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Curses

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Gray
15883.  Mon Mar 07, 2005 6:46 am Reply with quote

I've become intrigued by this news story which tells of the clash over a recently installed artwork in Carlisle Museum. Locals want it removed because it incoporates an ancient curse that has apparently brought bad luck to the city. Says the artist:
Quote:
"If I thought my sculpture would have affected one Carlisle United result, I would have smashed it myself years ago."


Lots of interesting curse stories out there, I'm sure...

 
Gray
15886.  Mon Mar 07, 2005 7:08 am Reply with quote

QI:
Quote:
In a speech in Cape Town, South Africa, on June 7, 1966, Robert F. Kennedy said, "There is a Chinese curse which says, "May he live in interesting times." Like it or not, we live in interesting times..." Journalists picked up the phrase and it has become a commonplace.

However, the popularity of this "Chinese curse" puzzles Chinese scholars, who have only heard it from Americans. If it is of Chinese origin, it has somehow escaped the literature, although it may be a paraphrase of a liberal translation from a Chinese source, and therefore unrecognizable when translated back to Chinese. It might be related to the Chinese proverb, "It's better to be a dog in a peaceful time that be a man in a chaotic period."

Stephen DeLong, who has been researching this quotation for several years and details his quest on his own website, has traced the quotation back to a 1950 science fiction story: "U-Turn" by Duncan H. Munro, a pseudonym for Eric Frank Russell.


Corroborated here.

 
Flash
15891.  Mon Mar 07, 2005 7:46 am Reply with quote

Might be a way in to your Analects - ie:

Q: Who said "May you live in interesting times"?
Forfeit: Confucius, Chinese
However, Confucius did say ...

 
eggshaped
15902.  Mon Mar 07, 2005 10:39 am Reply with quote

Q. Where would you see the inscription They who enter this sacred tomb shall swift be visited by wings of death.

Forfeit: In the tomb of Tutankhamun

A: It was completely made up by a newspaper:

Quote:
When Lord Carnarvon died on 5 April, 1923, seven weeks after the official opening of Tutankhamun's burial chamber, rumours were rife about a curse. News of Tutankhamun's tomb and its discoverers had sent the world's media into a frenzy, and the death of Lord Carnarvon added another twist for eager journalists.

All sorts of links were found. For example, back at Carnarvon's English estate, his dog Susie was supposed to have howled and died at the exact moment the master drew his last breath. And so too the lights of Cairo were said to have gone out at that very moment ( although blackouts were really quite a common occurrence at that time). Also, Carnarvon's death came just a couple of weeks after a public warning by novelist Mari Corelli that there would be dire consequences for anyone who entered the sealed tomb.

The media and public lapped it up. Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and a believer in the occult, announced that Carnarvon's death could have been the result of a Pharaoh's curse. One newspaper even printed a curse supposed to have been written in hieroglyphs at the entrance of the tomb, the translation being:

They who enter this sacred tomb shall swift be visited by wings of death.

However, no inscribed curse was ever found.


More mummy curse stuff:

Quote:
As many might believe, the mummy's curse did not originate with the discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb. One researcher (Dominic Montserrat) believes that the tale of the mummy's curse actually originates during the 1820s with an English author and a bizarre theatrical striptease act where state mummies were unwrapped. The show, which took place near London's Piccadilly Circus in 1821, seems to have inspired a little known novelist named Jane Loudon Webb to write a fantasy book called, "The Mummy".

This book was set in the 22nd century and featured an angry, vengeful mummy who came back to life and threatened to strangle the books hero. Then in 1828, a children's book called "The Fruits of Enterprise" was published that had mummies set afire by explorers who used them as torches to explore a mysterious Egyptian pyramid. Of course, the mummies were portrayed as looking particularly vengeful. In 1869, the concept of the mummy's curse became clearer when, Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, wrote a short story called "Lost in a Pyramid: The Mummy's Curse".

