How many times have you uttered the words “I’m cursed” after a run of bad luck? Well, after reading about these terrifying cases of killer true-life curses you won’t be saying those words so lightly. A curse is said to be a supernatural influence that can cause woe and misfortune to the victim. Typically, this comes in the form of a cursed object, wherein the owner of the object or those connected to it will befall a dire fate.
If you don’t believe in curses perhaps these 5 strange and bizarre tales of unexplainable deaths, fires and suicides will be enough to give even the most hardened skeptics out there pause for thought.
The Hope Diamond
The priceless 115-carat blue Hope Diamond, was allegedly stolen from the eye of a Hindu idol in India by French merchant Jean Baptiste Tavernier. Considered to be the most famous diamond in the world, it’s legendary not only for its huge size and value, but also for its deadly curse. Its foretold bad luck and death will visit whoever owns or touches the diamond.
Appropriately the curse struck Jean Baptiste Tavernier first, it’s said he was mauled to death as a punishment for stealing the sacred stone. Other victims of the diamonds curse are said to be King Louis XIV of France and his wife Marie Antoinette who owned the Hope Diamond for a time before being beheaded during the French Revolution. Lord Francis Hope (whom it is named after) inherited the diamond before squandering his large fortune and dying penniless and destitute. The stone was then sold on to socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean in 1912. After her son was killed in a car crash and her daughter killed herself, Evalyn ended her days in a lunatic asylum.
In 1958, the diamond was donated to The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington USA. Since arriving at its new home the curse appears to now be inactive, so much so that according to a curator, it has brought “nothing but good luck” to the museum ever since.
The Silver Basano Vase
The curse of the 15th-century silver Basano vase is said to have started with a young Italian bride on her wedding night, who mysteriously died clutching the vase to her chest. Despite rumours that the silverware was now haunted by its deceased owner, it was handed down the family as each new owner died a mysterious and sudden death. Finally convinced the vase was cursed, it was hidden away where it remained for years, until it was rediscovered in 1988. Inside the vase was a single note which read, “Beware… this vase brings death”.
Heedless of the grave warning, the new owner threw the note away and promptly sold the vase at auction. The pharmacist who purchased it died unexpectedly not long after he acquired it, and with that the deadly curse had struck again. It would strike twice more before the final owners bereaved family concluded the vase had to be destroyed once and for all. The story goes that when the family threw the vase out a window it was picked up by a passing policeman. When the officer tried to return the vase to the family they refused to have it back in their home. It’s claimed that the Police decided to bury the vase and with it the curse in an undisclosed location where it remains to this day.
The Crying Boy Paintings
After the end of the Second World War, artist Bruno Amadio (also known as Giovanni Bragolin) began to paint portraits of Italian orphans crying as souvenirs for tourists. Over time the mass-produced prints of his paintings became increasingly popular, particularly in England. That is until the 1980’s when people began to say that the prints were cursed.
The Sun newspaper reported that in over 50 house fires, the Crying Boy prints were the only item to survive the fires. In one case, firefighters found a print still in its frame; face down on the floor completely untouched by the flames that had destroyed the rest of the house. Sound strange? Well according to numerous psychics the prints are haunted by the orphans who died in in the war, their misery and despair continuing to haunt the paintings long after their deaths.
The Curse of Otzi
In 1991, the frozen, mummified body of Otzi “The Iceman” was discovered in the Otztal Alps on the Austrian-Italian border. Scientists determined the Bronze Age man to have died 5,300 years ago, making the body the oldest known natural human mummy ever to be found in Europe.
Surrounding the excitement of the discovery, something darker began to manifest. People began to say that by disturbing the mummified body of Otzi, a curse had been unleashed on all those involved in its discovery, recovery and examination of his remains. In all, seven deaths have been said to be linked with the curse of Otzi.
Helmut Simon who discovered the Iceman’s body died from a fall whilst hiking in 2004. Dieter Warnecke who was part of the rescue team who found Helmut Simons body died of a heart attack hours after Simon’s funeral. Rainer Henn the forensic pathologist who examined Otzi died in a car accident. Kurt Fritz, the guide who led Henn to the Otzi’s body later died in an avalanche. Konrad Spindler who led the scientific team that recovered and examined Otzi’s body died of multiple sclerosis. Tom Loy a molecular archaeologist who traces of human blood on the body died of a blood disease and lastly Rainer Holz a filmmaker who made a documentary about the recovery of Otzi died of a brain tumour.
Is Otzi’s curse real or just a simple matter of coincidence? While most people believe it’s the later, there are those who believe that the seven deaths were caused by Otzi seeking vengeance on the men that disturbed his 53 centuries of slumber.
King Tutankhamun Curse
Of all the curses we’ve explored, King Tutankhamun’s tomb has to be the most famous of them all. In 1923 archaeologist Howard Carter and his sponsor Lord Carnarvon opened the burial chamber of the ancient Egyptian boy king Tutankhamun. The tomb, hidden in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt had been left untouched and packed with treasures. Yet, while the world marvelled at the astounding archaeological find, some entered the tomb with trepidation. It’s rumoured that a message inscribed into the burial chamber entrance read, “Death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the King”… and soon death did indeed visit those who had opened the tomb and the legend of King Tutankhamun curse began.
When Lord Carnarvon died six weeks after the opening of King Tut’s tomb, it’s said at the exact moment of his death all the lights in Cairo went out, and Carnarvon’s dog, which was back in England at the time howled loudly before dropping down dead. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous for his Sherlock Holmes novels, publically suggested that Carnarvon’s death was caused by mysterious forces guarding the pharaoh’s body.
By 1929, eleven people closely connected with the discovery of the tomb had died prematurely, of unnatural causes. They included two of Carnarvon’s relatives along with Howard Carter’s personal secretary Richard Bethell, who was found dead in his bed in London. Bethell’s death drove his father Lord Westbury to commit suicide by jumping off a building. The press were quick to catch onto to the connection with “King Tut” attributing the deaths to the “Mummy’s Curse”. People visiting the golden mask of Tutankhamun were warned not to look into his eyes, lest the curse strike them down too.