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The mysterious Omm Sety started her life on 16thJanuary 1904 as a very ordinary Edwardian little girl called Dorothy
Louise Eady. Her father was a master tailor by profession and along with her
mother they all lived in the prosperous London suburb of Blackheath.
The strange events that would eventually mark her out as a mystery
person of history began in 1907, when aged three years old she tumbled down the
stairs. Her panicked mother Caroline thought that her child was dead so summoned
the doctor and ordered her husband to return home from his place of work. The
doctor on examining Dorothy declared her to have died of severe concussion and
left to procure a death certificate and a nurse to lay the child out. When he
returned about an hour later he was shocked to find the child not only alive,
but sitting up eating chocolate and playing with her toys.
It is safe to say, however, that from the moment of her accident Dorothy
was not the same child as she had been before. She began to have recurring
dreams about a large building. The building had many columns and there was a
beautiful garden close by filled with trees, shrubs and flowers. The little
girl told her parents about the dreams and they were very distressed when they
frequently found her crying under the dining room table and saying ‘I want to
go home!’ No amount of reassurance from her family could persuade her that she
was already home.
Temple of Seti I at Abydos
When she was four years old she was taken on a family outing to the
British Museum. She was totally bored as she was dragged around the various
rooms by her parents until they entered the Egyptian galleries. Then the young
Dorothy suddenly came to life and started running around excitedly, kissing the
feet of the statues. When she calmed down and was taken upstairs, she walked
straight up to a mummy in a glass case and refused to move. Her exasperated
parents left her there and continued on their tour of the museum. When they
returned and tried to take her home she turned to her mother and said in a
voice more like an old woman’s than her own ‘Leave me....these are my people.’
Needless to say her bewildered parent’s then had to face the embarrassment of
forcibly carrying her from the museum, with Dorothy kicking and screaming for
all she was worth.
When Dorothy was seven her father brought home a magazine that contained
pictures of Seti I’s temple at Abydos in Egypt. Dorothy realised that she was
looking at the building in her dreams. She informed her poor, bemused father
that this was her home and asked him why it was all broken. Shortly afterwards
she came across another photograph that depicted the mummy of Seti I, and was
immediately convinced that she knew him.
She had a troubled childhood and managed to get expelled from both
Sunday school and regular school for expounding her beliefs in the Ancient
Egyptian religion. She would also play truant from school to haunt the Egyptian
galleries at the British Museum. Whilst at the museum, she was befriended by
Sir E A Wallis Budge, the Keeper of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities and
inveigled him into teaching her hieroglyphics.
The Appearance of Pharaoh Seti I
When she was fourteen she woke up one night to the feeling of having hands
pressing down on her chest and looked up to see a face looking down at her. It
was the same face as in the photograph of the mummy of Seti I. Shortly
afterwards she began to have another set of recurrent dreams, where she was a
young Egyptian girl in a room full of other women, and then in an underground
chamber where she was being questioned by an older man. She also started
sleepwalking and her parents had her committed several times for short stays in
a mental institution for observation.
Her parents moved to Plymouth, where her father opened a movie cinema,
but Dorothyreturned to London when she was
twenty seven to work for an Egyptian public relations magazine. It was there
that she met a young Egyptian man, called Imam Abdel Meguid, who was in England
to study. When he returned to Egypt they wrote to each other, and eventually he
proposed marriage. She arrived in Egypt in 1933 and married Imam. She swiftly
became pregnant and gave birth to a son whom she called Sety, much to the
distress of her parents who thought that the child should have been called
Mummy of Pharaoh Seti I
Her Early Life in Egypt
Shortly after her arrival in Egypt the Pharaoh Seti Ibegan appearing to her again in the night, and was witnessed by several
other people including her father-in-law and mother. Her husband, who was by this
time rather confused and embarrassed by her behaviour, was even more bewildered
when she started to get out of her bed in the middle of the night and write
down messages in hieroglyphics. After about a year it became clear that the
messages, which Dorothy believed were being passed to her by an Ancient
Egyptiancalled Hor-Ra, were actually the story of a previous life that she had
lived in nineteenth dynasty Egypt.
According to the messages she had been a young girl of humble origins
who had been given to the temple at Abydos to serve the goddess Isis. Her name back
then had been Bentreshyt which means ‘Harp of Joy’. She took vows that she
would remain chaste and was trained by the High Priest Antef in her role in the
dramatisation of the story of Osiris and Isis. One day she met
the pharaoh Seti I in the garden, when he was on a tour inspecting the progress
of the building of the temple, and they fell in love. They met secretly, as
even the Pharaoh was not permitted to romance a priestess vowed to the temple.
