Famous Curses

Many of us have heard about famous curses. As a matter of fact when we think about curses one can't help but think about the Egyptians or Gypsies. I am sure if you are old enough to remember seeing those horror movies from the forties, such as the Wolf Man or Dracula you have to remember the old gypsy woman who always talked about the terrible curses that led to the problems, one way or another. And who could ever forget the great curse that was placed on the tomb of King Tut? A series of tragedies after the tomb was opened were blamed on the great curse.

Egyptians believed in curses and they wore amulets and used magic spells for protection against curses. As for the curse of King Tut, it is said that on the entrance to the tomb were carved the words, "Death shall come on swift wings to him who disturbs the peace of the king." But guess what, that is all a story, it seems that the ancient Egyptians never put curses on their tombs. Worse than curses, the tomb contained poison mold spores and most scientists think that this caused most of the deaths.

Egyptian Pyramids
Photo Source: NASA

Vlad the Impaler, the 15th century price on which the Dracula legend was formulated was known in his day for his horrible and blood thirsty deeds. He would impale the soldiers of an enemy army on long poles on the grounds of his castle then go into this horrible garden of tortured flesh and even set up tables and eat his meals there as the agonizing impaled soldiers suffered their last breath. As you can imagine, he was cursed many times. The story goes on to say that when he died his body disappeared from the tomb and animal bones were found there instead. Of course this story conflicts with other stories that have him buried under the floor of a local church near the entrance so that everyone who enters has to step on him.

The Curse of the Bambino has to do with the Red Sox baseball team. From 1901 to 1918 Boston won five world series. Boston didn't win a World Series after getting rid of the Babe. We are talking about 84 years so far. Ruth was a very valuable player on the Red Sox. It was said that he was the best best pitchers in baseball. Despite the fact that he only got up to bat in 95 games he still hit the most home runs in 1917. He could also help out in the field. In 1918 he pitched a fourteen inning shutout of the Cubs in the world series. The Red Sox went on to defeat the Cubs four games to two that year. Most star players were earning about $15,000 at that time, but the Red Sox refused to pay Ruth more than $10,000. Harry Franzee was the owner of the Red Sox and he not only disliked Ruth but resented the fact that Ruth no longer wanted to pitch. He eventually sold Ruth to the Yankees for $100,000 plus a loan. Ruth got so popular with the Yankees that they built a new stadium for the increased attendance, Yankee stadium, the house that Ruth built.

President Clinton throws out a baseball
Photo Source: The White House

The Red Sox didn't have a monopoly on baseball curses. It was also said that the Chicago Cubs were cursed and that is why they didn't win a world series in almost 100 years. Supposedly the curse was launched on September 23, 1908 when a dumb error by a Giants player caused a tie in a game the Giants should have won. Fred Merkle didn't run from first to second base because he thought the game was over. Cubs fans insist this somehow caused the Cubs to be cursed. I personally don't get it because I would think that if either team was to be cursed it should have been the Giants.

Inanimate objects can also contain curses, just look at the Hope diamond. The story states that the Hope diamond was taken from the forehead of an idol in India. Supposedly the curse was placed on the person that took it and also anyone that touched it. It was said that bad luck and death would befall those people. The diamond was supposedly in the forehead of the goddess Sita and was stolen by a man named Tavenier several hundred years ago. Tavenier went on a trip to Russia after that and was torn apart by wild dogs. But is this story true? Apparently not. Another story, which seems to have more validity, states that King Louis XIV of France bought this diamond from Tavenier who had purchased it from the `Kollur mine in Goiconda, India. Tavenier became a court noble and lived to 84 years old.

The Hope Diamond
Photo Source: The U.S. Coast Guard

In Thailand a curse was put on Chiaang Mai the second largest city. A mass demonstration of people objecting to different construction projects erupted. They did their best to invoke disharmony. Holy Sutras were mocked and symbols of disharmony were carried by many. When the ceremony was finishing the sky began to darken and three lightning flashes were seen. Later a strong earthquake hit the city. The oldest tree in the temple was uprooted by the wind. A drought started and rice production dwindled. Property values fell. The governor finally promised to stop the construction but he and his wife were killed in a plane crash before he could. A few days later the abbot of the most important Buddhist temple died. The people seeing all this decided that they needed a strong anti curse to drive away the evil spirits. Women brought food offerings to the main gate of the city and the spirits were invited to a feast and asked to leave. Over one hundred monks chanted. When the chant was finished it rained. When offerings were taken to be thrown into the river, rays of sunlight shown down through the clouds and the spirits were gone.

It just amazes me how this curse stories get started. Come on, I mean did Babe Ruth curse the Red Sox? He probably cursed the owner, but in the traditional manner, for short changing him on salary. Maybe the Babe was some sort of wizard, that would account for his extraordinary play? Enough of this nonsense.

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