Graveyard Shift
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Scientists Found A Perfectly Preserved Ice Corpse - And Then, One By One, They Died

Updated February 27, 2020 177.4k views12 items

The story of Ötzi the Iceman is more than a little creepy. On September 19, 1991, German tourists Helmut and Erika Simon took a hike off the beaten path in the Alps on the Austrian-Italian border. There, they made a gruesome discovery: the body of a man frozen in the ice who they assumed had recently died. The truth was much more bizarre. The body that came to be known as Ötzi likely met his demise between 3239 and 3105 BCE.

The mummified remains were stunningly well preserved, and the Ötzi Iceman discovery led to a legal fight between Austria and Italy. The valuable find promised to shed light on humans' distant past, and everyone wanted their chance to spend more time with Ötzi. But that was before mysterious accidents and deaths began befalling those who came into contact with him. Despite everything that the Iceman offers to the fields of science and anthropology, people who have fallen victim to the Ötzi Iceman curse probably wished he was still frozen on that mountain.

The debate over whether or not the Ötzi curse is real continues. On the one hand, there are a lot of odd circumstances surrounding the mummified remains that seem to support the theory of a real-life curse. However, it's also definitely possible that all of the strange incidents are nothing more than coincidences. No matter which side of the argument you fall on, it's fascinating to consider that an ancient Iceman could somehow be linked to a modern-day curse and numerous tragedies.

  • Ötzi Was Slain And May Be Seeking Revenge

    Photo: Thilo Parg / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    One of the many debates that Ötzi's mummified remains have sparked is how he perished. Researchers at the South Tyrol Museum of Archeology in Italy found evidence that Ötzi was murdered. If the museum staff is correct, he would have bled out in a matter of minutes after being hit with an arrow in his subclavian artery. Modern research techniques have also made it clear that Ötzi had head trauma when he passed.

    Could the supposed curse be caused by Ötzi's need for revenge for his untimely end?

  • Ötzi's Excavation Took Four Long Days

    Ötzi was discovered on September 19, 1991, but weather conditions prevented the excavation team from completing their task until September 23. The Iceman had spent thousands of years frozen, so four extra days weren't exactly major. However, his remains were no longer at rest; he was poked, prodded, and photographed before he was finally prised from the ice.

    If the Ötzi Iceman curse is real, could part of the issue be that it took so long to uncover his remains? Or would the problem actually have started by removing him from his final resting place?

  • Rainer Henn Died In A Car Crash While Headed To Give A Speech About Ötzi

    Rainer Henn had the honor of placing Ötzi's frozen remains into a body bag. Did this act ultimately cost him his life?

    In 1992, Rainer was traveling to a convention where he planned to talk about Ötzi. Tragically, he got into a deadly accident and never reached his destination. This happened one year after Ötzi was uncovered, making Rainer the first potential victim of the Iceman's curse.

  • Kurt Fritz Died In An Avalanche

    Kurt Fritz took his place in history by leading researchers to Ötzi's body. He also organized the transportation of the ancient man's remains. An avalanche ended up claiming his life in 1993 when he was 52.

    Fritz was the only member of his expedition group who died during the avalanche. This could be nothing more than a mere coincidence, but it definitely seems odd, especially considering the fact that he was an experienced guide.