Before there were modern-day conveniences like haunted phone numbers and sinister Kleenex commercials, people had to settle for plain old damn books. You never knew what genre they were lurking in – there were obvious possibilities, like grimoires and other magical texts, but stories of curses were also added to novels, encyclopedias, historiographies, and even poetry collections.
But given their relative scarcity, your chances of avoiding haunted books are pretty good. Back in 2010, Google estimated that 130 million unique books had been published so far, and that number has grown significantly in the last 12 years. But when the author J.W. Ocker was compiling his 2020 book Cursed Objects, struggling to find books that were cursed enough to succeed. “One of my criteria for determining a haunted object of any kind for my book was: Is there a body number?” Ocker tells Mental Floss. “And I don’t think I’ve ever come across the haunted book she had.”
The second problem, Ocker says, is that when we talk about haunted books, what we describe is usually not a curse in the traditional sense of the word. “Every time I came across a ‘damn book,’ it wasn’t really a damn book,” he explains. “It was supernaturally more dangerous, like a book of spells. For example, owning or touching a book did not cause damage or an accident like, say, a damn chair or vase. Instead, if you tried the spells from the book, the spells were dangerous. ”
Ocker notes that there was also the issue of curses that medieval scribes would attach to books they diligently wrote by hand, but they were intended to deter theft – and there is no evidence that they actually worked, so they did not count for his purposes.
But from time to time, the book gets a bad reputation. Maybe the accident seems to follow him wherever he goes, or maybe an urban legend gets caught up in some creepy corner of the internet. Or perhaps – and here things become particularly interesting – representatives of powerful institutions simply did not want the book to be read. From the Devil’s Bible to a sad Japanese war song, here are eight texts that have been accused of madness, misfortune, and death.
If the power of swearing was based solely on the size of the book, Codex Gigas, also known as the Devil’s Bible, would probably be the most dangerous book ever written. The book, about 800 years old, is thought to be the largest surviving medieval manuscript in the world, weighing 165 pounds and about three feet high. (“Codex Gigas” literally means “giant book.”) The exact origin of the manuscript is lost in time, but historians believe it was written at some point between 1204 and 1230 in the Kingdom of Bohemia, part of what would become the Czech Republic. According to the National Library of Sweden, the book was owned by at least three different monasteries before Emperor Rudolf II added it to his private collection (which would soon include Voynič’s manuscript) in 1594. army during the Thirty Years’ War and taken to Stockholm. It has been housed in the Swedish National Library since 1768.
While many illuminated texts were made by teams of copyists, scholars believe that Codex Gigas is the work of a single copyist. Written entirely in Latin, the book contains both the Old and New Testaments, along with Czech and Jewish historical texts; an encyclopedia with information on geometry, legal issues, and entertainment, among other topics; medical hearings; hundreds of obituaries; a few magic spells; and calendar.
The book’s evil reputation stems from the full-color portrait of the devil found on its pages and the legend of how the painting got there. According to folklore, the book is the work of a monk – probably Hermann Heremitus or Herman the Lonely – who broke his vows and was sentenced to be walled up alive in a convent. He made a deal to save himself: if he could write a book containing all the world’s knowledge in one night, his life would be spared. When he realized that the task was impossible, the monk sold his soul to the devil, who helped him finish the book and “signed” it with the now infamous portrait. (Other versions of the story say that the monk added the illustration as a gesture of gratitude for Satan’s help.)
There are several accident stories related to the Codex Gigas, but the curse seems rather benign, given that the book was allegedly written by Beelzebub. One legend dating back at least from 1858 claims that the guard was institutionalized after being accidentally locked up overnight in the Swedish National Library. He was reportedly found under a table the next morning, claiming to have seen Codex Gigas join the procession of books as they danced through the air.
2. The Book of Soyga
John Dee (1527-1608) scientist philosopher, mathematician / Apic / GettyImages To see also : Stephen King’s 10 best books.
The book about Soyga, also known as Aldaraia gray Soyga vocor, is an occult text dating back at least from the 1500s. We know of this only because it was once owned by John Dee, a famous 16th-century polymatist whose fields of study and expertise included mathematics, physics, chemistry, and astronomy. Dee was also an occultist who was particularly interested in communicating with angels. Soyga’s book must have been irresistible to him – apart from magic spells and writings on demonology and astrology, the text includes the names and genealogies of angels. According to Benjamin Woolley’s biography of Dee’s The Queen’s Conjurer, Dee believed that the book “contained an ancient, even divine message written in the language originally spoken to Adam – in other words, the true, uncorrupted word of God.”
