Many today still refuse to let a black cat cross their path, and even if killing a ladybug is considered highly unlucky, most believe it’s not very nice to begin with. Whether they increase a person’s luck or take it away abruptly, there are still countless superstitions floating in the spirit of the times. Although nowadays, bad luck superstitions like these are often considered fun little games. However, some claim to know of terrible curses that must be avoided with religious fervor, or omens that allude to something dark and horrible in the near future.
Such curses persist even into contemporary times, and like the legends about black cats and rabbit’s feet, many of these curses are related to animals. In fact, all over the world, stories are told of animals predicting someone’s death or perhaps the end of a sports team’s winning streak. The breadth of severity of these curses varies. Either way, curses and omens adjacent to the animal kingdom pop up everywhere, and this list will cover ten of them.
Related: 10 Creepiest Cursed And Haunted Objects
10 the vulture with bell
When a scavenger bird takes flight with a bell tied around its neck, disaster is also in the air. Or at least that’s what people living in the Appalachian and Ozark mountains believed in the 19th century. While the sight of a vulture with a bell seems a bit exaggerated to be considered a regular occurrence, it turns out that a woman in Arkansas actually tried to raise turkey vultures as pets, gave up, and released them back into the wilderness after tying up. rattles to his legs, creating a basis for the legend.
But why would these bell vultures be considered a bad omen in the first place? The noisy birds were sometimes sighted before particularly dramatic events, such as an outbreak of typhoid fever in Tennessee in 1878 and a tornado in South Carolina in 1877. Although released turkey vultures wouldn’t necessarily last more than a few decades, after At one time, the mere sound of an errant bell was enough for people to claim that a bell-tipped vulture was nearby. The legend spread from Arkansas to Georgia and Delaware, lasting until the mid-20th century.
9 Peacock feathers and theater
When it comes to theater superstitions, most people know that saying “break a leg” is infinitely luckier than saying “good luck.” Still, fewer people know about pavo cristatus propensity to ruin a show. In fact, peacocks are linked to bad theatrical omens, and gifting a performer with a peacock feather before a show is a surefire way to ruin the show, according to paranoid actors.
When it comes to the performing arts, the legend seems to relate to feathers being added to costumes or carried on stage, a sign of bad luck. This is probably because peacock feathers have long been associated with the evil eye, a superstition that comes from the western part of the Mediterranean. Peacock feathers were also considered tools for mystical seers, allowing them to spy on anyone who accepted the Trojan Horse avian trophy into their homes, so perhaps these cursed attributes were simply distilled over time to mainly deal with with the ruin of a work.
8 The Aye-Aye: Herald of Death
Found only on the African island of Madagascar, the aye-aye is a rare, big-eyed, long-fingered primate that is more closely related to chimpanzees and humans than it is to the lemurs associated with the island. The aye-aye is also the harbinger of death, according to people living in Madagascar. The main basis of the reputation of such a cursed creature comes from the fact that the aye-aye is not afraid of humans and will often approach people, completely not embarrassed by its jarring appearance.
And indeed, some variations of the legend imply that the aye-aye takes on a more active role than merely a vessel for curses, as some people believe the primate uses its long fingers to pierce people’s hearts while they sleep. Unfortunately, this has led to the aye-aye being routinely hunted. Considering that the primate also has to compete with deforestation and ecological destruction, the aye-aye is highly threatened.
7 The killing of an albatross
Very few occupations can boast the myriad of superstitions involved in their work like sailors can. Legends and curses are perpetually intertwined with naval life. Based on the popularity of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1798 poem, “An Old Mariner’s Lay,” the omens that befell anyone on deck who killed an albatross were some of the most feared among sailors.
The albatross is an intriguing bird because of its ability to fly long distances without flapping its wings. In contemporary times, some birds have been reported to have flown over 10,000 ocean miles without expending energy. In older times, this led to the albatross possessing an almost supernatural quality, which would quickly turn into a curse if someone were to kill the creature. However, as Coleridge’s poem exemplifies, a sailor can avoid a bad fate at sea if he wears the albatross around his neck.
6 Kodoku: The Curse of Poison
While some of the curses on this list are superstitions that should be actively avoided, the following curse actually comes with a recipe that one can try at home. And it involves a horrible amount of bugs. Known as “Gu” in China and “Kodoku” in Japan, this curse comes in the form of a literal poison. Sorceresses, also sometimes referred to as “Gu” or “Kodoku”, would poison the men they could seduce, and the only antidote would come from the man’s actual lover, bestowed only if she still loved the husband. her.
