Y’know, I just can’t resist a good ol’ curse. There’s just something about an otherwise ordinary object, hiding a frightfully unusual past that I just love.
What makes an item cursed? Is it the latent emotional energy of a tragic event or previous owner impressed upon the item? Is a curse created only by the power of those who believe in it? A sting of coincidences strung together, or a load of old nonsense?
Who knows? Who cares!
Let’s explore a few more cases of cursed objects and see what you think.
“Little Bastard” was the nickname actor and recent queer icon, James Dean, bestowed upon him now infamous Porsche 550 Spyder. In September 1955, Dean and his passenger, Rolf Wütherich, where involved in a car crash which left the Rebel Without a Cause actor dead.
Since Dean untimely death however, Little Bastard has gone on to earn its own place amongst the dark legends of American pop culture. After the wreck, the car, which was a complete right off, was bought and stripped for parts, with pieces ending up in the race cars of William Eschrich and Troy McHenry. Both cars and drivers took part in the 1956 Pomona sports-car races, and both crashed. Eschrich survived, but McHenry did not.
Thus continued Little Bastard’s apparent reign of terror.
The body of the mangled car was purchased by the self proclaimed, “King of Kustomizers”, George Barris, who loaned out to the National Safety Council where it toured as a morbid demonstration of the importance of road safety. Whilst being stored in a garage prior to an exhibit, a fire occurred which damaged Little Bastard, but luckily, no one was injured.
It is said that Little Bastard fell from a display during an exhibition and broke the hip of a bystander, as well as crushing to death a man who was tasked with transporting it.
In 1960, whist en route to Los Angeles, Little Bastard is said to have disappeared from a sealed container, disappearing into the shadows of infamy, never to be seen since.
While the fire and crashes of 1956 can be verified, along with the one that took James Dean’s life, of course, the rest of Little Bastard’s story is shrouded in mystery. Some argue that George Barris, invented much of the reports of the “curse” for his 1974 book, Cars of the Stars.
The Basano Vase
The tale of the Basano Vase, cast from silver in the 15th century, as the story goes, was given to a bride as a wedding present. Had this been any other vase, this might be the end of the story, however, on her wedding night, the bride was found dead, supposedly clutching the vase in her hands. Some stories claim she swore revenge with her dying breath.
Quite what caused those chain of events is uncertain, as is who gave the vase, why the bride decided to clutch it as she died and who she intended to inflict revenge upon, however, the family deemed it perfectly acceptable to hand down the now cursed vase between the family as an heirloom, despite the fact it went on to cause death after death after death.
After some time, the vase ended up in an 1988 auction, complete with a written warning inside reading “beware, this vase brings death”. That was enough to intrigue perspective buyers, and it was thus sold for 4 million lira, which I have no idea how to convert to today’s money, and have little will to find out.
The man who bought the vase is reported to have died soon after, as did the vase’s subsequent owner. The legend goes that each man died within three months, as does anyone else who owned the vase.
The vase apparently passed through many hands until one family decided to rid the world of the vase once and for all, and threw it out of a window. As fate would have it, the vase landed on top of a policeman, who swiftly issued a for disorderly conduct. The fine was gladly accepted, but the family absolutely refused to take the vase back into their possession.
It was the police’s problem now, and the vase has once again been lost to history. Some believe it is still in police custody, which perhaps invalidates the curse. However, others believe that the vase has been buried – according to some, in consecrated ground – and is thus lost to the annals of history and legend.
So if you go digging up the Italian countryside and come across a solid silver vase, you’re best off putting it straight back where you find it, lest the curse falls upon your own household.
The Myrtles Plantation Mirror
We discussed the Myrtles Plantations supposed past back in Part Three of our Around The World in Eighty Ghosts tour, but as a little refresher, the Myrtles is a historic home and former plantation on St Francisville, Louisiana, and is said to boast a collection of restless spirits.
The most famous of which is Chloe, the spirit of a former slave of the Woodruff family, who, after being caught eavesdropping, had her ear cut off, and took to wearing a green turban to cover it.
To regain favour within the house, Chloe is said to have baked a cake poisoned with oleander leaves, intending to make the family ill so she could nurse them back to health. Unfortunately, the poisoning lead to the deaths of Sara Woodruff and her two children.
Whether or not this aspect of the story is true – records suggest the Woodruff’s passed away from yellow fever – one of the house’s haunted hotspots is the old mirror, overlooking the bottom of the staircase.
According to various custom, mirrors are to be covered after a death in a household, to ensure spirits are able to pass over peacefully. Although the exact reason for the covering differs across traditions, some believe that spirits can be trapped in reflective surfaces if not properly covered after death, and this is exactly what happened in the Myrtles Plantation, so the story goes.
The mirror is thus said to be cursed and contains the spirits of the Woodruffs. Handprints appearing on the inside of the glass and the ghostly spirits of Sara and her children have been seen by visitors for decades.
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