From the first time he saw a mummy movie on TV, James M Deem developed a lifelong interest in mummies: Egyptian and otherwise, factual and fictional. One of his favorite activities in childhood was watching old mummy movies on television--especially on Saturday afternoons.
These movies fascinated him--the idea that someone could come back to life (all wrapped up in tattered bandages) was very interesting. Although as a child he never had a chance to see a real mummy or learn about ancient Egypt (because it wasn't covered in his school's curriculum), he maintained this fascination to adulthood. In 1990, when he was all grown up, he was inspired to write a book about mummies.
He was in the British Museum in London, climbing up the long staircase to the second floor when he came across a mummy that he couldn't ignore. It was Lindow Man, and he was in a display case in the middle of the second floor foyer. Lindow Man is a bog body, a kind of mummy he had never before encountered. One look at his preserved body, and he knew he wanted to write a book about all the different types of mummies in the world. That's what he accomplished in his book, How to Make a Mummy Talk. In researching the book, he read many books and articles about mummies. He spoke to a number of mummy experts. He also visited many museums that exhibit mummies.
A few years later, he decided to write an entire book about bog bodies (Bodies from the Bog). This was followed by Bodies from the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii and Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past (2009 Robert F. Sibert Informational Award Honor Book). All are filled with many rare photographs and illustrations. His last book related to mummies was Faces from the Past: Forgotten People from North America.
James M Deem has five mummy stories to share:
The Lemon Grove Girl -- a sad story about stolen mummy displayed at a California museum
The Curse of King Tut's Tomb -- a factual look at a story created by the rumor mill
Lindow Man -- how a famous bog body was discovered and what it told scientists
The Mummy on the Titanic -- the truth about whether a cursed mummy was aboard the ill-fated ship
Elmer McCurdy -- the story of a bank robber who was turned into a mummy for profit
Nesyamun -- the mummy of an Egyptian priest with a mysterious tongue
Tollund Man -- the discovery of one of the most iconic bog bodies ever found
Franklin Expedition -- the story of how an ill-fated trip to find the Northwest Passage led to disaster (and mummies)
Rosalia Lombardo -- the story of one of the most perfectly preserved mummies ever made found in the catacombs of Palermo