A trip through the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum, a ride on the Maid of the Mist, catching a flick at the IMAX Theatre, posing for goofy pictures at Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks. Oooh – don’t forget the big breakfast at HoJo’s after the late night at the Casino. Ah, the cultural attractions of Niagara Falls, Canada.

Did I mention Ramses I?

Three thousand years ago, Ramses I was the founder of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. After ruling for just two years, he died and was buried in the Valley of the Kings in 1290 B.C. (same neighbourhood as King Tutankhamun, for those of you who follow these things). Grave-robbing was rampant in those days, and while the coffin of Ramses I was eventually recovered in 1881, it was found to be empty.

A collective scholarly exercise of connect-the-dots suggests that the mummified remains were ultimately sold for seven pounds (now there’s a bargain in these tough economic times!) to a Canadian physician named James Douglas who had apparently acquired the mummy for a museum owner in Niagara Falls. The remains were placed on exhibit in The Niagara Falls Museum, sharing floor space with a two-headed calf, a five-legged pig, and a collection of barrels showcasing the daredevil history of the Falls.

When the museum shut its doors in 1999, the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Atlanta’s Emory University procured the remains, and the mummy thereafter underwent a barrage of medical investigative techniques including CT scans, X-rays, computer imaging, and of course, radiocarbon dating. The puzzle pieces all fit; the position of the arms high across the chest, carbon dating to 3,000 years old, the quality of the mummification, not to mention the physical resemblance to Ramses the Great.

On October 25, 2003, after negotiations between the Michael C. Carlos Museum and Egyptian authorities, Ramses I finally returned home to Egypt where he is now on display in a special annex to the Luxor Museum.  As foretold in the Book of the Dead: "Fleeter than greyhounds, quicker than a shadow, I have traveled the Earth. I come to you without a witness against me."

Jennifer Hartman, Guest Blogger

P.S. Nothing beats breakfast at HoJos the morning after the Casino.