The 6 Most Strangely Convincing Real-Life Curses
But there are a few eerie coincidences out there that combine the truly inexplicable with creepy details that make you have to wonder ...
The Cursed Iceman
Oetzi, or the Iceman as he is known, was discovered in the Alps between Austria and Italy back in 1991. In the 13 years that followed, seven people associated with his discovery died. In some cases, the deaths seem like your standard, run-of-the-mill demises, but four of them are creepily violent or odd enough to make the other three seem like maybe the 5,300 year old leather hunter may have a bone to pick with the people who unearthed him and then played Operation with his remains.
Oetzi: made of evil. And Beef Jerky.
The first death occurred in 1992 when Rainer Henn, the forensic pathologist who put Oetzi in a body bag with his bare hands, was killed in a car crash on his way to a world conference to discuss the Iceman. Next, Kurt Fritz, the mountain guide who lead Henn to Oetzi, and subsequently uncovered Oetzi's face, died in an avalanche. Guy number three, the man who filmed the recovery of Oetzi, died of a brain tumor.
These gentlemen are presumably boned as well
The list gets creepier: Helmut Simon, who with his wife was the person who actually found the Iceman in the first place, went missing for 8 days in 2004. When his body was found he was laying face down in a stream, where he had landed after falling off a 300 foot cliff. Dieter Warnecke, the head of the rescue team that found Helmut, dropped dead of a heart attack an hour after Helmut's funeral.
Dead guy number six, Konrad Spindler, bit the dust from complications arising from having Multiple Sclerosis six months after he was quoted as saying "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."
While he may not believe in curses, Konrad would probably agree that irony is a scientific fact.
The seventh and final death (so far) was in 2005: Tom Loy, a scientist who discovered human blood on Oetzi's clothes and weapons, died of a hereditary blood disease. This would normally be considered nothing more than a natural death if it weren't for the fact that his condition was diagnosed in 1992, the year he started working with the Iceman. By all accounts you may be endangering yourself just by reading this article.
Evidence shows that the Iceman met with a violent end himself, having been shot with an arrow before having his head bashed in. So basically Oetzi was an ancient murder victim left in the mountains to mummify in an unmarked grave. We're pretty sure that if curses are real, that's the kind of shit that causes them.
The Cursed Tomb
Of course, if you want a true, large-scale Mummy-type curse, you need a really horrifying backstory. Which brings us to the cursed tomb of Timur.
After assuming the title of Great Khan in 1369, Timur launched a horrific campaign from Persia to Southern Russia that would have made his great grandfather Genghis proud -- right down to the pyramid of 70,000 human skulls he built in north India, presumably because he was tired of carrying them around.
"Just pile them all here. Somebody will get them."
When Timur died in 1405, he was interred in the Gur-e Amir complex of Samarkand, Uzbekistan. A huge green jade slab which had once served as the throne for Kabek Khan was placed over his tomb and covered with Arabic text about how awesome it is to be Mongol, and, just to make sure nobody messed with Timur's bones down the road, the words "When I arise from the grave, the world will tremble", which is eerily reminiscent of Vigo's prophecy in Ghostbusters II.
Sure enough, in 1941, Stalin dispatched Soviet archeologist Mikhail Mikhaylovich Gerasimov to excavate Timur's gravesite, we're guessing to one-up the Nazis' recent archeological breakthroughs at Tanis and Iskenderun.
According to Kaumov, local Uzbek elders were understandably upset about the excavation: "These old men showed me a book saying that the tomb of Timur should not be opened, otherwise a war could be provoked. I was young at the time and not too wise. I did not pay too much attention to this event. On 21 June we removed the skull of Timur. Then, on the 22 June the war with the Germans began."
Skull magic = World War II.
In other words, less than 24 hours after opening the tomb that threatened to "make the world tremble" if disturbed, Stalin's men saw Hitler launch Operation Barbarossa: the largest and most brutal invasion of WWII.
After losing millions of Soviet soldiers and civilians, the Russians finally returned Timur to his tomb with full Islamic burial rights on December 20, 1942. At the same time on the opposite side of the country, Operation Winter Storm, the last German attempt to escape destruction at Stalingrad, failed decisively.
"GIVE ME BACK MY FUCKING SKUUUUUULL!"
To be clear, it is the official position of Cracked.com that curses do not exist. Still, to be safe, stay the hell away from Timur's tomb. Oh, and maybe send some flowers to the archeologist who had the brilliant idea of restoring Timur's remains just in time to prevent the Nazis from winning WWII... whoever he may be.
The Cursed Musicians
Although you may not be familiar with the term, the "27 Club" is packed to the gills with a few people you've almost definitely heard of. Recognize these faces?
From left to right, they are Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain. All five are famous not only for being iconic voices of their generation and culture, they are also equally famous for buying the farm in various rock star ways.
Oh, and they were all the same age when it happened: 27.
Jones drowned in a pool, Hendrix famously asphyxiated on his own puke, Joplin od'ed on heroine, Morrison probably went the same way, and Cobain shot himself in the face (OK, so maybe he was cheating a little). But keep in mind, those are only the 5 most famous cases.
"Eh, I still think it was a good investment."
In fact, there are 41 members of the so-called 27 club, dating all the way back to Alexandre Levy, who died in January of 1892. Then Louis Chauvin, a ragtime musician, died in 1908 of Neurosyphillitic sclerosis, showing that even back in the day, musicians had unprotected sex with anything that couldn't outrun them.
And then there's Robert Johnson, the man credited as inventing the blues, who died at 27 in 1938. There's an old legend that Johnson sold his soul to the Devil to be able to make great music, so presumably the Devil figured 27 was a good age to collect.
