Review: The Mystery of the Screaming Man, National Geographic Channel Friday November 21 9 pm est

Ah mummies. Who doesn’t like mummies?

This one has a contorted face, was covered in quicklime, wrapped in a sheepskin, and bound at the wrist and ankles. Not your standard operating procedure. Indeed, he seems to have had all of his organs, in contrast to standard practice. So off we go, in standard mystery-documentary, to explore some competing theories about the who what when where why. An autopsy done in the 1880s cleary saw internal organs, but the CT scan done in this documentary didn’t, the implication that the original investigators didn’t know what they were looking at. Seems to me that perhaps they took the organs out at that point? Or having introduced them to the air, they rapidly broke down?

No matter. We skip through the history and evolution of mummification, toss a few names out of possible victims, reconstruct the face (poor fellow was rather unfortunate looking), and fade to black. The documentary clearly favours one explanation over all the others, a plausible hypothesis concerning harem intrigue and over-eagre sons.  To say anything more would be to spoil the show, so I’ll stop. One last comment – the post-commercial recaps of the previous segment’s content seemed to me to be a bit longer in this one over some of the previous ones.  I really wish we could do without those recaps, and spend longer on the exposition.

Mystery of the Screaming Man airs Friday November 21 at 9pm, National Geographic Channel