In the first half, National Geographic magazine staff writer for three decades, Ann Williams, discussed some of the treasures and lore of the ancient Egyptian dynasties. She noted two important anniversaries that arrived in 2022-- it's been 100 years since the discovery of King Tut's tomb, and 200 years since the linguist Jean-Francois Champollion cracked the complicated hieroglyphic code. King Tut is thought to have died at the age of 19, possibly from malaria. It had initially been speculated that he'd been murdered since a fragment of bone was found in his skull, but CT scans in 2005 revealed that the fragment was an effect related to the embalming process, she detailed. One of the exciting things about archaeology today is that most artifacts have been scanned and made into digital 3D models, so it's much easier for researchers worldwide to study these objects without having to travel to the site, she cited.
The legendary Cleopatra was the Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt and descended from a Greek-speaking general associated with Alexander the Great. She was part of a 600-year dynasty that began in 332 BCE, Williams added. During the second hour, caller Louise, who believes she was Cleopatra in a past life, phoned in, and Williams asked if she knew where Cleopatra was buried, which remains a mystery. Regarding the latest discoveries, many of the current excavations are conducted by the Egyptians themselves and will be displayed in some of the new state-of-the-art museums that the country is building, such as the Grand Egyptian Museum on the Giza Plateau itself. As to how the pyramids were built, she suggested that canals were used to bring the stones to the site and that their construction was a great tribute to ancient Egypt's engineering, mathematical ability, quarrying, and management of human resources.
In the latter half, long-time scholar and one of the world's foremost experts on Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, Leslie S. Klinger, shared the inside story of "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson, as well as talked about other classic tales of horror and suspense, and their authors. By repeatedly taking a chemical, Dr. Jekyll transforms himself into the murderous Mr. Hyde, who has no conscience. While many think the novel was about "bad science" changing the normal Dr. Jekyll, Klinger views it as a fascinating exploration of the good and evil within one person. Released just before the Jack the Ripper case took England by storm, some people blamed the murders on the J&H book, Klinger noted. Stevenson, he added, was intrigued by the case of Deacon Brodie, a respected member of Edinburgh society who led a double life running a gang of thieves, and this was likely an inspiration for J&H.
Klinger, who provides footnotes and annotations to reprinted editions of classics like J&H, said it was a misconception that Stevenson was drug-addicted himself, though he did take medications for health issues, and many of the medicines of that era had cocaine or opium in them. The story of Jekyll & Hyde has captivated people for over 140 years, but many of the stage and film productions stray from the original novel, he pointed out. Klinger also talked about the work of horror and fantasy writer H.P. Lovecraft, as well as the characters of Dracula and Frankenstein. Horror fiction is a way for people to safely experience the emotions of terrifying outcomes, he commented. George closed the program with his rendition of Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart.