Do Cursed Items Really Exist?


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Susan Hayes Profile
Susan Hayes answered
Folklore is full of tales of curses, afflicting victims who run afoul of magical incantations that inflict suffering and adversity on the foolish or unwary. From the mutterings of the abused gypsy to the warnings over King Tut’s tomb, curses can be found everywhere. Whether or not you believe in the power of the supernatural, there are some items with histories so tragic and strange, they have all been described as cursed.

The Hope Diamond

A stunning blue diamond of more than 45carats, the Hope Diamond has been part of more death, tragedy and drama than a career soap opera star. According to a legend that sounds like the plot of the next Indiana Jones movie, the diamond was originally part of a larger stone stolen from an eye of a sculpted idol of the Hindu goddess. Upon discovering the theft the priests cursed any who possessed the stolen gem.

The Hope Diamond is known to have been part of a larger stone known as the French Blue; owned by King Louis XV of France until the French Revolution took his life and that of his wife Marie Antoinette. After that, the diamond vanished into for a time, having claimed its first victims. When it next appeared it was as the diamond we know today, smaller but no less deadly.

The curse’s victims include Lord Francis Hope, the last member of the Hope family to own the stone. Upon inheriting the cursed gem in 1884, Lord Francis went on a spending spree that put him into bankruptcy by 1886, forcing him to sponge off of his former mistress, whom he had married when he was still flush with cash. In 1901 she left him for a guy without a cursed rock ruining his life, and Lord Francis was forced to sell off the diamond to pay for his debts. The once rich and powerful family was brought low, many claim because of their possession of the Hope Diamond.

Through the years the deadly gem passed through many hands, including Frenchman Jacques Colet, who committed suicide and Russian Prince Ivan Kannitovitsky, who was a victim of murder. Turkish Sultaon Abdul Hamid bestowed this chunk of blue ice on his favorite concubine, Surbaya, and within a year Hamid had stabbed Subaya to death and had been dethroned. Simon Montharides had it next until one evening his carriage overturned, killing him, along with his wife and infant daughter.

Evalyn McLean wore the diamond as a good luck charm, but she had anything but good luck in life. Her first born son, Vinson, died in a car crash when he was only nine and her committed suicide at age twenty-five. To add to the tale of woe, Evalyn’s husband was declared insane and confined to a mental institution until his death in 1941.

James Dean’s Porsche

Colourfully nicknamed “Little Bastard” by its owner, James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder has a reputation for mayhem that has become a legend nearly as large as the actor himself.

A week before James died in the wreckage, fellow actor Alec Guinness saw the car and told James he thought the car appeared "sinister" and said "If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week." Apparently James didn’t listen to the future Jedi Knight, and died of a broken neck while driving the car to a race he was competing in.

After the accident, the car was supposedly bought by George Barris, the man who had done the customizing of the car for the newly deceased actor. No sooner had the car been delivered to Barris’ garage then it slipped off its trailer and broke the leg of a mechanic.

Later, the engine and drive train were sold to two physicians and racing hobbyists. The engine went to Troy McHenry and the drive train to William Eschrid. While both of them were racing at the Pomona fairgrounds, McHenry was killed when his car crashed into a tree. Eschrid’s car rolled several times while taking a curve, seriously injuring him. He later said that the vehicle 'just locked up' on him.

Two tires that Barris sold to a man in New York blew at the same moment, causing the car they were on to go off the road and crash.

Thieves were not immune to the curse either. A young man trying to swipe the steering wheel of the infamous car had his arm gashed open on a piece of jagged metal and another man was hurt while trying to steal one of the bloodstained seats.

Next, a fire struck the garage where the shell of the Little Bastard was being stored, destroying everything there but the shell of James Dean car, which came out almost unscathed. Later, the shell was taken on a morbid tour of the country as part of a safety campaign. Proving the car had a sense of the dramatic, the bolts holding the car in place snapped on the anniversary of Dean’s fatal accident. The car plowed off its display at the Sacramento High School and struck a fifteen year old boy, shattering his hip as he was looking at the wreck.

These days no one knows where the Little Bastard is, it fell off the grid after the safety tour was over. Legend says it vanished off the back of its transport trailer without a trace and has never been seen again. Perhaps its on a double date somewhere in Hell’s drive in, parked next to Stephen King’s Christine.

Ötzi the Iceman

In September of 1991, the mummified remains of a man were found in the Ötzal Alps between Austria and Switzerland. Nicknamed Ötzi the Iceman, these 5300 year old remains are now housed in a museum in Northern Italy.

Unlike the movies, Austria’s version of “Encino Man” seems to have taken offence to having his eternal rest disturbed, because there have been a number of deaths involving those who were responsible.

Rainer Henn was a forensic pathologist who placed the Iceman into a body bag and later helped transfer him into a coffin. A year later he died in a car accident while on his way to a conference to discuss his work on Ötzi.

Kurt Fritz was the mountain guide who took Dr Henn to Ötzi, and was allegedly the one who uncovered the Iceman’s face when he was removed from the ice. Kurt died in an avalanche.

