Great Bed of Ware (1590-1600 (made) - 1600) by Vredeman de Vries, HansThe Victoria and Albert Museum
The Great Bed of Ware
Supposedly made for King Edward IV in the 15th century, the Great Bed of Ware is not a great place for a peaceful night’s sleep. Although painstakingly carved for a royal occupant, the bed spent centuries being passed between the inns of Wear. Over the years, commoners who slept in the bed covered it in graffiti and damaged the fine carvings, leaving the frame looking battered and worn.
According to legend, carpenter Jonas Fosbrooke, who made the bed for the king, was so enraged by the disrespectful treatment of his work that his ghost attacks any commoner who dares to sleep in it. Luckily for those of us not of royal blood, the bed is currently safely on display in the V&A in London.
Hope Diamond Hope Diamond by Cartier, Inc.Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
The Hope Diamond
One of the most famous diamonds in the world, the Hope Diamond originated in the Kollur Mine in Andhra Pradesh, India. According to legend, the stone is cursed and brings misfortune to anyone who owns it. The curse is said to have come about when the original diamond was stolen from the eye of a statue.
The thief met a grisly end, kickstarting a pattern of misfortune for all who possessed the diamond. Over the years, owners of the Hope Diamond have befallen fates including death by murder, execution and suicide, bankruptcy and imprisonment. Thankfully, the curse seems to have lifted when the diamond was donated to the Smithsonian in 1958.
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor (2008) by Zhang Weikang Zhang Yan Yang Lidong Zhang YongkangThe Sand Museum
The Terracotta Army
The Terracotta Army was discovered by local farmers in Xi’an, China, in 1974. The army is an extravagant piece of funeral art that was buried with Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, in around 210 BCE. Altogether, the army contains 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses.
The village that the farmers were from believed that disturbing the army would bring misfortune. Unluckily for them, their belief in a curse was well-founded as their 2,000-year-old village was soon pulled down to make way for an enormous museum.
The Unlucky Mummy (-950/-950)British Museum
The Unlucky Mummy
The Unlucky Mummy isn’t actually a mummy but the mummy board, or coffin lid, of a high status woman who lived in around 950-900 BCE. Discovered in Thebes in the 1800s, the four young Englishmen who first purchased the mummy all died in unfortunate circumstances.
Rumors of the curse soon spread and, in the early 20th century, journalist William Thomas Stead wrote an article on the jinxed artefact. Stead went on to be one of the passengers on the doomed Titanic. It’s said that he told stories of the curse in the run up to the disaster, with many believing that the mummy itself caused the ship’s watery end. Today, the Unlucky Mummy is on display in the British Museum.
Sea Wrec Titanic (1910/1920)LIFE Photo Collection