It also includes 36 puzzling tables that have remained undeciphered for centuries. Dee tried to break their code with the help of Edward Kelley, a crystal observer who convinced Dee that he could channel the voices of angels. (Kelley sometimes wrote his name Kelly or called him Edward Talbot; owning a pseudonym probably helped the alleged medium, who was allegedly convicted of forgery and probably had his ears cut off as punishment.) According to Sky History, Dee was so impatient. to talk to the angels that when Kelley told him that the angels wanted two men to exchange women for one evening as payment for heavenly communication, Dee agreed. Nine months later, Theodore Dee was born.
Edward Kelley (From: The Order of the Inspire), 1659. Artist: Anonymous / Heritage Images / GettyImages
Using Kelley as a mediator, Dee called Archangel Uriel and asked him if the Book of Soyga was the right thing to do. Uriel, speaking through Kelley, assured him that he was, but told him that only Archangel Michael was authorized to translate the tablets. Apparently, Michael was not available.
This exchange could be the source of Soyge’s book’s reputation as a damn book or, as it is sometimes called, “The Book That Kills”. At one point, Dee mentioned to Uriel that he had been told he would die within two and a half years if he ever read the coded text. Uriel assured Dee that he would live more than 100 years.
However, about that “reputation”: most of the references we could find that the Soyga book is a damn text come from online sources, and there don’t seem to be any verifiable accident stories with the book.
Dee died in 1608 at the age of 81. Soyga’s book changed hands several times before disappearing from historical records. Accelerated 300 years, by summer 1994: Deborah Harkness had just completed her doctoral dissertation (“John Dee’s Conversations with Angels”) and was browsing a catalog at Oxford’s Bodleian Library when she found a reference to Aldaraia Gray Soyga. She had the book taken out and soon found herself staring at the holy grail of the Dee Scholarship. The experience inspired Harkness’s first novel, The Discovery of the Witches, which launched the best-selling trilogy and has since been adapted for television.
In 1998, mathematician Jim Reeds broke the code of his mysterious tables. Reeds discovered a pattern that includes the frequency and position of certain letters relative to other letters – or, in his words, “a letter is obtained by counting a certain number of letters after the letter just above it … in a table.” Reeds devised a set of mathematical formulas that allowed him to decipher the tables, and each turned out to be based on a six-letter “code word”. But we still don’t know the meaning of those code words or what kind of message the tables were supposed to convey (or even if they exist).
As for the “curse,” it seems to have been nonsense. According to Google Scholar, Reeds was still publishing at least until 2010.
This one should sound familiar to horror fans – he played a key role in the excellent A Dark Song at the 2016 Film Festival.
The Book of Abramelin — or, more formally, the Book of Sacred Magic by Abramelin the Magician — is a Jewish magical text believed to date from the 14th or 15th century, but owes its current glory to the 19th and 20th century magicians who made up the Hermetic Order of the Golden dawn. One of the founders of the Order, S.L.M. Mathers, created the first English translation of the book in the 1890s, working on the French version from 1750. According to writer and occultist Lon Milo DuQuette’s foreword to the 2006 edition, Mathers’ translation caught on among his colleagues, and the Book of Abramelin – or simply “Abramelin,” as it is known in the magical community – became a key text in modern occultism, reportedly helping to inspire Aleister Crowley’s “magic” system.
Aleister Crowley, English writer and magician / Hulton Deutsch / GettyImages
The central part of Abramelin is an elaborate, multi-month ritual that aims to allow the wizard to communicate with his “Holy Guardian Angel” – essentially their heavenly other half. The problem lies in what happens after a three-day period in which the magician is “locked in blissful intimacy with an angel,” DuQuette writes. After the honeymoon is over, the wizard must summon and conquer “every ‘unredeemed’ spirit of the hellish regions” – in other words, one might assume, all the demons of hell. Supposedly an angel will be there to teach the magician through all that conquest, but it still sounds very difficult. According to DuQuette, Abremelin’s reputation as a haunted book could stem from the fact that it contains instructions for the defeat of “the world’s evil spirits.” Surely ghosts would rather keep this information secret, and it has been rumored that even owning a copy is a risky business.
But it might be worth gambling. In addition to a guide with instructions for summoning angels and demons, Abramelin includes spells to turn someone into a donkey, summoning some juggling ghost monkeys, and forcing a ghost to bring you cheese.
