Isaac Henderson was an American treasure hunter that was killed by the priest Imhotep after he and other treasure seekers opened a cursed chest in the lost City of the Dead, Hamunaptra.
Henderson had the goal to travel to Hamunaptra, the ancient City of the Dead, and find the fabled treasures that lay hidden there; along with his friends Burns and Daniels, Henderson hoped to strike it rich by finding gold and jewels. Their guide, a former French Foreign Legionnaire named Beni Gabor, claimed to have reached the ruins once, and their consultant, Dr. Allen Chamberlin was well versed in the ancient Egyptian customs and could converse with the natives, obtaining workers; all areas in order, Henderson and his friends and associates set out at once for Giza, where they would meet at the river ports and head by riverboat to the next stop. Henderson and his companions knew, however, that Beni might not be wholly trustworthy, and so only agreed to pay him half of his commission when on the riverboat, and the other half when they all returned to Cairo, obligating the guide to travel the entire way.
At Giza Port
Henderson and his fellow Americans met at Giza Port one day to travel by riverboat to the next point in the journey, having Chamberlin sort out the details concerning their travel and equipment. Once on the boat, Henderson began a poker game with Daniels and Burns, which Burns was winning, when the group was joined by Jonathan Carnahan, an Egyptologist who told the group that he was part of an expedition whose goal is was to find Hamanaptra as well. As the game went on, Rick O'Connell walked up to the table were the four men were playing their poker game, being invited to join in; O'Connell declined, stating that he never wagered his money, but rather his life. At this remark, Daniels wagered five hundred dollars that he and his fellows would reach Hamanaptra first. O'Connell accepted this bet without reluctance; being asked by Chamberlin what made him so confident, O'Connell reciprocated the question by asking Chamberlin what made him so confident, Henderson replying that his group had a man that had already been to the ruins. Before Jonathan could respond that his group had a guide that had been there as well, O'Connell stopped him from saying any more by shoving him with his gunny-sack.
That night, while the riverboat travelled along the Nile, a group of men clad in black robes and equipped with blades and guns crept aboard: Medjai, the ancient society unseen for centuries dedicated to ensuring that none ever found the ancient City of the Dead, Hamanaptra. The warriors attacked a young woman named Evelyn Carnahan in the search of a map that led to Hanapatra and a small, puzzle-box. Many of the warriors were staved off by O'Connell, however, causing considerable dmaage to the boat as a lantern was knocked onto a sofa, setting fire to everything in sight. The Medjai had attacked the passengers in order to obtain the objects in Evelyn's possession, but a number of them were killed as Henderson and his friends shot them off with their pistols. One Medjai that had caught fire was about to attack Jonathan, but Henderson blasted the man away with his pistol. At that moment, however, one last blast aboard the boat erupted, forcing the passengers to jump overboard into the Nile. Henderson and his friends lucked out as they had managed to wrangle all of the boat's horses and camels as the boat had caught fire, and coaxed the men present to get the animals out of the water. Although Henderson and his friends managed to obtain the animals needed, they still were on the wrong side of the Nile.
|“||Remember our bet, O'Connell! First one to the city: five hundred cash bucks.||”|
–Henderson reminding O'Connell of their wager., The Mummy
Two days after the riverboat had exploded, Henderson and his friends were led by their guide, Beni, to a certain spot in the desert where they had encountered O'Connell and his travel companions. The Americans now on horses, accompanied by three dozen native diggers, formed a group of about forty. Upon meeting the four travellers, Henderson reminded O'Connell of their wager: the first one to the city would win five hundred dollars. Beni and O'Connell held all present back as they were about to be shown the way: the sun slowly rose in the desert horizon, illuminating a great sand volcano in the distance, which marked the ruins of Hamanaptra. At this sight, both parties raced off into the desert so as to reach the ruins, Evelyn of the other expedition winning the race as she had reached the city first.
