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A mummy is the body of a dead animal or person which has been preserved in such a way that, if it is kept in cool and dry conditions, it will not decay any further. Bodies can become mummified either intentionally or unintentionally. Intentional mummification is the result of a lengthy embalming process. Mummies have been found in Europe, Asia and South America but the best known ones, which have had the greatest effect on people's imaginations, are those of ancient Egypt.
The fact that ancient Egyptians believed that mummification would allow people to live forever in the next world, along with widespread belief in a "curse of the pharaohs" that would kill anyone who disturbed the tombs of the Egyptian dead, has led to a number of novels, short stories and movies in which monstrous mummies come back to life.