Do you believe in the supernatural? Or do you scoff every time you hear about someone’s silly superstitions? When something strange happens, what is your reaction? Do you immediately assume that there must be a higher power at work, or do you try looking behind the scenes to discover a logical, and scientifically acceptable explanation?
Sometimes we hear about objects in the real world that are supposedly cursed or haunted. The millions of fantasy and horror movies and books that are a big part of our lives are most unhelpful when you hear an odd noise in the dark. Like it or not, your mind will jump to horrifying conclusions, before you remember to compose yourself and realise it was just the branches swaying on the wind and knocking on your window.
But what if it’s not just the wind? This following list, courtesy of Auntyacid, contains several real items that are said to be truly haunted. Proceed at your own risk.
You’re still here! You’re braver than I gave you credit for.
1. The Mermaids by Ivan Kramskoi
This painting, also known as Drowned maidens, or Rusalki in the original Russian, dates from 1871 and depicts nineteen women by the river. Except they aren’t ordinary women: they’re rusalki. According to Slavic mythology, rusalki are water spirits who emerge at night and, similarly to sirens, sing and dance to enchant men and lure them to their deaths at the bottom of the river or lake.
The artist, Ivan Kramskoi, did not believe in the supernatural. The painting was purchased by a Moscow merchant and displayed in a gallery. The rumors started when, on the first night, the painting placed immediately next to it fell down. The strange incident was attributed to the The Mermaids, and the cleaning staff were so afraid of the eerie rusalki that they refused to even come close to the painting.
This diamond is one of the best known in the world, and at 105 carat (21.1 g), for a long time it was considered to be the largest one. The name comes from the Persian Kōh-i Nūr which means “Mountain of Light”. The diamond has belonged to numerous Hindu, Mughal, Turkic, Afghan, Sikh and British rulers and all of their lives had been filled with treachery, violence, murders, and, deaths. In 1850, it fell into the hands of the East India Trading Company and subsequently was delivered to Queen Victoria. Whether it’s true that it is cursed and that it brings bad luck to all men who wear it or not, the fact remains that the history of the diamond is bloody. Perhaps this is why Queen Victoria demanded in her will that it always be passed down to female members of the family. Today, the Koh-i-Noor is exhibited in the Tower of London as part of the Crown Jewels – it is set in the front of the Queen Mother’s Crown.
3. “Little Bastard” sports car
James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder acquired a fame of its own, when the actor died in an accident with the car in 1955. After that, the Porsche nicknamed “Little Bastard” has brought death and injuries to everyone who’s ever owned it. The engine and the drivetrain had been salvaged from the accident and incorporated in two different cars. Both owners decided to race against each other: one lost control of the vehicle and died when he hit a tree; the other was gravely injured when out of nowhere the car locked up and rolled over when going into a turn. Two tires of the original Porsche had also survived and were sold. Both blew out at the same time and their new owner was run off the road.
This is not where the strange history of the cursed car ends. Once there was a fire in the garage it was in, but the car was left unscathed. Another time, during an exhibition, it fell from its display and broke the hip of a bystander. Yet another time, the driver of the truck that was transporting the “Little Bastard” somehow lost control and fell out of the truck and was then crushed… by the Porsche which somehow had managed to fall off the back. All traces of the car vanished in 1960, and now no-one knows its whereabouts.
4. Ötzi the Iceman
Ötzi is a naturally preserved mummy of a man who lived sometime in the 3,300 BC, discovered in the Ötztal Alps in 1991. It is the oldest natural human mummy in Europe and it’s currently on display in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy.
No doubt influenced by the curse of the pharaohs, some believe that Ötzi is cursed. Several people who had to do with the discovery of the mummy have died in what is described as mysterious circumstances. A couple of them are Helmut Simon, the co-discoverer, and Konrad Spindler, the first man to examine the mummy in 1991. Seven deaths, four of which were accidents, have been ascribed to the curse. It should be noted, however, that, in one capacity or another, hundreds of people have worked on the mummy, and seven of them dying is a hardly significant statistic.
5. The Adoration of the Kings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Painted in 1564, this oil-on-panel painting represents the Adoration of the Magi. It is supposedly cursed, as no woman in any of the four families who owned it has been able to give birth. In the end, the painting was bought by a family who was unafraid of the curse, because they had already had many children. Today, The Adoration of the Kings can be found in the National Gallery in London, the United Kingdom.
6. The mirror of Myrtles Plantation
Located in Louisiana, in the southeastern United States, the Myrtles Plantation is “one of America’s most haunted homes.” Allegedly it houses at least twelve ghosts. It is said that ten murders have taken place there, although only one of them is recorded – that of William Winter. There are many legends and mysteries surrounding this house. One of them revolves around a mirror that contains the souls of Sara Woodruff and two of her children. Custom dictates that all mirrors must be covered up when someone dies, otherwise there is a risk of the soul remaining trapped in them for all eternity. According to legend, one mirror in the house was overlooked, and Sara and her children’ spirits now sometimes leave handprints on the mirror.
