Legendary Real Curses and The People They’ve Killed

Ever uttered the words “I’m cursed” after a run of bad luck? After reading about these terrifying cases of killer true-life curses, you won’t say be saying those words so lightly.

Even if you don’t believe in curses, one of these five strange and bizarre tales of explainable deaths, fires, and suicides will be enough to give you second thoughts.

5. 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 the most famous diamond in the world, it’s legendary not only for its size and value but also for its deadly curse. The diamond has foretold bad luck and death for anyone who owns or touches it.

Appropriately, the curse struck Jean Baptiste Tavernier first. Legend claims he was mauled to death as a punishment for stealing the sacred stone. Other victims of the diamond’s curse are said to be King Louis XVI of France and Marie Antoinette, owners of the Hope Diamond for a time. Of course, the royals were eventually beheaded during the French Revolution.

The Hope Diamond received its name from the Hope family, who were not exempt from the curse. Lord Francis Hope inherited the diamond before squandering his large fortune, dying penniless and destitute. The stone was then sold to socialite Evalyn Walsh McLean in 1912. Over the years, Evalyn’s son was killed in a car crash, her daughter died of a sleeping pill overdose, her husband left her for another woman, and the family business, the Washington Post, went bankrupt. Evalyn ended her days in a lunatic asylum.

In 1958, the diamond was donated to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Since arriving at its new home, the diamond’s curse seems to have subsided. According to a curator, the Hope Diamond has brought “nothing but good luck” to the museum ever since.

4. 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, the newlywed mysteriously died while clutching the vase to her chest. Despite rumors that the silver item was now haunted by its deceased owner, it was handed down through the family. Each new owner died a mysterious and sudden death.

Finally convinced the vase was cursed, the family hid it away. The vase remained lost 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 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. The deadly curse had reappeared. It would strike twice more before the final owner’s bereaved family concluded the vase had to be destroyed once and for all.

Supposedly, 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.

 3. The Crying Boy Prints

After the end of the Second World War, artist Giovanni Bragolin began to paint portraits of Italian orphans crying. They were sold as souvenirs for tourists. Over time, the mass-produced prints of his paintings became increasingly popular, particularly among Brits. They stayed popular until the 1980s, when people began to say that the prints were cursed.

An Essex firefighter quoted in The Sun claimed that in over 50 house fires, the Crying Boy prints were the only item to survive the flames. In one case, firefighters found a print still in its frame; face down on the floor completely untouched by the fire that had destroyed the rest of the house. No one has been able to explain how the Crying Boys were able to survive so many fires.

2. The Curse of Ötzi

In 1991, the frozen, mummified body of Ötzi “The Iceman” was discovered in the Ötztal Alps on the Austrian-Italian border. Scientists determined that the Bronze Age man 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. It seemed that disturbing the mummified body of Ötzi had unleashed a curse on all those involved in its discovery, recovery, and examination of his remains. In total, seven deaths have been said to be linked with the curse of Ötzi.

Helmut Simon, who discovered the Iceman’s body, died from a fall while hiking in 2004. Dieter Warnecke, part of the rescue team that found Helmut Simon, died of a heart attack mere hours after Simon’s funeral. Rainer Henn, a forensic pathologist who examined Ötzi, died in a car accident. Kurt Fritz, the guide who led Henn to the mummy, died in an avalanche. Konrad Spindler, head of the scientific team that examined Ötzi’s body, died of multiple sclerosis. Tom Loy, a molecular archaeologist, died of a blood disease. Rainer Holz, a filmmaker who made a documentary about Ötzi, died of a brain tumor.

Is Ötzi’s curse real or just a simple matter of coincidence? While most people believe the latter, there are those who staunchly maintain that Ötzi seeks vengeance on the men that disturbed his centuries of slumber.

1. King Tutankhamun’s Curse

The curse of King Tut is, perhaps, the most famous in all of history. 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 marveled at the astounding archaeological find, some entered the tomb with trepidation.

Supposedly, there was a message inscribed into the burial chamber entrance which 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.

Lord Carnarvon died six weeks after the opening of King Tut’s tomb. It’s said that at the exact moment of his death, all the lights in Cairo went out. Carnarvon’s dog, which was still in England at the time, howled loudly before dropping down dead. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous for his Sherlock Holmes novels, publicly suggested that Carnarvon’s death was caused by mysterious forces guarding the pharaoh’s body.

By 1929, 11 people closely connected with the discovery of the tomb had died prematurely of unnatural causes. They included two of Carnarvon’s relatives and 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. As the casualties mounted, the press began to publicize the cure of King Tutankhamun. People visiting the golden mask of Tutankhamun were warned not to look into his eyes, lest the curse strike them down too.