History's Five Most Famous Curses
The five most famous curses in history have devastated families, claimed scores of lives including President John F. Kennedy -- and even triggered a world war. These include the Hope Diamond, the treasure of King Tut, and the three dynasties -- the Romanovs, the Habsburgs and the Kennedys.
CURSE ON THE KENNEDYS
In the early 19th century, the forebearers of today's Kennedy clan were
well-to-do farmers in Ireland. In 1846 a great famine swept the country -
and when a desperate mother brought her starving child to the Kennedy's
farm for food, she was turned away.
The mother swore on her dying child's life that a curse would be visited
henceforth on the Kennedy family. It started quickly. The Kennedys were
evicted from their farm after a rent revolt. The 3rd son of the family,
Patrick, immigrated to the United States - but 10 years later he died,
penniless, from cholera. His son, John, also died.
Patrick's great-grandson, joe kennedy Jr., a pilot during World War 2 was
shot down and killed over England. His sister Kathleen's husband was killed
by a sniper's bullet in France -- and just four years later, in 1948,
Kathleen herself died in a plane crash in France.
In 1963 Joe's younger brother, President Kennedy, was assasinated in Dallas. in 1968, Bobby Kennedy was murdered -- and the following year tragedy struck brother Teddy when Mary Jo Kopechne drowned in his car at Chappaquiddick.
During the 17th century this blue 112.5 carat diamond was stolen from the eye of an idol in an Indian temple by a French trader, Jean-Baptiste Tavernier.
Tavernier ignored natives' warnings that their god would take revenge on
anyone who stole the diamond. He carried it back to France, where he sold it to King Louis XVI. The king had it cut into a heart shape -- and not only paid Tavernier a fortune but made him a baron.
But it did tavernier no good -- he lost his fortune, then died mysteriously
while traveling through Russia. The diamond passed down to Louis XVI, who
gave it to his wife Marie Antniette. A close friend of the Quees, Princess
de Lamballe, loved to borrow the diamond and wear it.
During the French Revolution, Louis XVI and Marie both were beheaded and the Princess was torn to pieces by an angry mob.
Subsequent owners of the Hope Diamond also were dogged by tragedy. A jeweler went bankrupt. Another jeweler killed himself and a third fell off a cliff.
A Russian nobleman was stabbed to death and a Persian gem dealer drowned at sea. Eventually the diamond was brought by US newspeper tycoon Edward B. McLean but soon afterwards his mother died and his 10 year old son was hit and killed by a car. In 1946 McLean's daughter died of an accidental overdose of sleeping pills and McLean himself ended his days in a mental hospital.
The Hope Diamond, which over the years has been cut down to 45.5 carats, is now on display at the Smithsonian institution.
Russia's Romanov dynasty were among the most cruel rulers in history.
Torturing and killing thousands. But in the 17th century, when Czar Michael's soldiers drowned a young boy in the Moscow River, the boy's mother placed a curse on the Czar and his family. The curse took immediate effect.
Three of the Czar's five sons died during childhood, a fourth was born
retarded and the fifth was disfigured from birth.
More horrors followed. A mob invaded the palace and threw Princh Michael out of an upper floor window onto spears. Another Prince, Ivan, was tortured to death by the mob. And during the Russian Revolution of 1917 the last of the Romanovs, Czar Nicholas II and his family, were slaughtered.
The curse of the Habsburg dynasty which ruled much of Europe over 900 years began in the 10th century. Count Habsburg raped a young girl, made her pregnant and threw her in the dungeon at his castle. She died giving birth to the child but not before putting a curse on the family.
The curse haunted the Habsburgs for hundreds of years. One count was fatally wounded by a wayward arrow while hunting. Another nobleman's boat overturned crossing a river and his heavy armor dragged him down, drowning him.
Other members were killed in wars, poisoned, murdered and struck down by mysterious diseases. In 1863 a Habsburg, Maximilian, went to Moscow and became emperor. Mexican rebels captured and executed him. His wife went mad.
But perhaps the worst tragedy to strike was the assasination of Archduke
Francis Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia - the event that
trigged Word War I.