Genes and Screams


20 October 2022
Tales from the Hallotree. Chapter 1

Welcome to October; a time for some to prepare for Halloween, and others to use Halloween as an excuse to add jokes and filler to their blog posts. Each week, I will highlight a different Halloween creature and tie them to the current day using our own database, research, and knowledge.

Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut, ascended the throne at age 9 and ruled for 10 years before he died. He was the last of his royal family to rule

As we welcome the resurgence of American actor, Brendan Fraser (star of the classic fantasy film, The Mummy), to the limelight, I figure this is an excellent time to look at the real-life influences of Halloween beings and document their tangible effects on the real world up until today. Tune in next week as I examine the real-life creature, the unicorn! Just kidding, it’s probably werewolves or something.

Browsing my personal Facebook feed, as I so often do at 3:15 am after my nightly bout of insomnia, heartburn, and recurring thoughts about aging, I am already seeing posts about Halloween. We’re far enough away from the holiday for there not to be too many of them, but the spooky friends are already there. You know the ones. Posting year round about skeletons and monsters and witches. Waiting for any excuse to wear a costume. Staring at you while you sleep from outside your bedroom window. That third thing is admittedly an apartment security issue – not Halloween.

Regarding costumes, the easiest one to make is the mummy. A classic in the pantheon of Halloween wear, requiring only a roll of toilet paper, a lot of tape, and the acceptance of the inevitably of it completely disintegrating immediately, the mummy is one of the Halloween creatures based largely in reality. People have been mummified throughout history, and many can still be seen today.

Amenhotep III – Believed to be King Tutankhamun’s (King Tut’s) father

Maybe most famously from Egypt, real mummies continue to fascinate us. Though ancient comes with an archaic undertone, we here at FamilyTreeDNA have DNA signatures of several real mummies! Do you fall under the Y-DNA Haplogroup R? If so, you share a paternal line ancestor with King Tutankhamun, also known as King Tut! Haplogroup E? You are the product of a long line dating back to the now mummified Ramesses III and his son, who tried to kill him! Upset that your family line isn’t wrapped tightly in linens and amulets? Tutankhamun’s great grandfather, Yuya, belongs to haplogroup G! Finally, Nakht-Ankh from the Tomb of the Two Brothers, belongs to haplogroup H.

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Yuya – Tutankhamun’s (King Tut’s) double great grandfather

People have historically been mummified all over the world. If you find yourself not from a lineage near Egypt, may I interest you in the New World? There, you’ll find the Spirit Cave Mummy, the oldest real mummy in North America who belongs to Haplogroup Q.

Regardless of your haplogroup, taking our Big Y test, along with the new Discover tool included in every Y-DNA result, will directly connect you with notable people of the past.

Unknown Man E” believed to be Pentawer, Ramesses III’s eldest son who participated in the “harem conspiracy” to overthrow his father and put himself on the throne

For example, my results connect me with notable figures like Bennett Greenspan (Founder of FamilyTreeDNA) and Matthew Lowe (famed pirate). I am in no way equating the two, but they were the ones that stuck out the most to me when I first opened this part of my results. Pirates are another story for another Halloween. One character at a time.

Which real mummy should you dress up as this Halloween? Take a Y-DNA test and see how you connect with the dead! It’s easier than an online quiz, and more historically accurate.

By Jeremy Balkin.

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