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Curse - Origin of Misfortunes

Curse

Blessing is against the curse, one of the most common forms of ritual magic. From immemorial times, curses are considered to be at the origin of misfortunes. The formulations of curses are very varied, as well as the duration of action of the imprecation and the nature of the spell.

What is a curse?

Promises of misfortune, curses are widespread, and common language has incorporated many variants, which are sometimes a key element of style. The insults neglected today were formerly quite different in scope.

In medieval culture, it was considered that curses, whether intentionally or unconsciously, could have a tangible effect, and sometimes even serious repercussions. At this time, the use has continued to spread. While in ancient times, the ability to cast a curse on a person remained the prerogative of the wizards and witches, in the Middle Ages, it was thought that a curse uttered by a common man was enough to invoke the devil or his demons, always on the lookout for new souls. Illness, injury, accident or death could then be the end of a curse.

Traditions, such as fairy tales, perfectly illustrate the meaning and use of curses. Under the action of spells or bewitched objects, people undergo many changes or fall prey to a particular spell. And breaking the curse can sometimes take years. Tales constitute a privileged symbolic support for explaining the scope of a curse.

Usage and implications of a curse

From an occult point of view, the curse has nothing in common with a simple cursory carelessly uttered. It is a real magic ritual, consisting of a formula or a sentence, as well as a precise gesture or the transmission of an object associated with certain words. As a general rule, the movements that must accompany the curse are, however, described in a very general way, presumably with the intention of concealing from everyone's eyes that an imprecation is in progress. On the other hand, it is also possible that a curse becomes active when it has been pronounced at an uncontrolled time.

The preparations for imprecation depend on the intentions of the one who is at the origin. Some, with heavy consequences, require more advanced provisions or more unusual ingredients. Others, on the other hand, would act as soon as they are spontaneously pronounced. The repercussion of a curse is also based on the original intent of the curator. In certain cases, the person concerned must hear the curse pronounced by its author so that it takes effect.

As a general rule, the aim of a curse is to wish misfortune to the accursed person. Diseases, blows of fate or alterations of behavior, will or even memory. In the extreme, it aims at the death of the subject.

Evil eye

The "evil eye" is a form of specific curse and probably the most widespread. It does not require any particular ritual, the person with the evil eye having only to direct it towards his victim so that this one is immediately cursed. The nature of the evil eye is not precisely described, but seems to be an innate gift for the person with it. So the curse is, in most cases, thrown involuntarily.

In addition, some stories indicate that each look does not necessarily imply bad luck. It seems to intervene only in certain situations and would be triggered, for example, by a praise or a feeling of jealousy. No parry appears possible once one is a victim. Pope Pius IX was suspected of being the bearer of the evil eye, because many people and places blessed by his care suffered shortly after a strange spell.

Various techniques make it possible to protect oneself from the evil eye, such as rubbing with a special dye or wearing a mask. It is to this belief, moreover, that the executioners owe their hood. However, all these means have been questioned. The origins of this superstition are not fully defined, but nevertheless seem to come from the African continent.

The curses of antiquity

A curse is cast by a mere human being, but is based on magical and supernatural principles. The repercussions would not be homogeneous. In some cases, the curse would only last a few days, others would seem to act on several millennia.

The curse of Tutankhamun remains an example of the genre. In 1922, the British Howard Carter (1873-1939) discovered the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in the Valley of the Kings, a real archaeological event. The treasures enclosed by the various chambers surpass those of all the other tombs. Even the mummy and the sarcophagus are intact. A few weeks after the opening of the grave, Lord Carnavon, one of Carter's friends, died of a mosquito bite. The anxiety arose only over the following years, marked by the death of twelve people concerned by the excavation of the Egyptian burial. The journalists then speak of the "curse of the pharaoh" and a mysterious grip to which all members of the expedition would have been subjected. The presence of a particular fungus or bacterium in the grave has been advanced to kill possible looters. However, poisons and supernatural forces have also been mentioned.

Howard Carter and his archaeologists severely criticize this type of sensational journalism and call these articles "stupid chatter". Since each death could have been explained rationally, the "curse of the pharaoh" would have no basis.

Some time later Edgard Wallace, writer of crime novels, wrote an article in the Berliner Illustrierte, where he reported that the mummies of the pharaohs who had offended the gods brought misfortune. In a haughty way, he tried to shed a mysterious light on the death of each member of the expedition and to highlight the so-called imprudence of the archaeologists. Howard Carter did not react to this article.

Although the curse of the pharaoh reappears from time to time in the tabloids, several research suggests that burial chambers could not have been a favorable environment, during millennia, for the development of viruses, bacteria and fungi. These so-called unexplained deaths would be mere coincidences, and the curse of the Pharaoh nothing more than an invention born of the unbridled imagination of some journalists.

Effective curses?

Even though Tutankhamun's curse seems to be a pure journalistic invention, there are many descriptions of places or objects that seem truly accursed. Such stories of curses are the fabric of many ghost stories. It is, of course, impossible to formally pronounce on the veracity of these narrations, as well as on the effect and duration of an imprecation.