We are men of science. People of science. We love science is what I’m saying. The world is neatly divided into things we can rationally understand, and things we don’t rationally understand yet. There is no room for superstition, or magic, or the paranormal. Carrying a rabbit’s dismembered limb is not going to bring you good luck. Walking under a ladder is not going to bring you bad luck unless there is a particularly clumsy window-cleaner stood at the top of it.
So don’t worry about opening umbrellas indoors, or Friday the 13th, or saying “Macbeth” around theatre-folk because frankly, that stuff is all hokem and nonsense. There’s no such thing as “bad luck” or “curses”. Definitely no such thing as “curses”.
That said, to be on the safe side, maybe try not breaking any of these ones…
Don’t Take Rocks from Hawaiian Beaches
It’s said that if you go to the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park and take even a single stone you will invoke the wrath of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of lightening, wind, fire and volcanoes. Like any such curse, it’s widely ignored by visiting tourists (or occasionally actively broken on a dare). Of course they take rocks and sand. It’s what tourists do.
This is why the hotels in the area are constantly received packages in the mail full of sand, rocks and shells from tourists who suddenly decided they aren’t so sceptical of the curse after all.
Along with the packaged rocks are notes such as “Please return to soil. I have been having bad luck” and “Ever since we have taken items, we have had nothing but bad luck and medical problems. We apologise for taking the items, so we are returning same to Hawaii” or my personal favourite “We placed the rock last fall on a cast iron chair in our garden, this spring the chair’s leg had fallen off. This is the least of the problems we have had since we have taken the rock.”
The Los Angeles Times ran a story on one Timothy Murray, who took a sample of some unusual black sand from the National Park back to Florida. Immediately his pet died, his relationship with his fiancé ended, and he was arrested by the FBI for copyright infringement.
But I’m sure there are also plenty of people who take rocks from Hawaii who haven’t suffered any horrifyingly bad luck. Yet.
The Curse of the Tomb of Timur
Timur, otherwise known as Tarmashirin Khan, Emir Timur, or somewhat less prestigiously as Tamerlane or “Timur the Lame”, was a man with a simple dream. All he wanted to was rise up and restore the Mongol Empire of Ghenghis Khan. To do this he went about conquering Central, South and West Asia, founding the Timurid dynasty, killing 17 million people, or 5% of the world’s population. He was also a great paton of art, architecture and educational institutions, but it’s amazing out much slaughtering 1 in 20 people on the planet will eclipse that.
Then he died, and everyone thought that would be the end of carnage and murder propagated by Timur.
Then in 1941 a Societ anthropologist by the name of Mikhail Gerasimov found Timur’s tomb. Reports state the tomb was inscribed with the words “When I rise from the dead, the world shall tremble.” Any archaeologist who’d ever actually seen a movie would, upon reading those words, have turned and fled for the hills, maybe eventually taking up beekeeping or knitting.
Gerasimov, however, had apparently never seen a film, so said “LOL! Nope!” and heaved that big old tomb right open. Inside he is said to have found Timur’s corpse in a casket bearing the inscription “Whoever opens my tomb shal unleash an invader more terrible than I.” At which point any archaeologist who’d ever read a book would nail down the casket, leg it home, change their name and hide in a padded cellar and never going into the outside word again. Gerasimov just decided to start measuring body parts.
Two days later Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, the biggest military invasion in human history, against the U.S.S.R.
In November 1942, Timur was buried back in his tomb with a full Islamic ceremony. By February 1943 the U.S.S.R had won the Battle of Stalingrad, a decisive turning point in the war. Coincidence? Why don’t you check by opening Timur’s tomb again? Nope. Didn’t think so.
The Killer Phone Number
So a mobile telephone company called, originally, Mobitel, is churning out telephone numbers. The machine finally pops out the number 0888 888 888. The person who operates the telephone number making machine (I assume this is a thing) says “Hey! Cool! All the eights!” and shows it to his boss, who shows it to Vladimir Grashnov, the CEO of the company. Grashnov takes one look at this awesome number 8 based telephone number and says “Cool! I’m ‘aving that!” then carries on with his day.
Not long afterwards, in 2001, the 48 year-old Grashnov dies of cancer. It’s never proven, but rumours persist that he got the cancer thanks to radioactive poisoning from a business rival.
The telephone number is passed on to the mobile phone of Konstantin Dimitrov, a young, healthy, 31-year-old mafia boss. In 2003 he has the phone with him when he is assassinated in the Netherlands while inspecting his drug smuggling empire.
The phone number finally goes to Konstantin Dishliev. Dishliev is an estate agent, a perfectly ordinary, run of the mill estate agent. In 2005 he gets gunned down outside an Indian restaurant in an assassination linked to the massive cocaine smuggling operation he’d been running on the side.
Mobitel has retired the phone number 0888 888 888. It is doubted they will ever bring it back into service again.
License: Creative Commons
Jason Falls is a freelance writer working with
www.babysashanmom.com. He once disturbed an ancient Druidic burial mound and is now
followed everywhere by thousands upon thousands of moths.