However, creating a kodoku is not an easy task. The curse is formed when a jar is filled with all sorts of poisonous creatures: snakes, centipedes, spiders, and scorpions are the main contenders. The sealed vial is kept closed until only one of the creatures within, apparently with the most potent poison, survives. The use of cursed poison has been recorded throughout Asian history, dating back to 610 AD.
5 Owls: omen of witches
Owls are often seen as a conduit for wisdom, but in East Africa, in countries from Zimbabwe to South Africa, these nocturnal raptors have a more sinister reputation. Some superstitions state that death is imminent when an owl lands on the roof of an elderly person. Some go further to claim that these owls are also messengers for witches or even the means by which a witch’s curse is transferred to an unsuspecting victim.
With such a sinister reputation, many owls often die on sight or are poisoned if a nest is discovered. However, green movements have been launched to erase the cursed reputation of birds of prey due to their significant impact on the environment as key predators. Five species of owls live in the region to this day, and fortunately the public has grown sufficiently accepting of these birds to avoid danger.
4 Death Guard Scarab Patter
The beetle with the Latin name Xestobium rufovillosum he has the curious habit of banging his head against the wood around his well to attract a mate. This often creates a noise loud enough for people to pick up. However, this thumping noise was also interpreted as imminent death of a person, and the thump was thought to be the tapping of the grim reaper’s bony fingers. Ergo, the more popular name for this European beetle is the deathwatch beetle.
The omens surrounding the mere mating ritual of this beetle stem from deathwatch lore. Before people at the end of their lives had the luxury of a hospital, the person’s family would generally care for them day and night until the time of their passing. Naturally, this created a hushed and reverent atmosphere until the wood-boring deathwatch beetle began making its thumping noise, leading people to assume that death was near.
3 Witchcraft and black cats
While the contemporary interpretation of the bad luck of witnessing a black-furred feline seems a bit indifferent, the origins behind the black cat’s reputation are a bit more dramatic. The story begins with Hecate, the Greek deity of witchcraft. Hecate was said to have a black cat as a familiar, and in 1233, Pope Gregory IX made matters worse for these dark-colored felines by declaring that they were also familiar to Satan.
In time, medieval Europe would be plagued by countless bloody and unfair witch hunts, and the proximity of black cats to sorcery also led to a bad fate for the felines. Sightings of a black cat often indicated that a witch lived nearby. While superstitious people took cats as a bad omen, they were an even worse omen for any woman living on the fringes of society, who would soon be judged a witch. The witchcraft association would persist throughout Europe until the 19th century and even cross over to the Americas.
2 Ravens at the Tower of London
Many English people claim that the Kingdom of England would fall for fear of a raven being left in the Tower of London. And unlike most superstitions throughout history, this one is rigorously held to this day. Although the origins of this curse are a bit dubious, it is speculated that it began in the mid-17th century, when an anonymous seer warned King Charles II that the crows that nested in the Royal Observatory must remain forever to be sure. the safety of England.
For the next four centuries, six ravens would always be kept in the Tower. The Ravenmaster is a prestigious position established by the crown to perpetually raise and care for birds. This task was originally the job of the Yeoman Quartermaster, but it changed after World War II. It eventually became a Ravenmaster in 1968, and he still has the responsibility today. The Ravenmaster also deals with the clipping of the birds’ wings, which diminishes their ability to fly, which is often criticized as being too superstitious at the expense of the ravens’ freedom.
1 The Curse of the Billy Goat
While some of the curses and omens on this list involve gruesome fates of death and badass, none are quite as treacherous as the fate that brought the Chicago Cubs baseball team into the hands of a cunning, evil goat. The “curse of the billy goat” is a staple of Chicago folklore, and it all started in 1945. A tavern owner named William Sianis bought tickets to see the Cubs for himself and his pet goat, Murphy.
The Cubs had had prolific success in the decades before, winning a dozen National League pennants and a few World Series titles. So, naturally, Sianis was eager to show his beloved mascot his hometown team at a World Series game. However, at the gate, Murphy was tragically denied entry to the stadium on the merit of being a goat. As a result, Sianis maliciously uttered a curse, stating that “The Cubs? They won’t win anymore.” Despite prolific use of holy water, the allocation of goats at games, and many other measures, the Cubs would not win a World Series until 2016.
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