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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

scarab An ancient Egyptian rendering of the common scarab beetle, often fashioned of green stone, marble, or limestone, was usually buried with the deceased as part of the interment ceremony. It was placed in the position formerly occupied by the heart of the person, which had been removed during the embalming process.
      The scarab, also known as the dung beetle, is often seen in nature rolling a small sphere of cattle dung into its nest. This event was perhaps taken by the Egyptians to symbolize the passage of the Sun across the sky, and in their writings and decorative motifs they represented the scarab as holding the sun-disk between its legs, in a similar pose they had observed in nature.
      Carved scarabs, in all sizes from one centimeter to more than a meter in length, are seen in museums around the world and small versions are still sold to unsuspecting tourists at souvenir stands in Egypt, and in new age bookshops.

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