Some places or objects are beyond haunted; they are believed to be cursed. Cursed objects and locations are situations in which evil supernatural forces affect those who come in contact with them. Some curses can be explained, as in the case with the famous Hope Diamond. As the legend goes, a French jeweller named Tavernier travelled to India in 1642. During his visit, he stole a large blue diamond from a sacred statue of Hindu goddess, Sita. It is believed that stealing from an idol unleashes certain curses upon all those who possess the stolen item. Tavernier returned to France in 1668 and presented the diamond to King Louis XIV. He wore the diamond around his neck during his reign. Tavernier was later killed by wild dogs while traveling in Russia.
The king and his wife, Marie-Therese, had already lost two children during childbirth. In 1671, their son Philippe, died at age three. One year later, a daughter, named after her mother died at age five, along with their newborn son. Marie-Therese died in 1683. Their only living child, Louis, the Dauphin (crown prince), died in 1711.The crown went to Louis XIV’s grandson, Louis XV, duc d’Anjou. The diamond remained in the royal family until the beheadings of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. After their deaths, little is known about the gem’s whereabouts until it resurfaced in 1813.
It was later purchased in the early 1900s by a London banker named Henry Thomas Hope, whereupon it became known as the Hope Diamond.
The diamond changed owners several times over the following years. Washington Post owner, Edward McLean acquired the famous gem in 1922 from a Turkish nobleman who had recently bought the jewel from a diamond dealer. Shortly after the dealer delivered it, he was killed in a car accident. Believing the diamond was cursed; the Turk opted to sell it. McLean, not believing in superstitions, gave it to his wife, Evelyn Walsh McLean, as a gift.
Having some knowledge of its curse, Evelyn had a priest bless the diamond before she ever wore it. Nonetheless, tragedy began to engulf her life. Her nine-year-old son, Vinson, was killed in a freak car accident. Shortly thereafter, in 1933, she and Edward divorced. The courts committed Edward to a mental facility for where he remained for the rest of his life. He died of a heart attack in 1941. Five years later, their only daughter committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills. Grief-stricken Evelyn died one year later. Upon her death, the Hope Diamond was sent to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. where it remains on “permanent” loan.
Clearly, this curse stemmed from the theft of a sacred object that should have never been touched from the start. Other curses have unknown origins leaving only speculation. Some of the most famous curses are found in Hollywood. Certain movies and even characters have been tainted by alleged curses bringing death and unfortunate accidents onto those associated with them. Many of them revolve around themes of occult activity or an evil persona: One of the most famous being, the curse of “Poltergeist.” It is believed that the curse began because real cadavers were used in the swimming pool scene, rather than props. Disrespect for the dead would certainly open a door for bad karma.
Between the beginning of filming for the first Poltergeist and the end of filming for the third, four cast members died. The first was Dominique Dunne, who played the oldest daughter in the original Poltergeist. Dunne was twenty-two when her boyfriend murdered her, not long after the first movie was released. Over the next six years, three other cast members died. Julian Beck and Will Sampson died two years apart after appearing in the second Poltergeist. Both died from diseases of the digestive system. Twelve-year-old Heather Rourke died after appearing in all three movies again from a digestive disease.
Many people believe it was a curse to blame for heinous murders of Sharon Tate and her friends. She was almost full term in her pregnancy when members of the Charles Manson family broke into her home at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles. One year prior to the murders Tate’s husband, director Roman Polanski, released “Rosemary’s Baby,” a film about a young woman giving birth to the son of Satan. The film’s producer, William Castle, believed there was a curse. Shortly after production, Castle fell ill with severe gallstones. After several painful months of treatments, he finally was forced to have surgery. A short time later, the film’s composer, Krzysztof Komeda, died in an accidental fall. Then the Sharon Tate murders. In researching the Manson murders, it is apparent that a weird set of coincidences certainly revolved around the murders.
Tate and Polanski rented the home directly after its former tenants, Terry Melcher and his girlfriend, Candice Bergen, moved out. During the previous year, Melcher had severed connections with would-be songwriter, Charles Manson. Beach Boy Dennis Wilson had introduced Melcher to Manson. Wilson had picked up a couple of women who were hitchhiking, members of Manson’s family, and brought them to his home. A few hours later, he found himself giving refuge to the entire Manson clan. At first Wilson showed an interest in Manson’s music, introducing him to Melcher.
Melcher, too, was interested in the beginning but abandoned Manson after witnessing his unacceptable behaviour. Manson had on occasion visited Melcher at his home on Cielo Drive. Shortly after he dropped Manson, Melcher and Bergen moved out of the house, and the Polanski’s moved in. It seems that the tragic death of Sharon Tate and her houseguests might have had more to do with being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
One eerie detail about the Tate murders is that Sharon Tate allegedly had a premonition of her own demise. One of the murder victims of the Manson family was her former boyfriend, hairdresser Jay Sebring.
Three years before their murders, the actress was staying alone in Sebring’s home on Eaton Drive. MGM executive Paul Bern, who had been married to Jean Harlow, had once owned the house. In 1932, Bern shot himself in the home, leaving nothing more than a cryptic suicide note. Harlow died mysteriously of kidney failure at only twenty-six years old five years later. Sebring believed the house to be haunted by both Bern and Harlow.
On the evening Sharon Tate stayed alone in the house, she was awakened by what she described as a “creepy, little man” entering her room. He shuffled about as if he was searching for something, ignoring Tate’s presence. The frightened actress fled the room and leapt down the stairs where she saw another apparition. She described a bloody body tied to the railing with its throat slit. Unbeknownst to her at the time, it was a glimpse of what was to come.
Another famous celebrity curse is associated with a song. The Curse of the Crossroads began in the early 1900s with a Mississippi blues guitarist, Tommy Johnson.
Johnson claimed, “If you want to learn how to play anything you want to play and learn how to make songs yourself, you take your guitar and you go to where a road crosses that way, where a crossroad is. Get there; be sure to get there just a little ‘fore 12:00 that night so you’ll know you’ll be there. You have your guitar and are playing a piece there by yourself…. A man will walk up there and take your guitar, and he’ll tune it. And then he’ll play a piece and hand it back to you. That’s the way I learned to play anything I want.”
Sometime later, another Mississippi bluesman, Robert Johnson (no relation) wrote the song “Crossroads Blues.” Robert Johnson was down on his luck and desperate for fame and fortune. After losing his wife, Virginia, and their unborn son in childbirth, in 1935, he had hit an all-time low. In a desperate attempt to become a star he travelled to a crossroads in Rosedale, Mississippi where legend has it he made a pact with Satan. As the story goes, Johnson having nothing left to lose offered up his soul to the devil in exchange for musical ability.
Johnson’s musical career soared but only for a couple of years. He recorded “Crossroads Blues” in 1936. Just two years later he was murdered. Johnson’s fame was short-lived but the “Curse of the Crossroads” lived on. Numerous musicians have recorded the song, all of whom suffered tragedies shortly thereafter.
Are these celebrity curses real? Many believe that they are. Still others contend that it is the belief in the curse that creates it. Sometimes what we believe becomes our reality. If one believes that he is cursed, the belief creates a cursed existence. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that becomes true only because it is believed so strongly. Sometimes it’s best to avoid such situations, places, and things that are rumoured to be cursed, just in case.