The 8 Most Intriguing Filming Locations from Mummies Never Die

Egyptologist Ramy Romany spent 17 weeks chasing mummies around the world for his new Travel Channel show, and the filming locations are to die for. Now, Ramy shares insights into the lore that fueled his adventures, and some of the missteps that happened along the way.

By: Joe Sills

Photo By: Mummies Never Die

Photo By: Mummies Never Die

Photo By: Mummies Never Die

Photo By: Mummies Never Die

Photo By: Mummies Never Die

Photo By: Mummies Never Die

Photo By: Mummies Never Die

Photo By: Mummies Never Die

Amarna, Egypt

Legend: Identifying the mummy of Moses.

Ramy Remembers: I got hit really hard with a disease while we were filming this. I was down in a tomb that hadn’t been opened in maybe 60 years or so. We were looking in the tomb of a scribe who would have had secrets and carried those secrets from a king that we think could be Moses. When we went down into the tomb, it was dusty. There were snakes that had been living there for a while, and I started looking for hidden secrets—all the while, I was breathing that dust in.

The next day, I had an incredible fever of 108, and I was coughing blood. Doctors didn’t know what I had, and they kept giving me antibiotics. Four days later, I prevailed; but nobody knows what the disease was. Call it the curse of the mummy if you want. I thought it was the end of me.

Chachapoyas, Peru

Legend: The myth of the Cloud People.

Ramy Remembers: The Cloud People were a tribe in Peru that both appeared and disappeared mysteriously. The Inca, who were very strong, feared them, and the only record we have of them is one line in a Spanish book that describes them as beautiful, white and tall.

High in the mountains, we found a location with mummies that belonged to the Cloud People. After doing some tests, we found those mummies had died carrying tuberculosis. That’s a big clue because tuberculosis is a European disease. If they had it, then it is very likely that they came from Europe and brought tuberculosis with them. If they were from Europe, it changes the course of history, which says the vikings were the first Europeans in the Americas.

Silver Spring, Maryland

Legend: The mummy of John Wilkes Booth.

Ramy Remembers: It’s not everyday you go into a basement in Maryland and find a dead body staring at you. Silver Springs is located in the D.C. area, and while it's not the most exotic location I’ve been to, it was definitely one of the most exciting locations I’ve ever been to.

The best part was the basement of a guy who collects human remains. I found a full-blown mummy in this basement.

When I introduced myself as an Egyptologist, the collector said he had some Egyptian artifacts and body parts that he wanted to know more about, so he didn’t mind me going in and introducing him to some of that information.

Salta, Argentina

Legend: UFOs and frozen mummies.

Ramy Remembers: I am a scientist, so I’m not a UFO-type guy; but everyone really believes in this place. Salta is a famous UFO hotspot today, and something like 80 percent of the population believes that UFOs visit this place. So, when 80 percent of any population believes one thing, I’ve got to go investigate what is behind the belief.

Salta happens to be near a location where archaeologists ended up finding the frozen mummies of Incan children. I got really carried away trying to understand how people would sacrifice their own children. They would take them 12,000 miles away from their home in Cusco, walking all the way there and taking them up some of the highest mountains in the world. To me, it was absolutely ludicrous.

I’m a father myself, and the most frightening thing I can think of is losing my child. So what would possess these people to sacrifice their kids trying to avoid something else? We wondered if maybe there was a connection between UFOs and these sacrifices. Were the ancient Inca seeing the same thing that we see in the night skies now?

Mayapan, Mexico

Legend: A cenote full of human remains.

Ramy Remembers: The scariest thing ever is diving under the water where it is completely dark, and the last thing you really want to see is a dead body. Well, in a cenote just outside of Mayapan, there are hundreds of human bodies.

While I was underwater, I was shining my flashlight in the middle of the darkness. I moved it left, then right, and then I saw skulls down there. It literally looked like an underwater crime scene.

The locals believe there is a massive serpent demon that is protecting the cenote. I don’t fear serpent demons, but I went to look around for what made the people believe there was one down there. Basically, we were snake hunting in flooded caves; I ended up concluding that those bodies might correlate in some way to the fall of the Maya.

These people were in the prime of their lives, and they died with no signs of human violence.

Jutland, Denmark

Legend: The mystery of the bog mummies.

Ramy Remembers: Endless numbers of people were apparently brutally murdered in the peat marshes of Northern Europe. In Denmark, we found countless bodies who had swords in their chests, cracked skulls or were hanged. It looked like a huge battle, only every body had its own burial space and was surrounded by artifacts.

The first time I looked at one of those mummies, I was shocked. They were some of the most well-preserved mummies I have ever looked at in my life and I have seen a lot of mummies. You can see wrinkles in their skin and stubble on their chin. Everything has been so well preserved because of the peat bogs.

Most of the time when these mummies are found people end up calling the police even though they are thousands of years old. The police come in, and they sometimes start a murder investigation before they figure out the body is from the Iron Age.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Legend: Black Sam Bellamy’s pirate gold.

Ramy Remembers: We have all of these pirate stories, but this is the only actual location where pirate treasure has been found.

Black Sam Bellamy’s ship, the Whydah Galley, sunk here near Cape Cod, but it avoided detection until 1985 thanks to a chemical interaction between iron and saltwater. The iron and salt created an electrical current, which attracted all of the silt and soil around the iron and encrusted the treasure so that it looked like rocks. When people started bringing the rocks up and breaking them apart, they found gold inside.

What I remember most is seeing a dead body that had Black Sam Bellamy’s special ribbon and pistol beside it. It seemed to almost certainly be him until a DNA test proved that it was not. There’s a whole mystery of whether Black Sam Bellamy could have faked his own death, buried the rest of his treasure and lived his life happily every after elsewhere.

Luxor, Egypt

Legend: A fire in King Tut’s tomb.

Ramy Remembers: For me, this was a huge deal because King Tut was a massive personality and a big character. Everyone knows about him, and he’s been studied so thoroughly that new discoveries don't come often. However, we went back to Howard Carter’s original notes and were able to make a new discovery. Was there a conspiracy to ensure that King Tut never made it to the afterlife, or was the burning in his tomb part of a new ritual?

On that episode, I ended up in a tunnel behind the Sphinx looking for sarcophagi that was buried there about 300 years after King Tut, to see if any of the burial techniques they had used had survived. That tunnel, by the way, is very mysterious. There is a lot of contradiction about what what took place there. One thing is for certain, though: there are sarcophagi there, despite the fact that the tunnel is not big enough to fit them through. We found massive burn marks on the lid, just like the ones described by Howard Carter when he opened King Tut’s tomb.

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