The most recent person on the list, a popular Zambian musician named Lily Tembo, died in September of 2009. So if you are a musician in your twenties, you may want to go back to that job pulling hair out of the pool drains at the YMCA for a few years before you try for that big break. There is somewhat of a silver lining to all of this in the sense that none of these stars lived long enough to become caricatures of themselves in their autumn years.
The Cursed Wedding
Getting married is pretty much one of the hugest deals in most people's lives, and women worry themselves sick over every little thing until it's over. But they can take comfort in knowing that no matter how bad the ceremony goes, the cursed wedding of Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo, 6th Princess della Cisterna was far, far worse.
When Prince Amedeo of Savoy announced that he was going to marry Maria, King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy was completely against the marriage. For one, he thought his dapper son could have done better than a mere "Duchess consort." Secondly, his son's chosen bride was not of royal birth. Basically, King Victor was a man of very high standards.
The man's cape came with a cape.
Nevertheless, Prince Amedeo I married Princess Maria on May 30, 1867 in an event that can safely be described as the single most god-damned wedding in recorded history.
The wedding day kicked off with the bridal party discovering that the woman responsible for laying out the Princess' wedding dress had "hanged herself instead of the bridal gown." A superstitious Maria insisted on being married in a different gown (and honestly, most of us probably would too).
Then, as the bridal party made their way from the palace to the church, the colonel leading the procession fell off his horse and died of sunstroke. After they found a replacement for him, the party was stopped again at the palace gates, which for some reason refused to open. The gatekeeper was sent for, which is when they found him laying dead in a pool of blood.
Immediately after the wedding, the best man toasted the couple by shooting himself in the head. The party promptly hauled ass to a nearby rail station, we're guessing to take the first train out of town. But even this hit a wall as well, once the man who drafted the marriage contract fell into "an apoplectic fit", which is old timey speak for massive internal bleeding -- usually in the brain -- that almost immediately results in death. It's amazing that they even had a phrase for that. Anyways, after that, a stationmaster got pulled beneath the bridal carriage, bringing the body count for the day to five.
At this point King Victor Emmanuel II realized that this wedding was going to cost him a fortune in funeral expenses, and insisted that nobody was to board the train and instead tiptoe as quietly as possible back to the palace before the gods realized there was someone else they forgot to kill. The retreat went splendidly until a certain Count of Castiglione also got pulled under the wedding carriage, "crushing his new Order of the Annonciade into his chest and wounding him beyond hope", a phrase which here means "he was stabbed in the heart by his medallion."
The Count was the last one to die, but the wedding jinx of Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo and Prince Amadeo I didn't officially end until ten years later when Princess Maria died after complications from childbirth at age 29.
The Cursed Song
No matter how irritating the drunk girl in crocs and a tube top screeching into the microphone on karaoke night might be, we all manage to resist the urge to punch her in the face with a knife. But such a girl might not be so lucky in the Philippines, where the wrong song can get you killed.
"Seriously. Please stop."
And we mean specifically the song "My Way," by Frank Sinatra. At least six people have been killed while singing it at karaoke there over the last ten years. Click that link -- that's the New York Times, kids. This is real.
Now, it would be pretty weird if each of the victims had died in some supernatural way, say if they were shot by the ghost of Sinatra. But they weren't. They were merely murdered. Why? Does the song contain some subliminal message of violence detectable only by Filipino ears?
Who knows? In one case, a 29 year-old was shot dead by a security guard because he thought the guy was off-key. In another story, the friend of one singer overheard the people at the next table commenting on how shitty he was, so the friend (an off duty cop) stood up and drew his gun on them, chasing them the hell out of the bar and forever convincing the man's family to not play "My Way" at family gatherings.
Philippine Idol must be, like, 8000 times more awesome than the American version.
Interestingly, this seems to be a purely Philippines-specific problem. Apparently, karaoke bars in the Philippines are comparable to the Tarasco bar in Desperado.
Pictured: a spirited rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'".
Theories about the ability of "My Way" to trigger incandescent rage range from the song's ability to "evoke feelings of pride and arrogance in the singer" to "It covers up you failures", both of which karaoke fans of the far east view as reasons to level a murderous ass-kicking. So, as explanations go, "supernatural curse" would be quite a bit less weird.
The Cursed Phone Number
A cell phone can seemed cursed for any number of reasons, from endless spam text messages to ringing in the middle of a diamond heist. But at least they can't kill you.
That is, unless your number is 0888-888-888.
"Holy shit! 10,000$ in debt settlement!"
The number was originally issued in Bulgaria back in the early 2000s and has passed through a few hands since then. Everyone who's had it is dead. Every. Last. One.
The number belongs to Mobitel, a Bulgarian mobile phone company, and to date it has claimed 3 lives. In 2001, the original owner and Mobitel CEO Vladimir Grashnov died of cancer. The number was then given to a mafia boss named Konstantin Dimitrov, who got shot to death while out having dinner with a model in 2003. Finally it wound up in the hands of a businessman named Konstantin Dishliev who caught some bullets outside an Indian restaurant in Bulgaria's capital in 2005.
Both Konstantins were crooked as hell (the first one was a mob boss and the second a corrupt businessman at the head of a drug empire) and were likely killed by Russians who didn't like the competition, but there is something inherently creepy about two guys with the same name in similar lines of business both dying the same way at similar locations while carrying cell phones with the exact same number.
Sometimes curses look like this.
Since then Mobiltel has suspended the number indefinitely. When questioned about the chain of events, a Mobiltel representative was quoted as saying "We have no comment to make. We won't discuss individual numbers."
For more stories to get you in the Halloween mood, check out 6 Popular Monsters Myths (That Prove Humanity Is Doomed) and 6 Shockingly Evil Things Babies Are Capable Of.
And stop by Linkstorm to learn which columnist's house is haunted by the ghost of Ross Wolinsky.
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