Mystery has always surrounded the corpse, and some believe the remains to be cursed.
At 10,530 ft up they discovered what they first thought to be the remains of a recently deceased mountaineer and soon alerted police. The body, frozen in ice up to its torso, was visited by police the next day and an attempt was made to excavate it, but due to bad weather the body was covered and its recovery was postponed. Two days later the remains were officially excavated in front of many people and taken to the University of Innsbruck, and it was there that the body was laid out with a number of instruments and clothes that had been found with the corpse.
What they had before them was a well-preserved mummy of a man who it is believed lived at around 3,300 BCE.
And all this before the cadaver could be properly examined and information could be gathered.
Otzi has been a significant archaelogical find. He is Europes oldest known natural human mummy and everything from his diet, lifestyle and age (said to be 45) has been determined. However it has not been fully determined HOW he died.
It was originally thought that Otzi may have died due to exposure while walking through a winter storm. However, evidence was found that he was possibly the victim of ritual sacrifice, as his penis and testicles were said to be missing from the corpse and have never been found. Many have theorized he was perhaps attacked by a group of men who perhaps killed him and buried him. It is currently thought that the cause of death was due to a blow to the head, but nobody can determine whether it was due to a fall or being hit with a rock. Pre- and post-mortem cuts, bruises and injuries indicate a struggle of sorts, with it being claimed that four other sets of DNA have been discovered on his clothes and small knife.
Helmut Simon, the German man who discovered Otzi, is said to be the fourth victim of this curse, as he apparently went missing in October 2004. His body was found in a stream after falling 300 feet off an Austrian peak. A forensic pathologist who is said to have placed Otzi in a body bag with his bare hands was said to have died in a mysterious car accident a year after the discovery, making him the first so-called victim. An avalanche was said to have killed the original mountain guide who led police to the body, and a molecular archaelogist who identified blood on the weapons and clothing found with the Iceman was said to have been diagnosed shortly afterwards with a rare (but hereditary) blood disease that took his life within the next 2 years.
Of course the idea of a "curse" and that these people fell prey to it, has been ridiculed and laughed at by critics who say that the media have, like it has been proposed happened with the Egyptian discoveries, used the notion of a curse to help sell newspapers and magazines, make documentaries and television shows and create publicity for the final resting place of Otzi - the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology, situated in Bolzano,Italy.
It has been said that many in the early days of the discovery were anticipating the media "circus" and stories of a curse, and were not surprised when a curse story began appearing. There are some, however, that believe that Otzi was murdered in a ritual sacrifice and a curse still stalks those who participated in his discovery and recovery.
Stories of curses attached to mummies have circulated for decades and have overshadowed the field of Archaeology. Should some ancient remains and corpses be left alone?
Or are stories of "curses" just the work of money hungry media sensationalists?