Mummy's curse at Marsden Rock? The Hartlepool family who suffered bizarre bad luck after discovery in South Shields cave

A day trip to caves in a famous natural landmark led to a bizarre series of events for young woman Marie Louise Ross.

From disease to financial strife, a mummified discovery was a tragic find and one which forced Marie’s family to quit their home.

Intrigued? Historian and researcher Graeme Harper has investigated the unusual tale and has shared his findings.

‘It was a day that Marie Louise Ross, from Hartlepool, will never forget.

The mystery of the cave find which led to a Hartlepool family quitting town.

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Whilst exploring the caves at Marsden Rock in 1933, she found a mummified figure which was around a foot long with black wrinkled skin and green glass eyes.

Marie was intrigued and decided to take the curious figure home giving it pride of place on her bedroom shelf. However, it wasn’t long before she noticed that her new discovery seemed to have a life of its own and kept falling on to the floor for no obvious reason

Marie’s mother became worried as to what the figure was made of and decided to stick a red-hot knitting needle into it to find out more.

This only made matters worse. Marie’s mother suddenly developed a rare eye disease and this was an infection which was only found in tropical countries and certainly not in West Hartlepool.

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The strange story of the mummy found in caves in 1933.

From then onwards, the family seemed cursed and numerous examples of misfortune befell them: not just illness but financial hardship, accidents, and general bad luck.

It got so bad that the family decided to leave Hartlepool and move to London. Surprisingly, Marie decided to take the mysterious figure with her, although she quickly handed it over to the British Museum for investigation. It was examined by the renowned anthropologist Professor Thomas Joyce.

Sadly, despite all his experience, Professor Joyce was baffled and swiftly handed it on to the Natural History Museum, who themselves drew a blank.

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Finally, it ended up in the hands of Sir Grafton Elliott-Smith at the University College London, and he was a world-famous anatomical specialist.

The area where the discovery was made.

After an X-ray examination Elliott Smith was able to confirm that the figure was indeed that of a mummified female child which had been embalmed many years previously but other than that its origins – and how she ended up on the North East coast – is still a mystery.’

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Our thanks go to Graeme for another excellent investigation.

He has often shared his work with us.

An undated view of Hartlepool.

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And we loved his story of the hermit with Hartlepool and Sunderland connections.

Another concerned the discovery of a six-sided crocodile fish off the North East coast.

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Do you have stories of weird and wonderful events from the North East’s past? Please tell us more by emailing [email protected]

Graeme Harper's latest tale - of the family which left Hartlepool after a mysterious find in a cave.