Curse or coincidence? 10 of the world's most mysterious curses

From Oak Island to the Kennedys and the rock world's Club 27, we investigate 10 strange and spooky curses.

Who says curses are just for fairy tales? These real-life curses claim to have affected some of history’s most infamous events and people. Just take a look for yourself - if you dare!

Curse of Oak Island

curse of oak island

The Curse of Oak Island, the subject of the incredibly popular series of the same name on History (formerly The History Channel) is a 220-year-old curse. Although no one is exactly sure where the curse originates from, it states that before the rumoured treasure is discovered in the Canadian island, seven people must die.

[What is Curse of Oak Island about? When does it return to History?]

To date only six have died – but as the Lagina brothers dig deeper and deeper into the supposedly curse-ridden island on the show – we only hope they don’t provoke another victim.

King Tutankhamun’s Curse

It’s common knowledge that King Tutankhamun’s tomb is supposedly cursed and that all that entered it alongside Howard Carter during its opening in 1922 came to a horrible end. But how true is this legend?

Well, while not every person who entered the tomb came to a sticky end, quite a few didn’t fare too well including Egyptologist Lord Carnarvon who died in Cairo just four months later from an infected mosquito bite and his dog, who, legend has it, howled and dropped dead just a few hours later at Carnarvon's Hampshire home. However, Carter himself dodged the curse, living to the age of 64, 17 years after he first entered King Tut’s resting place.

The Kennedy Curse

john f kennedy

Not only were President John F Kennedy (known as Jack) and his brother Robert assassinated, but two of their siblings also died young, eldest brother Joe Jr aged 29 on a 1944 top-secret wartime mission over Suffolk with the US Navy, and sister Kathleen in a plane crash in France in 1948.

Youngest brother Ted saw his hopes of following Jack into the White House end after the Chappaquiddick incident of 1969 in he drove his car off a bridge and fled, leaving his companion Mary Jo Kopechne trapped inside the vehicle. 

Two of Robert's sons also died young - David of a drug overdose aged 28 and Michael in a skiiing accident aged 39, while Jack's son Jack Jr died in a plane crash in 1999. Jack and Jackie Kennedy had already had a stillborn daughter, and a fourth child, Patrick, lived just 39 hours beore dying, three months before his father's assassination.

[Is the Zodiac Killer about to be found?]

The Curse of Tippecanoe

Kennedy is the last US President to have died in office, but he certainly wasn't the first. That dubious honour goes to William Henry Harrison. In 1811, forces led by Harrison put paid to a Native American uprising at the Battle or Tippecanoe, only for the brother of Shawnee leader Tecumseh to place a curse on Harrison and future presidents elected during years ending with the same number as Harrison. 

Harrison was elected to the White House in 1840, but died of pneumonia just a month after his inauguration in April 1841, supposedly after refusing to wear coat, hat and gloves to dliver the longest inauguration speech in history. 

Abraham Lincoln - elected in 1860 - was assassinated at the beginning of his second term in 1865, James Garfield died just 10 months after his election in 1880, while William McKinley - re-elected in 1900, also died the following September.

Warren G.Harding won the 1920 election before dying in office in 1923 and wartime President Franklin D.Roosevelt - re-elected for an unprecedented third time in 1940 - died shortly after his fourth victory in 1945.

Kennedy became the seventh victim of the 'curse', and when Ronald Reagan was shot in March 1981 - four months after winning the 1980 poll - it was feared that the Curse of Tippecanoe had struck once more. But the ex-actor survived to see out two terms in office, and with George W. Bush also serving two full terms from 2000, it looks as though the curse has finally come to an end.

The 27 Club

jimi hendrix

If you’re a rock star, you’re pretty lucky if you live past the age of 27 years old – at least according the the 27 Club Curse. It is a curse that has apparently claimed the lives of many talented young artists. Indeed, some of entertainment’s most celebrated legends have died aged 27, including Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Brian Jones and Kurt Cobain.

The Curse of Timur

Timur (1336-1405) led the Timurid Empire, achieving a vast and powerful empire within his lifetime. Russian dictator Stalin admired Timur, in fact so much so that he ordered his body to be exhumed. He was warned that this could unleash a deadly curse that would cost the lives of many. Stalin ignored the warnings, and as we know from history the Nazis went on to attack the Soviets, leading to 7.5 million deaths.

The 'My Way' Curse

Frank Sinatra's signature tune - and the first song played at Donald Trump's inauguration - is a karaoke favourite, but the worst that most off-key singers could expect was to be booed off stage. Not in the Philippines, where to date six people have been murdered while crooning away to Ol' Blue Eyes hit.  

The Superman Curse

christopher reeve

Many of the actors who have played Superman in Hollywood have experienced tragic fates. Most famously Christopher Reeve (who starred as Superman in the 1978 movie and its sequels) was paralysed in a horse jumping accident in 1995 and died in 2004.

Other victims of the so-called 'Superman curse' including Lee Quigley, who played Superman as a baby in Reeve's film and who died from a drug overdose at 14 years old, and George Reeves who played Superman in the 50s TV show and who was found dead of a gunshot wound in 1959 - the official finding was suicide but his mother and many of his Hollywood colleagues suspected he was killed by a hitman hired by the husband of a woman he was having an affair with.

The Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle isn’t just the stuff of thriller movies - some believe it be a genuine curse. Supposedly it is especially dangerous to fly or sail over this part of the North Atlantic Ocean, and multiple aircrafts and boats have been reported missing over the years – many of which have never been found. The most notorious case saw five Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bombers carrying 14 men disappear in 1945 – never to be recovered.

The Curse of the Hope Diamond

The Hope Diamond, believed to have been discovered in India as far back as 1668, is one of the world’s most infamous pieces of jewellery. Worth between $200m and $250m, the blue diamond is certainly beautiful, but it’s also supposedly cursed.

The story goes that after it was stolen from a temple in India, its original owners cursed all who should own it. The French trader who sold it to King Louis XIV was allegedly torn apart by a pack of wild dogs, and the diamond remained with the French royal family for another 150 years, being worn by Louis XVI, Princess de Lamballe and Marie Antoinette, who were all killed in the French Revolution.

Subsequent owners supposedly suffered bereavements, business failures, marital problems, murders and suicides. The diamond is currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC – hopefully marking the end of this 'curse' once and for all. 

Curse of Oak Island series 5 is on Wednesdays at 9pm on History.

Snatch – coming to BT TV

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