The Curse of the Corinth Canal
Curses and ill-fated prophecies are usually reserved for Biblical stories and tomb raiders, but the plans and construction of the Corinth Canal seems to have been cursed from the start. The ancient Greek philosopher Apollonius of Tyana (15-100 CE) prophesied that ill would befall anyone who proposed to dig a Corinthian canal and, unfortunately, he was right.
Three Roman rulers considered the idea but all suffered violent deaths. The Roman dictator Julius Caesar considered digging a canal through the isthmus but was assassinated before he could commence the project. Next, Caligula had interest in the idea but got no further as he too was assassinated. Finally emperor Nero was the first to actually attempt to construct the canal, personally breaking the ground with a pickaxe in 67 CE, but the project was abandoned when he died shortly afterwards.
The idea of the canal was revived after Greece gained formal independence from the Ottoman Empire in the early 1800s but it continued to prove too costly. However, even its completion in 1893, financial and operational difficulties continued for decades. Disruption caused by the First and Second World Wars produced further problems as did the heavily faulted unstable nature of the sedimentary rock along the canal’s walls.
Although the Corinth Canal saves traveler 700 kilometers (430 mile) by cutting through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, it is too narrow for modern ocean freighters and is now used mainly for tourist traffic.
The Historic and Haunted Ghost Town of Bodie
The old mining town of Bodie, California is America’s best preserved ghost town. Dating back to 1859, Bodie is literally frozen in time and looked after as an historic park. The town is both authentic and mysterious, with original fixtures, furniture, and personal items in the buildings left untouched since their residents abandoned them.
Bodie abounds with legends of the paranormal, but none more famous than the haunted Cain residence. The man of the house had an affair with their maid. After being publicly disgraced, the unfortunate maid took her own life and reportedly haunts the house.
The Cain house is open to the public and has provided accommodation for park rangers. People have reported ghostly apparitions and strange music. Staying overnight in the house, park rangers and their wives have experienced paranormal events such as hearing strange noises, being paralyzed in bed, and seeing items move by themselves.
The most frightening legend of Bodie is a mysterious curse that follows many visitors after they leave the town. Allegedly, Bodie’s ghosts serve as guardians to the town’s property, casting bad luck and misfortune to souvenir hunters who take anything with them.
Each month, Bodie’s park rangers receive objects and letters from people who admit to taking items and beg the rangers to put them back. The letters tell tales of horrible incidents such as mysterious illnesses, car accidents, and even death. The rangers frequently speak of these accounts and assure the senders that the objects are always returned to their original places.
The Haunted Tomb of Captain Buck
In the town of Bucksport, Maine, there stands a cursed memorial where Captain Buck is buried. The tomb of the town’s founder, Colonel Jonathan Buck, features a mysterious stain — the image of a woman’s stocking foot or boot. The leg stain on the memorial, according to legend, came about when Colonel Buck burned a witch and her leg rolled out of the bonfire. Apparently before she died, she cursed at Buck that he would always bear the mark of his horrible deed. His heirs tried to clean the foot off the stone and are said to have replaced the monument twice but the foot kept coming back.
The legend of the Mysterious Tomb of Bucksport varies depending on who tells it. In one version, instead of burning her, he had her hanged. In another, she wasn’t a witch at all, just unfortunate enough to be pregnant with his child, and the witch execution was an easy fix to his inconvenient problem.
The legend grew over the centuries, fully forming as a tourist attraction when locals started selling postcards. Tourists started pouring into town to see the ghostly smudge. The town, recognizing a good thing, upgraded the Cursed Tomb experience in recent years. There is a little parking area next to the cemetery, and a wheelchair-friendly concrete ramp leading up to the cursed monument. You can photograph it through a wrought iron fence.
The Curse of the Hope Diamond
Throughout history, diamonds have signified many things to many cultures, from wealth, power and love to mystical God-like powers. But one stone’s global fame and mystique has surpassed all others: the legendary Hope Diamond.
