ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Cursed items run riot in folklore and horror movies, and it should come as no surprise that they haven't lost any of their appeal or mystique in the modern age.

Whereas the spirits of ghost stories are elusive, more often than not, unseen, these accursed objects can be looked upon by anybody who chooses the make the pilgrimage to see them.

Not everybody who lays eyes on these haunted relics will have a hair-raising experience, but the knowledge that hundreds of others have, make them undeniably powerful objects due to their history.

So, let's light the candles and peer into the shadowy display cases that house these curiosities to see which one you find the most eerie:

7. Ötzi The Ice Man

I always knew that Ötzi the Ice Man was cursed from the moment my parents let me stay up late to watch an education documentary about him, and it prevented me from sleeping for weeks!

The ice mummy, who is believed to have lived around 3,300 BCE and died a violent death via an arrow wound and exposure, was discovered in 1991 and since then people linked to Ötzi have died in unexpected and often violent circumstances.

So far, seven deaths have been tied to Ötzi's disinterment from his ice prison. To give two examples, Helmut Simon, the hiker who discovered Ötzi, died after plunging off an unmarked mountain pass and forensic pathologist Rainer Henn was killed in a car accident en route to give a speech about the Ice Man.

Other causes of death attributed to the mummy's curse include avalanche, brain tumors and blood diseases, although a lot of them happened years after Ötzi's discovery and deaths have not occurred at an unexpected ratio considering the ages of the people who have worked alongside the Ice Man.

6. Anna Baker's Wedding Dress

Anna Baker's wedding dress never got to dance on its big day, so now it dances in its display cabinet instead.

Rumor has it that Baker, the daughter of a wealthy local ironmaster, fell in love with a working class steel worker, but was forbidden to marry him because he was too low status.

Baker had already bought the dress for her ceremony, but it was never used and she died a bitter and angry old maid who never married to spite her parents who prevented her from being with her true love.

Staff in the museum where the dress is kept claim that it occasionally appears to dance all by itself with the sleeves fluttering and the skirt swishing, despite the fact that it is kept in a sealed cabinet.

There is some dispute behind whether the legend of Anna Baker's ill fated marriage is true, but the dress has now been moved into storage so none of us will ever be able to see it performing it's lonely first dance.

5. The Myrtles Plantation Mirror

The Myrtles has a reputation for being the most haunted plantation in the south, and this rather beautiful, stately mirror is the most haunted item in the entire estate.

Legend has it that the spirits of Sara Bradford Woodruff, one of the plantation’s ladies, and two of her three children were trapped inside the mirror after a servant failed to cover it up during the mourning period.

What is the evidence for this? Marks that cannot be cleaned off the mirror often appear on its surface, but sometimes they just so happen to be tiny children's hand prints. I shudder.

4. The Basano Vase

The Basano Vase probably originated in Italy in the 1500s, but it only really started causing trouble when it was dug up in 1988 with a note that said "Beware…This vase brings death."

Unfortunately, the person who unearthed the vase decided to sell it on to an auction house without the threatening note, and then people started to die.

The pharmacist who bought it died within three months and three more new owners bit the dust afterwards. Eventually the Basano Vase was taken away by the police after a family who brought it learned of the curse and were desperate to be free of it. Rumor has it that the vase was buried in a undisclosed location, never to be seen again.

3. The Anguished Man

The Anguished Man is reportedly a haunted painting, not that you would ever be able to tell by looking at it!

Sean Robinson from England inherited the terrifying work of art from his Grandmother who kept it in her attic and claimed that the painting was cursed by the artist, who had killed himself shortly after completing it.

The painting reportedly causes black shadowy figures to appear wherever it goes, and both Robinson's father and his son have fallen down the 'stairs' in its presence.

Robinson has been working with British spiritual investigators to try and learn more about the haunted painting, and some chilling things have happened when he has taken The Anguished Man to other haunted spots. For example, when he went to Chillingham Castle for a seance, the following events reportedly occurred:

The room went icy cold when a large, dark figure appeared in the middle of the séance circle. A large wooden bench banged on the floor of its own accord in response to John Blackburn's questions to the painting, then suddenly the bench was flipped upside-down violently by what was believed to be John Sage, one of Chillingham Castle's resident powerful spirits, who we think was showing his anger to a foreign, uninvited spirit to his castle.

Even if it isn't haunted, I wouldn't want that paining anywhere near me. Ever.

2. Annabelle

Anyone with even a casual interest in horror movies will have heard of the demon doll named Annabelle, but her real-life inspiration is even more terrifying.

This raggedy Ann doll was purchased from a thrift store in the '70s and went on to make two nursing students' lives absolutely terrifying. Annabelle would move around when the girls were out, leave notes asking for help and once was even found with blood on her.

When the shaken girls called in paranormal experts Lorraine and Ed Warren, they learned more about the spirit within the doll. Although it initially claimed to be a young girl named Annabelle who died when she was seven, the Warrens soon realized it was lying and that the doll was possessed by a demon.

An exorcism seemed to sort Annabelle out, but just to be sure, the Warrens kept her in a glass case to prevent the doll being able to get up to her sinister old tricks.

1. The Chair of Death

Thomas Busby was an English drunk who sealed his fate when he murdered his father-in-law in 1702. For his crimes he was gibbeted (hung in chains alive until he died and left as a deterrent for other criminals), but rumor has it he didn't leave this earth completely.

A chair that overlooked his execution site (or his favorite chair in life, depending on which version of the legend you hear) reportedly kills everyone unwise enough to sit in it.

During World War II, airmen from a nearby base frequented the pub that owned the accursed chair, and locals noticed that the soldiers who sat in the chair would never return from war. It wasn't just men going to war who died though.

In 1967, two Royal Air Force pilots sat in the chair, only to die in a car crash shortly afterwards. In 1970 a mason perched himself on Busby's chair only to die that very same afternoon by falling into a hole. The following year, a roofer who sat on the chair died when the roof he was fixing caved in. The pub's cleaning lady also fell into the chair and died shortly afterward of an undiagnosed brain tumor.

Needless to say, the owners of the pub and the chair began to get a bit freaked out by the object and the Busby chair now resides in the local museum and is nailed to the wall so nobody can sit on it.

(Source: Mental Floss, Bustle, About Paranormal and Oddee)


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