Legends of curses have permeated practically every culture throughout history. For example, many curses from Ancient Egypt threaten tragedy and destruction - and on occasion, these threats seem to have been fulfilled. Within the realms of modern history, many believe curses also affect some of the world's most prominent families. Judging by these cases, fame and money appear to go hand-in-hand with a high susceptibility to curses.
Certain major families have suffered from countless mysterious losses, horrifying coincidences, and some of the worst luck ever documented. Is something actually plaguing these families, or are all these instances the result of coincidence? Read through the best-known examples of famous family curses to judge for yourself.
The Kennedy Curse is one of the most documented cases of a family curse. Heartache and tragedy span through generations of the Kennedy family tree. In the late 1940s, Joseph Kennedy Jr. and Kathleen Kennedy Cavendish both perished in plane crashes. Rosemary Kennedy struggled for years with developmental issues - leading to a tragic lobotomy that only made things worse - before passing in 2005.
John F. Kennedy was supposed to turn the family’s luck around, and most were optimistic when he became president; however, his presidency ended in catastrophe when Lee Harvey Oswald fatally shot him in 1963. Five years after JFK’s assassination, a lone gunman named Sirhan Sirhan murdered his younger brother, Robert Kennedy, in Los Angeles.
Two of Robert Kennedy’s children perished in tragic incidents, one in the '80s of a drug overdose and another in the '90s in a skiing mishap. Additionally, in 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr. - JFK's son - lost his life alongside his wife and sister-in-law in a plane crash.
Grimaldi was once one of the most powerful families in Genoa, eventually becoming lords of Monaco in the 15th century. In the 13th century, however, a witch supposedly cursed the Grimaldi name as recompense for a vicious act committed by Lord Rainier I. According to the legend, he raped a young girl, and she later learned the ways of witchcraft. She used her knowledge of the dark arts to ensure no Grimaldi would ever find happiness in marriage.
This curse may have manifested into something far more sinister, considering that Princess Grace, the wife of Prince Rainier II, passed in a 1982 car crash. Her daughter Stephanie, who survived the incident, endured one failed marriage and several other failed relationships later in life. Grace's other daughter, Caroline, also had a tumultuous love life, with an early divorce, a second husband who died in a speedboat accident, and a third husband (a prince) with a reputation for aggression and medical problems.
In the 1950s, wrestler Jack Adkisson created his sinister alter ego, Fritz Von Erich, and began what would become a successful career in the sport. The Von Erich family curse began during this time, in 1959, when Jack's six-year-old son was lost in a bizarre electrical accident: knocked unconscious by a short circuit in his family's trailer park, he fell into a puddle and drowned.
Jack's remaining sons went on to become successful wrestlers, though they, too, suffered unfortunate fates: David Von Erich died suddenly in 1984 at age 26 during a wrestling tour in Japan, reportedly from acute enteritis of the upper intestine, though he was rumored to have mixed alcohol with a bottle of sleeping pills; Mike Von Erich, after shoulder surgery in 1985, contracted toxic shock syndrome, which he narrowly survived. He suffered from an altered mental state and sunk into poor mental health. He ended his own life in 1987 at the age of 23.
In 1986, Kerry Von Erich was wounded in a motorcycle incident that led to the eventual amputation of his foot. After struggling with pain and drug addiction for years, he took his life in 1993 at age 33. The youngest son, Chris Von Erich, dealt with numerous health issues which ultimately overwhelmed him: he, too, ended his own life at age 22 in 1991. Six years later, Jack Von Erich succumbed to cancer of the brain and lungs.
Doris, their mother, passed at age 82 in 2015. Kevin Von Erich is the only surviving member of the family.
In 2001, Prince Dipendra of the royal family of Nepal shot his parents and eight other people before turning his gun on himself. Dipendra was crowned king by default while in a coma, but soon passed. As the 10th generation of the royal family, Dipendra's death marked an eerie manifestation of Gorakhnath's curse.
Gorakhnath was a yogi in the 11th century who supposedly possessed supernatural powers. He protected Gorkha, the kingdom from which King Gyanendra's forefathers originated.
Legend claims that the first king of a unified Nepal, Prithvi Narayan Shah, once came into contact with a holy man who offered him some food that he refused. The king's disrespect caused the holy man to curse Shah, telling him his line would fall after 10 generations.