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SATURDAY

Mummies—moaning-groaning, dirty-gauze, arms-extended old-fashioned mummies—will forever be the creepiest movie monsters for the same reason that Halloween’s Michael Myers will forever be the creepiest movie maniac: that slow, ominous pace of pursuit. Mummies don’t run or fly and magically appear here and there like that ill-manicured pussy Freddy Krueger. No, no, no: Mummies take their time—step by step by rotting, shuffling step—because they know they’re gonna get you, not matter how goddamn fast you’re moving. And you never want to underestimate a mummy’s resilience, either: Their dearly departed bodies have already been through fiendish postmortem surgery, so these undead villains have (almost) nothing left to lose. Don’t believe me? Dig this not-for-the-squeamish account of Egyptian mummification from the Encyclopedia Smithsonian Web site: “The first step in the process was the removal of all internal parts that might decay rapidly. The brain was removed by carefully inserting special hooked instruments up through the nostrils in order to pull out bits of brain tissue. It was a delicate operation, one which could easily disfigure the face. The embalmers then removed the organs of the abdomen and chest through a cut usually made on the left side of the abdomen. They left only the heart in place, believing it to be the center of a person’s being and intelligence.” Oh, man. So at today’s “Vampires, Mummies, and Cannibals: The Truth Behind the Legends” lecture, please mind the mummy info. Trust me: You’re gonna need all the help you can get. Unwrap the mystery at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine’s Russell Auditorium, 6900 Georgia Ave. NW. Free. For reservations call (202) 782-2200. (Sean Daly, pictured)