In this tale, an explorer again uses a mummy as a torch to brighten the interior of a pyramid. He discovers some seeds in the pyramid, and carries them back to America. His fiancee decides to plant the seeds, which then grow into grotesque flowers. Upon their wedding, she wares one of the flowers and inhales their scent, sending her into a coma as she becomes a living mummy. Other novelists also developed stories along the lines of the mummies curse, both in England and America over the next 30 years.

But then again....

We are well aware that dead bodies have the capacity to spawn infections that can be very dangerous for the living. It is very possible that ancient grave robbers, entering tombs shortly after the pharaoh's death, may have been exposed to diseases, and thus died from their crimes. This indeed could very likely have lead to an ancient belief in the "mummy's curse". In fact, the ancient pharaohs went to great lengths to protect their tombs, and would have probably been happily inclined to help spread such beliefs.

Today, archaeologists wear protective gear when unwrapping mummies. In 1999, Gotthard Kramer, a German microbiologist from the University of Leipzip, suggested that there might be some truth to the mummies curse. Studying 40 different mummies, he identified several potentially dangerous mold spores. He believes that when tombs were first opened, fresh air could have disturbed these spores, blowing them into the air, and perhaps, creating health problems.


Various sources, esp:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A517114

http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/curse.htm

 
eggshaped
15953.  Wed Mar 09, 2005 5:12 am Reply with quote

Further to Gray's original post on this thread:

Quote:
A granite artwork blamed for bringing misfortunes of "biblical proportions" to a city has been saved.
Carlisle City Council rejected a proposal to destroy the stone, commissioned to mark the millennium.

Since the Cursing Stone was placed in Carlisle, the city has suffered floods, foot-and-mouth disease, job losses and a goal famine for the football team.

But council leader Mike Mitchelson said the decision proved the citizens of Carlisle were rational people.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cumbria/4331381.stm

But never fear "Isreali-spoon-bender" to the rescue:

Quote:
"I have offered to take the stone off their hands, put it in my garden and exorcise it," Geller told Reuters on Tuesday.


http://edition.cnn.com/2005/WORLD/europe/03/08/urigeller.curse.reut/

 
Gray
15958.  Wed Mar 09, 2005 6:31 am Reply with quote

Geller said
Quote:
"I believe the curse can be exorcised. I will use my pendulum and cleanse the stone of any evil forces."
What a foucault.

 
Gray
15961.  Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:04 am Reply with quote

The Hope Diamond also has a curse associated with it, although this seems equally unfounded (surprise!). It has had a fascinating 'life' though, passing through many famous hands.

 
eggshaped
15965.  Wed Mar 09, 2005 7:34 am Reply with quote

Kind of at a tangent, but I believe Uri is the chairman of Exeter City football club, who are in the Nationwide conference, and hence in direct competition with Carlisle United - so maybe he has some ulterior motive?!

One of Geller's first moves at Exeter was to make his close friend Michael Jackson an honorary director. And as such (don't take this as read as it comes from the murky depths of my memory) he gets free admission to any Nationwide Conference he wishes.

If memory serves me right, Jacko could turn up at leigh RMI, Accrington Stanley or Forest Green Rovers, and they would have to let him in and give him free sandwiches and a hot drink.

 
Gray
15967.  Wed Mar 09, 2005 8:00 am Reply with quote

Interesting goat-based curse on the Chicago Cubs not managing to make it into the Baseball World Series since 1945:
Quote:
Fans laughed when a Chicago tavern-keeper, Sam Sianis -- angered over his ejection from a '45 Series game [for bringing in his pet goat] -- pronounced in his broken English: "Never again will World Series be played in Wrigley Field." The laughter has died, as almost six decades have passed without the Cubs adding that elusive 17th pennant.

 
MatC
16137.  Tue Mar 15, 2005 10:54 am Reply with quote

Frome Town AFC had (not sure if it was a curse or just negative, like, vibes, dude) removed from their ground by a white witch in (I think; I could check if wanted) 2003 or 4. This season, they made the quarter finals of the FA Vase (is there also an FA Pot Pourri Pot?) - their biggest game since circa 1959.

 
eggshaped
16194.  Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:49 am Reply with quote

When Southampton built their new stadium, it was said that it was on an old pagan burial ground, and some bodies had to be exhumed before building could begin.