7. The cursed rocks
Uluru, or Ayers Rock is one of the most recognizable Austarlian landmarks. It’s a large red rock formation in central Australia, regarded as a sacred site by the indigenous Aboriginal people. The Anangu, the tribe that lives nearest to the rock has asked visitors not to take anything from the sacred mountain, and not to climb to the top. Still, tourists disregard their pleas and often take chunks of rock as souvenirs. In the last twenty years or so, the pieces of Uluru have started to arrive back to Australia by mail. Apparently, those who had taken them had experienced serious bouts of bad luck, and had decided to get rid of the potentially cursed objects, just to be safe.
8. Telephone number
The phone number 0888 888 888 is considered to be cursed in Bulgaria, after all three of its owners met with sudden deaths over ten years. The number originally belonged to Vladimir Grashnov, the CEO of the phone company that had issued it, and he died of cancer at the age of mere 48. After that, the number was passed to Bulgarian mafia boss Konstantin Dimitrov, who was shot and killed during a trip in the Netherlands. Lastly, it went to Konstantin Dishliev, a crooked businessman who was gunned down in Sofia, Bulgaria’s captial, in 2005. Since then, it was apparently suspended by the phone company, and callers now get only a recorded message that says that the number is “outside of network coverage.”
9. Annabelle the possessed doll
This regular looking, Raggedy Ann doll, with button eyes and floppy red hair is said to be infused with evil. The doll was originally purchased as a birthday gift for medical student, Donna. Soon after she had taken it to her flat, she and her roommate, Angie, started noticing slight movements the doll had made. Things only escalated from there: it started moving around the flat, it levitated, and it tried to strangle their friend Lou. The girls called in a psychic medium who told them that it was possessed by the spirit of a dead girl called Annabelle Higgins. They even had a priest perform an exorcism on it! Today, the Annabelle doll can be found in a glass box at The Warrens’ Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, labeled, “Warning, positively do not open.”
10. Black Orlov or the Eye of Brahma Diamond
The Black Orlov, also known as the Eye of Brahma Diamond is a 67.5 carat (13.5 g) black diamond, discovered in India in the 19th century. Originally, it was part of a statue representing the Hindu god Brahma. It was stolen by a monk and ended up in the hands of diamond dealer J. W. Paris, who took the diamond to the United States in 1932. Shortly afterwards, he killed himself by jumping from a tall building. This is not the only suicide attributed to the cursed jewel. Two Russian princesses, Leonila Galitsine-Bariatinsky and Nadia Vygin-Orlov, who owned the diamond in 1940s, also jumped to their deaths.
Trying to break the curse, Charles F. Winson had it cut in three pieces in the 1950s. The black diamond was placed in a brooch with 108 diamonds, and it is suspended from a 124-diamond necklace. It has been displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the Natural History Museum in London, and it was even worn at the Oscars by Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman.
11. The cursed tomb of Tutankhamun
The origin of the Curse of the pharaohs. In 1922, Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun’ tomb. The mysterious deaths of several members of his expedition fanned the flames started by a letter written by Marie Corelli and published in the New York World magazine, where she quotes an obscure book according to which that anyone who intrudes upon a sealed tomb will be met with “dire punishment.” Two weeks later, the first death occurred. Lord Carnarvon, the financial backer of the excavation team, died as a result of an infected mosquito bite. At least eleven deaths are popularly attributed to the pharaoh’s curse.
12. Dybbuk Box
The Dybbuk box is a wine cabinet that supposedly is haunted by a malicious spirit, called a Dybbuk. Kevin Mannis, an owner of a small antique shop in Oregon, in the northwest of the US, came up with the term as he was trying to auction it off on eBay. The box originally belonged to a Holocaust survivor, and Mannis managed to track her down and offered to return the box to her as it was a family heirloom. However, the lady didn’t want it because of the dybbuk said to live inside it. Inside the box, Mannis said to have found two pennies from 1920, some locks of hair, a small Hebrew statue and a few other miscellaneous objects. Every owner of the box apparently has suffered from strange health problems, like hives, coughing up blood, and even head-to-toe welts. Mannis himself suffered from a series of horrific nightmares. Today, the box is displayed in the museum of Zak Bagans, the paranormal investigator from Ghost Adventures.
13. The Rokeby Venus by Diego Velázquez
This painting was completed some time between 1647 and 1651, and it represents the goddess Venus looking into a mirror held by her son Cupid. Venus is often described as looking at herself in the mirror, but this is not possible, because we can see her reflection. For her to see her own reflection, with the mirror positioned as it is, her head would have to be between us, the viewers, and the mirror. As it is, the only thing she could possibly see in the mirror is us. This phenomenon, known as the Venus effect, is known to have caused feelings of great unease among the viewers.