Henderson and his friends had reached the city after Evelyn had, surrendering five hundred dollars as per the bet, and afterwards went on about their business of setting up camp in the ruins. The native diggers had put up large tents that were much roomier in comparison to those used by O'Connell and his friends. The diggers set up to work digging up artifacts such as tablets and pottery that Dr. Chamberlin considered to be of significance as he stood above the workers, giving out orders from the shade of his umbrella. Henderson noticed that O'Connell and those in his team were near a large statue of a dog-headed god, about to rappel down a chamber that the statue led to, and asked Chamberlin if they knew something that was of significance of that entrance: Chamberlin sardonically replying that they were led by a woman that must know nothing.
Winning A Statue
Henderson and his associates, along with a small group of native diggers, had made their way into the underground passageways of the ruins, finding a great statue of the god Anubis sunken halfway into the earth. The men claimed it for themselves and were about to dig when they heard something coming from the other side of the statue; not knowing who or what the sound was, Henderson and his friends took out their pistols and stood by the side of the statue, waiting for whatever it was to reveal itself. As soon as they looked around the other edge, they at once saw that three other men were pointing pistols at them, with Evelyn standing warily by. As she tried to shoo off the Americans from the statue base, Dr. Chamberlin brashly told Evelyn to push off as the base was his team's site, with Evelyn insisting that she and her fellows got there first. This did nothing to remedy the situation as Henderson and the other Americans simply raised their guns once more, and Beni remarking to O'Connell that he was outnumbered four to fifteen certainly made tensions between the two groups worse.
|“|| Alright, let's get us some treasure!|
Careful! Seti was no fool; perhaps we should let the diggers open it, hmm?
Oh, I think we should listen to the good doctor, Henderson.
Yeah sure, let them open it.
–Henderson, Burns and Dr. Chamberlin debating the opening of a compartment., The Mummy
Having won the statue of Anubis, the four explorers examined the statue diligently: Chamberlin was doing the majority of the examination, and the other three Americans eyed the statue for any bits of treasure that could be taken. Henderson began to pry it open with a crowbar but was stopped quickly by Dr. Chamberlin, who warned that the Pharaoh was no fool to leave a compartment made for valuables unguarded, and advised using the diggers to open it. Chamberlin coaxed the diggers on, ordering three of them to push hard with crowbars so as to open the compartment, but as the diggers pushed on, a torrent of salt acid burst from the compartment, promptly burning the three diggers to death.
That night, as the two expeditions were in their camps for the night around their bonfires, a group of black-cloaked ululating Medjai came roving in on horseback, killing off many diggers as Chamberlin ran screaming for Henderson to wake up. Henderson and the other two Americans took out their pistols and began fighting the warriors off, blasting many of them off their horses, until the Medjai finally had them all outnumbered: O'Connell acting quick as their leader, Ardeth Bay, had him at blade-point, O'Connell reciprocating as he seized a stick of dynamite and swiped the edge in a nearby bonfire. At this action, Ardeth Bay called off his warriors, telling the expeditionaries that they wold kill no more, but that they must all leave Hamanaptra or die, giving them one day to leave as he left with his fellows on horseback. This attack left all in the camp confused at why the desert nomads would attack them, and the decision was made that night betwixt the two expeditions that they could be rivals without being enemies as well, and so the two groups decided to band together only at night and combine forces.
|“|| There is a curse upon this chest.|
Curse, my ass.
Yeah, who cares?
Have a care, Mr. Henderson: in these hallowed ground, that which was set forth in ancient times is as strong today as it was then.
–Henderson, Burns and Dr. Chamberlin upon finding the chest., The Mummy
The next morning, at the feet of their statue, the three Americans and their diggers had come to open the compartment from before, revealing a wooden chest decorated with many hieroglyphs and icons. Chamberlin was against opening the chest, as the hieroglyphs marking its surface read that there was a curse upon it, the curse spelling out death for any that might open the chest. Within a moment, the chest was opened, releasing a great cloud of white dust in the air. When the dust had settled, Chamberlin stepped forward in silent awe as he unwrapped a large burlap package within the chest, revealing the Book of the Dead. The Book of the Dead being of great importance to Chamberlin, as it had been dismissed before as pure myth, was scoffed at by Henderson and the other two as being worthless. Not fully realising it, Henderson's foot tapped the side of the wooden chest, revealing a secret compartment within the chest that yielded four gold-filigreed canopic jars and one fifth broken jar. The jars were taken by the four men as prizes.