This 45-carat, deep blue gemstone is the most valuable diamond in the world, and the most coveted and mysterious. It has been at The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, in Washington DC, for over 50 years.
Allegedly a curse to all that own it, the diamond’s bizarre properties have mystified scientists for decades and its sinister reputation as a ‘hoodoo gem’ has spawned thousands of paparazzi headlines.
The diamond’s “curse” has believed to either leave its owner and their family dead or in equally grave circumstances. The last owner to actually wear the diamond was a Mrs. Evalyn McLean, pictured above. With the Hope in her possession, her young son died in a car crash, her daughter had committed suicide at the age of 25, Evalyn herself became addicted to morphine and her husband was declared legally insane, committed until his death. From there it went to Harry Winston, who quickly donated the diamond to the Smithsonian.
Not only is the Hope Diamond an object of spectacular provenance, science has declared it a geological anomaly. Under ultraviolet light, the diamond glows an eerie deep blood red.
To some, this provides compelling evidence of a supernatural force but for a group of expert scientists, it inspired a major pioneering investigation which has shown that most all blue diamonds show read and green peaks in their phosphorescence spectrum.
However scientific investigations cannot explain the mysterious and deadly events that have besieged the Hope Diamond’s previous owners. Even science has its limits.
The Haunted Ghost Town of Bodie
The old mining settlement at Bodie in California is America’s best preserved ghost town. Dating back to 1859, Bodie is frozen in a state of “arrested decay”, looked after as a historic park but not restored to its original condition. This makes the town both authentic and mysterious, with original fixtures, furniture, and personal items in the buildings left untouched since their occupants deserted them.
Bodie abounds with legends of the paranormal, but none more famous than the haunted Cain residence. Jim Cain was a local businessman who prospered from bringing lumber to Bodie. Buildings were constructed from and heated by wood, and the mills burned vast amounts of it in their steam-driven engines, fattening Mr Cain’s wallet.
Rumors spread that Cain and his maid were having an affair, and the maid was promptly fired by Cain’s wife. Publicly disgraced, the unfortunate maid was unable to find work and took her own life. It’s reported that the maid’s ghost haunts the Cain house.
Over the years, the house has provided accommodation for park rangers and has also been open to the public. People have reported ghostly apparitions in an upstairs bedroom, while others have heard music coming from the same room. Staying in the house, the wife of a park ranger was lying in her bed and felt a strong pressure on her and was unable to move. Another ranger who had lived there had the same experience combined with the door flying open by itself and feeling of suffocation in the same room.
The Curse of Bodie
One of the most bizarre stories associated with Bodie is a mysterious curse that has been cast on multiple visitors to the town. Allegedly, the ghosts of the residents serve as guardians of the town’s property, bringing bad luck and misfortune to souvenir hunters who take anything with them when they leave.
Each month, park rangers receive objects and letters in the mail from people who admit to taking items from the town and beg the rangers to put them back. The letters also tell tales of horrible incidents such as mysterious illnesses, car accidents, and even death. The rangers have been on television specials about Bodie, speaking of the accounts, and assuring the senders that the objects are always returned to their original places as requested.
The Curse of the “Crying Boy” Painting
This is the story of the Crying Boy or, more specifically, The Portrait of the Crying Boy. According to legend, a fire gutted a home in 1985 destroying everything inside with one strange exception… pulled from the wreckage was an odd painting of a crying child. The painting was uncharred and completely undamaged aside from a little soot. As the story goes, the painting passed hands and, in 1988, there was another fire in the home of the new owners and, again, the sole surviving artifact was the painting of the crying boy.
The myth says that the painting of the crying boy was found in the remains of several homes gutted by fire. One woman even said that she only had the painting for six months before her home was destroyed.
Whatever the case… fact or fiction… there is one fact that is both insidious and comical at the same time. When a retiring Yorkshire Fireman was given a framed copy of the painting as a going away gift, he politely refused it.