After yet another week of grim news — the fiscal problems unsolved by Congress, yet another senseless shooting, this time in Switzerland — Latitude News gladly brings you the Mishmash, our weekly roundup of odd stories from the global press.
Eight million dog mummies found in Egypt
There are no shortage of ancient mysteries to be unearthed in Egypt; hence the need for Egyptology, the study of ancient Egypt. This week, Egyptologists are scratching their heads at a collection of eight million animal mummies discovered in a catacomb.
The mummified menagerie, comprised mostly of dogs with the occasional cat and mongoose thrown in, was found by an international group of researchers including The American University of Cairo and Cardiff University, with funding from National Geographic.
Paul Nicholson, one of the lead researchers, says the catacomb was dedicated to the cult of Anubis:
The proximity of the catacombs to the nearby temple of Anubis, the so called jackal or dog-headed deity associated with cemeteries and embalming makes it likely that these catacombs are indeed for canines and their presence at Saqqara is to be explained by the concentration of other animal [cults] at the site….These other cults include the burials of, and temples for, bulls, cows, baboons, ibises, hawks and cats all of which were thought to act as intermediaries between humans and their gods.
The cult believed a dog’s spirit would shepherd prayers to God, says Nicholson. So far, studies indicate most of the dogs were mummified shortly after they were born, although a few were older. Researchers are still trying to determine how the dogs died.
“There’s nothing odd about it….Meat is meat.”
Since we’re on the subject of killing pets, The Local, an English language Swiss news website, reports that dogs and cats are commonly eaten in certain parts of Switzerland:
Eating Fido – or Tiddles – might be more commonly associated with China and Vietnam, but rustling up a slice of cured dog meat to enjoy as a snack is not unusual in rural areas of central and eastern Switzerland.
The reports says there is no way of knowing how many dogs and cats are eaten in the Swiss countryside, and social norms keep people from crowing about their taste for dog meat. But the practice is not illegal. In 1993, 6,000 people signed a petition requesting a ban, but Swiss lawmakers decided not to impose such a restriction on certain citizens.
“There’s nothing odd about it”, one farmer in the Rhine Valley said. “Meat is meat.”
Another farmer, from Appenzell, tells of how he knocks dogs out with a club before slaughtering them and handing them to a butcher friend for preparation. A perplexed dog and cat-eater protested to the reporter that the practice never used to be frowned upon.
Things change; for some, anyway.
Have you seen my breast implants?
A budget hotel chain in the UK has issued its annual list of items forgotten in hotel rooms in 2012. Brace yourself. Yes, there was the usual assortment of laptop chargers, toiletries, suitcases and cellphones.
But here’s a list of the more unconventional items:
- breast implants
- a live python
- a £10,000 engagement ring
- a bucket of live crabs
- a pantomime horse
- a winning EuroMillions ticket (winning amount undisclosed)
- a £50,000 Rolex watch
- a set of four Power Rangers costumes
- a pilot’s training manual
- a spare car wheel
- keys to a Bugatti (the world’s most expensive car, 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds)
- a stamp album worth £250,000
- a Persian Chinchilla kitten
- a food processor
- a set of false teeth
- a collection of 200 masks depicting the Queen
- a diamond-encrusted iPhone
A spokesperson for Travelodge tells the Telegraph, “Our lost and found departments provide plenty of revelations. What is becoming evident after speaking to customers is that the pace of life has become so fast and we are so eager to get from A to B that priceless processions are easily being forgotten.”
Also easily forgotten: books — 7,000 copies of EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey, making it 2012’s most forgotten novel — and teddy bears, 7,000 of which were reunited with customers.