The Mummy Awakens
That night, as the men from both expeditions sat around the campfire, Henderson and his two friends brandished their new jars before O'Connell and Jonathan, gloating as they had found treasure while O'Connell's group found a mummy instead, laughing the matter up. Evelyn stepped in with a handful of shells to show the others: scarab exoskeletons found in the coffin of the mummy, showing that the scarabs had eaten him alive.
Later in the evening, when everyone else had gone to sleep, Evelyn snuck into Dr. Chamberlin's tent and took the Book of the Dead from him as he slept. To prove to O'Connell that curses and spells did not exist, Evelyn read aloud the text within one of the pages, and did not realise that as she read the text she brought back to life the very mummy that she and her fellows had found.
Running From Insects
|“|| Where the hell did they come from?|
I ain't waitin' around to find out!
–Henderson and Daniels as they ran from locust swarms., The Mummy
As the mummy roared into the silent Saharan night, Chamberlin screamed out for Evelyn to stop reading form the book; the curse that entailed the mummy's awakening had already been set in order, as one of the Ten Plagues came forward as a great swarm of locusts that swarmed all over the camps. The locusts, in their massive numbers, forced the expeditionaries to run inside the ruins, with the exception of Dr. Chamberlin, who sat covered from head to toe in the small green insects wondering aloud what they had done. Henderson and his friends ran through the corridors, trying to escape the threats above ground, along with Beni and two native diggers, but Burns, who was among them all, tripped and fell, losing his spectacles as Beni broke them running away. Henderson and Daniels did not notice what had become of their friend, too shaken with fear to try and find out. Soon after the locust swarms had forced them underground, Henderson and Daniels ran again through the corridors from a swarm of scarabs, shouting for O'Connell and Jonathan to do the same.
As all men ran through the underground tunnels, they reached one chamber where they had once again found Evelyn, as she was face-to-face with a walking, talking mummy. The mummy, having seen Jonathan come rushing in with Daniels and Henderson, roared in an unearthly manner at O'Connell, who held Evelyn back from the corpse. O'Connell reciprocated the roar with another shouting noise, and blasted the mummy straight through with his Remington shotgun, buying all enough time to run from the chamber at once as the dead man pieced himself back together.
Leaving the City
As the treasure seekers all ran away from the chamber, they ran straight into a number of Medjai, lead by Ardeth Bay, and Dr. Chamberlin, their hostage. Ardeth Bay told them all that they were told to leave or die, and after refusing, their actions may have done some serious trouble, for they had unleashed a creature that was the source of fear for Medjai for thousands of years; O'Connell remarked that there was no real trouble, as he had already shot the mummy, but Ardeth Bay insisted that the creature could not be killed by mortal weapons. At that moment, two Medjai brought out Burns, who was no without eyes or tongue, and who lay moaning in pain. Henderson and Daniels demanded to know what they Medjai had done to their friend, but Ardeth Bay told them the truth: he and his comrades had saved Burns before the creature could finish the job. With this said, Ardeth Bay instructed the treasure hunters to leave before the mummy finished them all off.
Two days after the events in Hamanaptra, Henderson and his comrades, along with the other expedition and the remaining diggers had reached Cairo, taking residence in Fort Brydon. Shaken after the events that took place in Hamanaptra, Henderson, along with Burns and Daniels, had made the decision to leave Cairo at once and head for Alexandria. The riverboat that would take them to Alexandria, however, would not leave until the next day, leaving them in Cairo, where they met up again with O'Connell and Jonathan, both in a bar. Uneasy after what they had seen, along with the fate of their friend, Henderson and Daniels shared a drink with O'Connell and Jonathan, promptly spitting out the drink, along with the other patrons of the bar, as the drinks had all turned to blood. This conversion from liquor to blood meant that the mummy was in Cairo, searching for his next victims. O'Connell ran out of the bar and informed Evelyn that they had problems, when a roar sounded out in the building where Burns was checked in. O'Connell and Evelyn ran inside to find Burns desiccated to a mummy-like state, as the mummy Imhotep was regenerating in front of the fireplace. Henderson, Jonathan, and Daniels ran inside of Burns' quarters and joined O'Connell in opening fire on the mummy. The bullets had no effect on the corpse, as he shoved O'Connell back several feet into the other men, knocking them all down. Imhotep then proceeded closer to Evelyn, mistaking her for his long-dead lover, and was about to kiss her when Cleo, Evelyn's white cat, wandered into the room and frightened the mummy off, as the mummy blasted his way out of the room in a great cloud of sand and through the window.
