Knoxville native Bjorn Knoxley was running some pipes under his house last week when he unwittingly stumbled across what appeared to be the remains of a common housecat. He only suffered minor head injuries and strain to his vocal chords at the moment his flashlight illuminated the cat several feet from his face in the dark crawlspace, but he is expected to make a full recovery. Not so for the cat.
Although the cat appeared to be mummified, Knoxley assumed it was related to the dry nature of the crawlspace. However, on a hunch he reported his findings to the East Tennessee Egyptology Institute (ETEI), a group actively searching for data to link Knoxville and surrounding communities to Ancient Egypt.
ETEI researcher Vern Osgood responded to Knoxley’s inquiry and went to investigate the crawlspace himself. â€œYou don’t get calls like this every day,â€ said Osgood. â€œWe get wrong numbers, mostly. The ETEI phone number is very similar to that of a local oriental spa and massage parlor.â€
Osgood has contacts with people at iRobot and he was able to borrow a beta version of the robotic probe which was used in the exploration of the Sunsphere and the pyramid in Egypt. Over the weekend, Osgood’s team sent the probe down to explore Knoxley’s West Knoxville crawlspace.
The team encountered their first snag when the robot collided with Knoxley’s water heater, but they managed to avoid disaster and got the probe around it. After negotiating the dirt wall that separated the deeper part of the crawlspace from the scary, shallower part, the probe made its way across bits of debris to the back wall. It had no problem finding the cat, and immediately began to take samples from both the cat and the ground around it.
â€œWe were all on edge,â€ said Osgood. â€œEspecially Bjorn. He really didn’t want to go back in the crawlspace until we had this figured out.â€
The team extracted the probe and went back to the lab to conduct a full analysis.
|The mummified remains of a cat link crawlspace with Ancient Egypt
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â€œWhat we found was amazing! This cat, this mummified cat, is none other than Bast, the Cat Goddess of Ancient Egypt! With this discovery, we are finally able to link East Tennessee with the early civilization of Egypt,â€ explained Osgood. â€œProbably Bast was on the Nile with some of her servants when the rains came and the river flooded, washing her out to sea. She then drifted across the Atlantic, up the Mississippi, up the Ohio, up the Tennessee to Knoxville, where they settled and carried on with life.â€
â€œThis would explain her strange disappearance recorded in ancient hieroglyphs,â€ added noted Egyptologist Basil Humperdink, of the London Institute of Egyptian Migratory Habits.
â€œWe’re not sure how she ended up in Bjorn’s crawlspace, but we believe she must have settled there at some point in the last 3000 years. The artifacts we found around her were amazing,â€ explained Osgood.
Knoxley could not be reached for comment, but according to sources, he plans to leave the cat in place and open up his crawlspace to allow visitors and scientists to examine the cat up close, after paying a small admission fee. Sources also confirm that Mayor Victor Ashe is lobbying to have a historic overlay placed on Bjorn’s property.