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 be 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 come hand-in-hand with a high susceptibility to curses.
Certain major families have suffered from countless mysterious losses, horrifying coincidences, and some of the poorest 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 psychiatric issues – even going so far as undergoing a lobotomy – 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 targeted 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 names in Genoa, eventually becoming the foundation and royal family of Monaco by the end of the 12th century. In the 13th century, however, a witch supposedly cursed the Grimaldi name. The curse was recompense for a brutal crime committed by Lord Rainier I – a young girl whom he raped 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 Princess Grace passed in a 1982 car crash. Her daughter, who survived the incident, endured one failed marriage and several other failed relationships later in life.
In 1958, Jack Adkisson joined an organization called Klondike Wrestling and created his alter ego, Fritz Von Erich. The Von Erich family curse began a year later in 1959, when Jack's young son was lost in an electrical accident.
Jack's remaining sons went on to become successful wrestlers, though they, too, suffered unfortuante fates: David Von Erich succumbed to acute enteritis of the upper intestine at 26; Mike Von Erich, after sustaining damage to his shoulder in 1985 and contracted toxic shock syndrome just days after receiving surgery, 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. He shot himself in the heart in 1993. The youngest son, Chris Von Erich, dealt with numerous health issues which ultimately overwhelmed him: he, too, ended his own life in 1991. Six years later, Jack Von Erich succumbed to cancer of the brain and lungs.
Kevin Von Erich is the only surviving member of the curse-plagued family.
Gorakhnath was a yogi in the 11th century who supposedly possessed supernatural powers. He protected Gorkha, the city 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 the yogi in the forest and offered him some food. The yogi accepted the food, chewed it up, and spit it out. Gorakhnath instructed the king to eat it, but he refused. The yogi stated the king's disrespect meant his kingdom would fall after ten generations.
In 2001, Prince Dipendra of the royal family slaughtered his parents and seven other people before turning his gun upon himself. Dipendra was crowned king by default while in a coma, but soon passed. As the tenth generation of the royal family, Dipendra's death marked an eerie manifestation of Gorakhnath's curse.