Evelyn led all the men present to the Cairo Museum, where she intended to have them all speak with Dr. Terence Bey, her employer. As she entered the room, Ardeth Bay was standing next to Dr. Bey, who revealed that he and Ardeth Bay worked as part of an ancient secret society that was dedicated to the protection of mankind: the Medjai. Dr. Bey went on to explain that the mummy would go on killing and fear nothing, save for cats, until he was fully regenerated: Bey explained that as cats were the guardians of the Underworld, they were the only creatures that Imhotep would fear. Bey revealed that Imhotep's intent was to bring his lover Anck-Su-Namun back from the dead by using a human sacrifice: Evelyn. As the decision was made to kill the creature, Ardeth Bay noted that they would need all the help they could get, as the mummy's powers were growing. At that moment, the sun was being blocked by the moon, causing an eclipse that blocked out all the light in Cairo.
In the Fort
Upon returning to the fort, Evelyn asked for a list of all the men that were present at the opening of the chest: the listing of those present would give some idea of who the next victims would be. Henderson cited himself, along with Burns, Daniels, and Dr. Chamberlin. Beni was excluded from the list, as he ran from the chamber before the chest could be opened. The decision was then made to find the Egyptologist and to bring him back to the fort before the mummy could find him. O'Connell then decided to have Henderson, Daniels, and Jonathan tag along and find the Egyptologist, while Evelyn stayed behind: all four present protested loudly at the idea, O'Connell then proceeded to lift Evelyn up and to lock her in her chambers, ordering Henderson and Daniels to not let anyone in or out, and taking Jonathan with him to find the Egyptologist.
Some time passed until Daniels, growing restless from waiting so long and doing nothing, decided to go downstairs and get himself a drink. Asking Henderson if he wanted anything, which Henderson responded to with the request for bourbon, Daniels left the room, and Henderson took the moment to showboat his gun skills to himself by brandishing his pistol at his canopic jar. A gust of wind changed this within a moment, and Henderson pointed his gun at the open window, only to see that there was nothing or no-one there. Let off his guard for a moment, the winds blasted in and with them a sandstorm that filled the room, engulfing Henderson as he was lifted up screaming. The sand cloud then drained Henderson of his organs and fluids, and subsequently flung the withered husk of Henderson across the room. Imhotep was then almost completely restored as he returned to a human state and casually strode over Henderson's dried out corpse.
Personality and Traits
|“||...Henderson, towheaded, loud, cheerfully arrogant...||”|
–Description given of Henderson, The Mummy (novelization)
A brash and impudent man, Henderson was the most level-headed among his group, though he was prone to outbursts of emotion at times, but remained as calm as he could at others. Along with a strong sense of bravado, Henderson also could be spooked as easily as his comrades were in some situations. Along with a habit of chewing tobacco, Henderson was as hard a drinker as his friend Daniels, preferring bourbon, and smoked cigars from time to time, with which he blew smoke rings.
A tall man with dirty-blond hair and unshaven stubble, Henderson fit the bill of a cowboy to the hilt, even dressing like one: in a white shirt and brown vest, tan chinos and suspenders, gaiters and a long kerchief and hat. Known to be all for action, Henderson was not unschooled as using guns went and would draw out his firearms at the first sign of trouble.
Behind the Scenes
Henderson is portrayed by Stephen Dunham.
In the novel, Henderson was described as an avid cigar smoker, his teeth yellowed substantively from smoking.