, the Egyptian Museum in Munich initiated a research project to find out whether the ancient Egyptians had consumed the Lotus flower because of its psychedelic properties, a theory triggered by the many decorative Lotus flowers in many temples. Dr Svetla Balabanova, a renowned toxicologist of the Forensic Medicine Institute in Ulm (Germany), examined the nine mummies on request of the museum and found that, instead of Lotus flower remains, an abundance of nicotine and cocaine was present Such drugs come from the tobacco and coca plants respectively, plants that existed only in the Americas and were unknown before Columbus discovered America. To be sure, she requested that 3 other laboratories repeated the test and all came up with the same results. Even though these techniques are used in criminal lawsuits the world over and are 100% accurate, the scientific world, headed by the Oxford University, reacted furiously and denied the outcomes since it implicates that there was contact between Egypt and the Americas before Columbus, which is regarded as absolutely impossible.

Nicotine had previously been discoverded, however, in mummified remains in 1976, when the mummy of Pharaoh Ramses II was brought to the Museum of Mankind in Paris. But this was 'forgotten' as it is seen as unfavourable by Egyptologists.
Background information on this subject can be found in the book "Verborgen geheimen van de mensheid". For more detailled information, see ref. Balabanova.

Sources: Channel 4 and www.ancientmysteries.eu

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