Deuteronomy 7:26 reads “Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.”
So: no cursed items in the house. But what if it was really pretty or valuable? Could we make an exception?
Cursed paintings were all the rage in Gothic literature–The Portrait of Dorian Grey is a prime example. But they became a hot topic again in the mid-1980s when a (hideous) picture of a crying book was supposedly linked to a series of house fires.
What’s really strange about this legend is that reproductions of the painting seem to be cursed. During the 50s and 60s, “The Crying Boy” was–for some reason–a popular print sold all over England. According to a September 4th, 1985, story in UK tabloid The Sun, a couple’s home burned down, leaving only the horrible picture undamaged. The report claimed that a firefighter on the scene had discovered the same print at other house fires.
This is a truly weird one, featuring our old pal Post Malone. In 2018, the musician had a string of bad luck that included a car wreck, a plane emergency, and an armed robbery of his home. Why? Apparently, because he touched the Dybbuk Box.
The Dybbuk Box is a haunted object that is said to contain a malicious spirit from Jewish mythology. It was sold on eBay in 2003 with an accompanying horror story written by Kevin Mannis. He claimed to have purchased it from a Holocaust survivor, and further described the nightmares and health problems that every person who encountered the box has experienced.
The box is now owned by Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures in Las Vegas. That’s where Post Malone foolishly decided to touch the cursed object.
The most famous cursed object in the world is the Hope Diamond. The gem is currently housed at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC, where it presumably will never get a chance to hurt anyone else.
The 45.42 carat diamond brings despair and misfortune to anyone who wears it, according to the lore surrounding the gem. Skeptics believe that the “curse” was hyped in order to raise the price of the diamond–and also sell newspapers with breathless accounts of the people who died after owning it.
That includes the gem merchant Tavernier, who first brought the diamond from India to Paris, and who was “torn to pieces by wild dogs in Constantinople,” according to a New York Times report from 1911.
The same newspaper article alleges that Princess de Lamballe, who once wore the gem, was later “torn to pieces by a French mob.” What can we learn from this? Well, for one thing, we know that “clickbait” is nothing new. For another, the author was really keen on people being torn to pieces.
How many of the stories are true? Not many, according to historians. The legend of the Hope Diamond, like the Curse of Tutankhamen, appears to be a late Victorian fever dream. But if you’ve ever stood in front of the dazzling gem at the Smithsonian, don’t get too close. Better safe than sorry, right?