Rainer Hölz was a filmmaker whose work included a documentary of the entire recovery of the Iceman’s body. His end came when he was afflicted with a fatal brain tumor.

Helmut Simon was the man credited with finding Ötzi’s body. He went missing on a mountain hike and his body was recovered eight days later after a 300 foot fall from Austria's Gaiskarkogel peak. Why was he back in the region? To celebrate winning a legal battle over rights to the Iceman.

Dieter Warnecke was the head of the search team sent out to find Simon. He died of a heart attack less than an hour after Simon’s funeral.

The sixth person to fall victim to the curse of the Iceman was archaeologist Konrad Spindler, the leading expert on Ötzi. He never believed in the curse, stating "I think it's a load of rubbish. It is all a media hype. The next thing you will be saying I will be next." He died in 2005 of ALS.

The count currently stands at 7 victims, the last being Toy Loy, who was working on a book on the mummy before he died, the book unfinished. He was the scientist who discovered human blood on the Iceman’s weapons. Family members have confirmed that Loy suffered from a hereditary blood disease first diagnosed about 1992...when Loy first came into contact with Ötzi.

The Delhi Purple Sapphire

This jewel is "trebly accursed and is stained with the blood, and the dishonor of everyone who has ever owned it," or so said Edward Heron-Allen, a scientist, friend of Oscar Wilde and the last owner of this purple menace.

Though it is called a purple sapphire, the cursed stone is actually an amethyst, and was willed to the London Natural History Museum in 1943 by Heron-Allen who wanted it out of his house and the life of his descendants.

According to the Heron-Allen family, the Delhi Purple Sapphire had been brought to the United Kingdom by a Bengal cavalryman Colonel W. Ferris. He found the amethyst in India after it had been looted from a temple during the 1857 Indian Mutiny. Have we all now learned that nothing good comes from keeping gems stolen from Indian temples? Ferris and later his son suffered a loss of wealth and health after owning the jewel. A family friend ended his own life after possessing it for a short time, and eventually the gem arrived in the possession of Heron Allen in 1890.

No sooner did he own the jewel but Edward ran into a string of ill fortune and bad luck that convinced him to give away the jewel not once but twice, and both recipients were struck with disaster as soon as they owned the stone. Supposedly he tried to throw the amethyst into the Regent’s Canal to be rid of the cursed jewel, only to have it returned to him after three months by a jeweler who purchased it from a canal dredger.

Tired of the constant ill luck and string of disasters, Heron-Allen had the gem locked away in 1904. So concerned about the curse of bad luck and tragedy surrounding the gem was he that he sealed it with protective charms in seven boxes. It stayed that way until after his death when it was sent to the museum nearly forty years after it had been locked away.

The curse still seems to linger. John Whittaker, a member of the museum took the amethyst to the first symposium of the Heron-Allen Society and encountered the most horrific thunderstorm he had ever experienced on the way home. The night before the second annual symposium he fell violently ill with stomach flu and he didn’t make the third symposium due to a sudden kidney stone.

Archduke Ferdinand’s Limo

In 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria, was touring Sarajevo with his wife and several companions in an open topped limousine that had been gifted to him. Their tour was cut short by an assassination attempt that left the Archduke and his wife dead, setting into motion a chain of events that would lead to World War I.

General Potiorek was one of the surviving passengers in the car on that faithful day, and through a strange and morbid twist of fate he was the next owner of this death trap on wheels. Several weeks into the war, the General of Austria’s armies was routed and Potiorek was recalled to Austria, denounced by his regent and removed from his post. He slipped into poverty and madness, eventually dying.

A captain on the general’s staff next assumed ownership of the limo, keeping it for a brief nine days before the officer struck and killed two peasants, swerved into a tree and broke his neck.

After the war the car wound up in the possession of the governor of Yugoslavia. According to reports, he suffered four terrible accidents in four months, eventually losing his left arm. Either victim of the curse or a truly bad driver, the governor sold the car to a doctor who was crushed to death when the the murder-mobile flipped over into a ditch.

With a growing list of victims, the car next was owned by a Swiss race car driver who was killed while driving it, or more accurately was killed by being thrown out of it like a baseball out of a batting machine. You know what they say, its not the flight that kills you, it’s the sudden stop at the end.

Enthralled by the car’s historical value, a Serbian farmer bought it next, and was killed after he failed to take into the car’s murderous reputation. When the motor failed to start one day, he hitched it to a horse and wagon to tow it, forgetting to turn off the ignition. The car turned over and slammed into gear without warning, hit the wagon, overturned and killed the farmer.

The last known victim was a garage owner named Tibor Hirshfield, who was killed along with his passengers when this blood-lusting limo spun out of control on the way back from a wedding. It now resides in a Viennese museum, and it is never taken out for a drive.
Taylor McCoy Profile
Taylor McCoy answered
Yes there all lots of cursed items out there. So many I can't count. For an example there are cursed stones that I know of that whoever owns them dies.

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