In time Bentreshyt became pregnant and their secret was out. She was questioned
severely by Antef, and she eventually told him who the father of her child was.
The punishment for her crime was death, so Bentreshyt decided to commit suicide
rather than drag her royal lover into a great scandal.
Her Arrival at Abydos
Dorothy’s husband divorced her, but she stayed on in Egypt and moved to
the Giza plateau, where she could live in sight of the pyramids. She got a job
as a draughtsman working in the fourth dynasty cemetery at Giza and was also the first woman ever to work for the Egyptian Department of
Antiquities. Her husband reclaimed their son when he was five years old, and
Dorothy began to build up a menagerie of dogs, cats, donkeys, snakes, geese and
It was not until 1952 that Dorothy Eady eventually managed to visit Abydos and but it was only for a couple of days. She returned for a couple of
weeks in 1954, but was finally offered a job as a draughtsman at Abydos in
1956. During her time in Egypt, Dorothy had continued to receive nocturnal
visits from her royal lover and by her account they had a full and passionate physical
relationship. When she returned to live at Abydos, she believed that she was
once more dedicated to the temple and must return to her vows of chastity. She
promised Pharaoh Seti that she would honour the feast days of the temple and
perform the rituals of the old religion.
Strange Occurrences at Abydos
Being familiar with the temple at Abydosfrom her previous
existence, she astounded the chief inspector from the Department of Antiquities
when he tested her knowledge. He told her to go to various parts of the temple
in the dark and each time she found her way without any problems. It was at
this time that she started to be called Omm Sety, which in Arabic means Mother
of Sety. It was deemed impolite by the local Egyptians to refer to a married
woman by her given name, so they instead called them by the name of their
eldest child. She bought a house for seventy-five dollars and acquired a
She also got the chance to prove that the garden that she had always
said was attached to the Abydos temple did in fact exist
when the excavators found the remains of a garden exactly where she said they
would be. They found tree roots, vine roots, water channels and the well, which
even still had some water in it. One of the more fascinating experiences that
happened to her in the temple occurred in 1958. Omm Sety was suffering from the
flu and as she was walking across the roof she slipped and fell. She slid down
a long slope and found herself in a passageway. This passage was filled with
articles from ancient times, including bales of linen, offering tables, boxes
and statues, most of which were covered in gold. She found her way out somehow,
and told the Chief Inspector, but could never again find the exact spot where
she had fallen or a way into the passage.
Omm Sety was able to live among the villagers in safety as they believed
that she had magical powers, and being very superstitious they were afraid of
her. She was, however, also admired for her healing powers and she would spend
hours talking with the women and learning all their folk remedies, customs and
superstitions. In the late 1960s Omm Sety began writing a series of reports and
articles for the American Research Centre in Egypt that spoke about the ancient
folk traditions still practised in the villages.
Old Age and the Mystery of Omm Sety
She was retired from the Antiquities service in 1969 and had to try to
survive on a small pension. She took up needle-point embroidery and created
scenes from the temple to sell to visiting tourists and she also did some
part-time tour guiding for the Antiquities Department. She became very frail in
her later years and suffered a heart attack, a broken knee, chronic
appendicitis, phlebitis, dysentery and eye problems. She built a tomb for
herself in her garden, but when she died in April 1981 the local health
department refused to allow her to be buried there. She was interred on the
very edge of the Coptic cemetery instead, but there is still no gravestone to
mark her burial.
So what do you make of this Mystery Person of History?Omm Sety was a remarkable woman anyway in that she became a fine draughtsman,
Egyptologist, expert in hieroglyphics and folk lore and medicine. She also
showed great courage and determination in pursuing her dreams and ambitions.
But do you believe that she had lived before in Ancient Egypt and was visited
in this life by her royal lover, the pharaoh Seti I? The thing that we can be
sure of is that Omm Sety herselfsincerely believed it to be true. She
followed the old Egyptian religion and never wavered from her beliefs. She was
also reticent about talking about her experiences, only confiding in trusted
friends and colleagues. The answer is that we will probably never know. The
truth is lost in the swirling sands of Egypt and in the dark passages and long
shadows of the temple at Abydos.