Also, some of the builders were Portsmouth fans and buried various items of Portsmouth memorabelia in the foundations in order to curse the club.

Whatever the reason, there were many people convinced that the ground was cursed when the Saints failed to win any of their first 5 games, and a white witch was brought in to exorcise any daemons.

Southampton duely won the next game against Charlton:

Quote:
Southampton were 1-0 up, the fans anxiously waiting for referee Dermot Gallagher's full-time whistle. Suddenly the ball broke on the edge of the box to Charlton defender, Steve Brown who, with the sweetest of volleys, had goalkeeper Paul Jones wrong-footed and a cruel equaliser seemed inevitable.

Yet amazingly the ball struck the foot of Jones' right-hand post. It kicked off the stanchion at an amazing angle, veered across the face of the goal and behind the sprawled body of Jones to completely bamboozle the Charlton forwards as it swerved away to safety.

Talk about the St Mary's curse, Pagan burial grounds, and evil spirits, but there was something pretty spooky about that one moment.

"When it came off the post you start believing in religion again," reflected manager Gordon Strachan,


Although Saints fans had their own theories:

Quote:
The tabloids blamed a "curse" on St Mary's, but that was rubbish. There were two reasons why we were losing games at home... 1) We were playing good teams. 2) We were playing crap.

 
Gray
16202.  Thu Mar 17, 2005 9:53 am Reply with quote

Quote:
2) We were playing crap.
Ah, they clearly need some psychic massage and/or aural re-alignment then.

 
eggshaped
17046.  Fri Apr 01, 2005 8:59 am Reply with quote

Im always sceptical of stories like these on April 1st, but the stats they quote are definitely correct, so Ive no reason to think this isnt true:

From Reuters in full:

Quote:
Fans of Romania's Arges Pitesti have staged a cat's funeral and burned a rooster on the pitch in a bid for good luck before Friday's match against Farul Constanta.

"Seven Arges Pitesti fans buried a dead cat behind a stadium stand and burned a rooster just in the middle of the field after they were sure that the arena was cursed," Pro Sport daily reported.

Arges Pitesti, with 19 points from 17 matches, lie 12th in the 16-team table. Farul Constanta are fourth with 30 points. The bottom three teams will be relegated at the end of the season.

The newspaper also said fans had tied red string to the goalposts but that their efforts had to be followed by players' gestures in order to attract good luck.

"We'll ask our players to wear their underwear inside out for the match against Farul Constanta," one fan said.

Other superstitions common in Romanian soccer include players putting basil in their boots the night before matches and the national team's bus never reverses when players are on board.

A female photographer was removed from a plane taking the national team to a match last year because it was thought a woman aboard a plane or in a bus would be unlucky.

 
Gray
17052.  Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:21 am Reply with quote

Fabulous. Good link to cats there, too.

 
eggshaped
17252.  Thu Apr 07, 2005 3:35 am Reply with quote

May your every wish be granted.
- - - Ancient Chinese Curse

May your left ear wither and fall into your right pocket.
- - - Arab Curse

May those that love us, love us;
and those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts;
and if He doesn't turn their hearts,
may He turn their ankles
so we'll know them by their limping.
- - - Old Irish Toast

May you wander over the face of the earth forever, never sleep twice in the same bed, never drink water twice from the same well, and never cross the same river twice in a year.
- - - Traditional Gypsy Curse

May the grass grow at your door and the fox build his nest on your hearthstone.
May the light fade from your eyes, so you never see what you love.
May your own blood rise against you, and the sweetest drink you take be the bitterest cup of sorrow.
May you die without benefit of clergy;
May there be none to shed a tear at your grave, and may the hearthstone of hell be your best bed forever.
- - - Traditional Wexford Curse

 

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