The Top 5 Most Famous Curses of All Time

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Curses are the stuff of legend, lore and Scooby Doo cartoons. Indeed, when many people hear the word “curse” they picture either a dusty, ancient crypt from some firelight tale of terror or a 70s-era animated show with clear undertones of drug use. But might there be more than mere story to some of these sinister spells? Might some curses have sprung from a kernel of truth? Some of history’s most famous curses have predicated series of events so eerily similar they could only be called coincidental if you thought about them logically. So no, curses aren’t real. But they’re fun to talk about anyway.

5 The Curse of the Bambino

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Perhaps the most famous superstition in baseball, a sport rife with superstitions, the Curse of the Bambino was a hex supposedly placed on the Boston Red Sox after the team traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees before the start 1920 season. The Sox would go without a World Series win for almost nine decades. The team was “cursed” until their 2004 victory against the Cardinals, a series the Sox entered after a four game winning streak in a pennant pitting Boston against the New York Yankees themselves.

4 The Curse of the Hope Diamond

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Did a stunning blue stone lead to the fall of the French monarchy? Did this diamond doom a once powerful, wealthy family to shame and destitution? Or was the Curse of the Hope Diamond essentially a marketing gimmick thought up by famed jeweler Pierre Cartier in the early 20th century? Legend has it that the Hope Diamond was plucked from the face of an Indian idol, only to see the thief, a Frenchman named Tavernier, later killed by wild dogs. Actually, Tavernier bought the diamond legally and later sold it to Louis XIV of France. The jewel stayed in the royal family until the Revolution saw the fall of the monarchy (and the king and queen beheaded). It found its way to America where it passed hands many times, supposedly cursing the Hop family, but more likely a symptom of their largesse, which was the real cause of their family’s woes.

3 The Kennedy Curse

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For America’s “royal family,” the crown has been heavy indeed. Few families have been both as prominent and as plagued as the Kennedy clan. The curse began with John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, and then saw his brother Robert gunned down five years later. Ted Kennedy, brother to JFK and RFK, narrowly escaped death in a 1964 plane crash and 1969 car wreck, both of which claimed the lives of others. The respective sons of RFK and JFK both died in accidents, the first while skiing in 1997 and the second in a plane wreck in 1999.

2 The 27 Club

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For some reason, lots of famous musicians die at age 27. Could it be that these hard-rocking, hard-partying songsters still lack the judgment and wisdom needed to balance fame and fortune against health and wellness? Or is there actually some other, more sinister reason we have seen the deaths of Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse all at this tender age? We’re guessing it’s the latter…

1 The Mummy’s Curse

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Arguably the most famous curse of all, the Mummy’s Curse, AKA the Curse of Tutankhamun, was supposedly unleashed on the world in late 1922, when Egyptologist Howard Carter and his team discovered the tomb of King Tut. On the day of discovery, Carter’s pet bird was eaten by a cobra, the first of many ills to befall those associated with the curse. A few months after the tomb was opened, the expedition’s benefactor, an English lord named Carnarvon, fell ill and died. Over the ensuing months and years, people began to add their own spin on the story, adding stories of ominous inscriptions found inside Tut’s tomb and attributing numerous deaths and maladies of those even loosely associated with the unearthing to the mummy’s curse. Soon the rich fiction and flimsy facts had been woven together into a tale of woe.

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