Dendera Light Bulb
The Dendera Temple Complex, near the Nile about two hours north of Luxor, may be more than 2,000 years old. Structures were built (and some destroyed) over the course of many centuries. The most prominent extant structure is the Hathor Temple, and the stone relief shown above and below – one of several similar reliefs found in one of the temple’s many subterranean crypts – shows what appears to be a large incandescent light bulb (complete with a filament, represented as a snake), connected by wire or cable to what appears to be a capacitor.
The similarities between the Dendera Light Bulb and a Crookes Tube, a 19th century experimental electrical discharge tube that led to the discovery of cathode rays, are startling. A giant light bulb would certainly have been useful for illuminating the dark underground crypt to facilitate carving reliefs on the walls.
But debunkheads, citing inscriptions on the Temple wall and ever ready to trash any theory that the ancients might have utilized electrical power (and apparently unaware of the Baghdad Battery), claim the Dendera Light Bulb is just a depiction of a scene from Egyptian mythology – a snake emerging from a lotus flower into a giant protective cocoon. Or perhaps an electric catfish pulled from the Nile, or a giant 9-foot eggplant. We thought cocoons were for caterpillars, not snakes. Interviews with several second graders have confirmed this fact. We are also unaware of any tales from Egyptian mythology involving electric catfish, or eggplants, or snakes that emerge from lotus flowers into protective cocoons.
Light bulb, electric catfish, or eggplant? You be the judge. But until someone comes up with a better explanation... we vote light bulb.