4. The Orphan’s Story
Historia del Huérfano, or The Tale of the Orphan, is a novel written by a Spanish monk named Martín de León y Cárdenas sometime between 1608 and 1615. Martín de León originally planned to publish the novel in 1621 under a pseudonym, but it never was. happened. According to The Guardian, it is speculated that he left the book unpublished because he feared it would harm his position in the Roman Catholic Church. (He was appointed Bishop of Trivento in 1630 and Archbishop of Palermo in 1650)
The book was considered lost for a long time, but in 1965 a Spanish scientist found what was considered the only surviving copy in the New York archives of the Hispanic Society of America. There were several attempts to publish it, but none of them succeeded, and rumors began circulating that The Orphan’s Story was cursed. See the article : Global food kilometers account for almost 20% of total food system emissions. The project eventually came to a Peruvian philologist named Belinda Palacios, who spent two years preparing the manuscript for publication. Shortly after she applied to edit the book, warnings began.
“When I started working on it, a lot of people told me that the book was cursed and that people who started working on it were dying,” Palacios told The Guardian 2018. She was more specific in an interview with The Telegraph the same year: “It should have been is for a while because the people who worked on it died – one from a strange disease, one in a car accident, and the other from something else. ” According to the Endless Thread podcast, the victims include a Spanish scientist named Antonio Rodríguez-Moñino, who died in 1970, and a Spanish professor named William C. Bryant.
2017 – 400 years after it was written – The story of the orphan has finally been published. Palacios has so far not been disturbed by the “curse”: she teaches Spanish-American literature at two universities in Switzerland, and in 2022 she published her own novel called Niñagordita.
Lucifuge Rofocale / Culture Club / GettyImages
While some stories about supposedly haunted books can be attributed to coincidence and superstition, some tell another, stranger story – one that is associated with the power of literacy and the conspiracy to scare people away from books that threaten the status quo.
In his 1898 text The Book of Black Magic and Pacts, the British occultist and scholar Arthur Edward Waite identifies the Grand Grimoire as one of the “four specific and undisguised manuals of black magic”. The book contains detailed instructions for invoking Satan’s right hand man, Lucifugé Rofocale. According to historian Owen Davies, the Grand Grimoire is dated to 1702, but is more likely to have debuted around 1750. It became a publishing sensation; in his 2010 book Grimoires: A History of Magic Books, Davies calls it “the first explicitly diabolical mass market grimoire”.
The popularity of the book, rather than its content, could have led to its reputation as a dangerous or damned book. In France, the Grand Grimoire was one of several books of spells that were widely distributed in book form and sold in bookstores in the 19th century. Davies suggests that church officials feared that the books threatened their authority and that they embarked on a successful campaign to denigrate them. People began to view books like the Grand Grimoire as sinister – even the simple act of buying a copy was considered dangerous.
6. The Great Omar
The cover of the Great Lobster is kept in the British Library. See the article : Great books to read this week. / Album / British Library / Alamy Stock Photo
The book known as “The Great Omar” was an adapted edition of the 11th century collection of quatrains by the Persian poet Omar Khayyám, which became famous in the West after writer Edward FitzGerald translated some of his verses in 1859. The book seems to have been relatively trouble-free until 1911, when the famous bookbinder Francis Sangorski completed an elaborate edition commissioned by the manager of a London bookstore. Sangorski received an unlimited budget for the project and only two mandates: that the final product is worth as much as Sangorski decided and that it be “the largest modern binding in the world.”
Sangorski worked on every detail for two years. To correct the design elements, he borrowed a human skull for reference and bribed a zoo keeper to feed a live snake rat so he could see the “angle of his jaws” while the reptile was feeding. According to the BBC, he used 100 square feet of gold leaf, 5,000 pieces of leather and more than 1,000 precious gems, including rubies, topazes and emeralds. But once it was done, the bookstore she ordered – priced at £ 1,000, or about $ 150,000 in today’s market – had trouble selling. They decided to try out the U.S. book market, but the ambiguity with U.S. customs officers sent the book back to London. It was finally sold at auction to an American buyer (for less than half of the original asking price), so the Great Omar set out on another ride across the Atlantic – the Titanic. Ten weeks later Sangorski drowned while on vacation with his family. He was only 37 years old.
The Sangor masterpiece was never pulled from the wreck of the Titanic, but the Great Omar was re-created in the 1930s according to his original plans. Bookbinder Stanley Bray finished his version just as World War II began. To protect the new edition from German bombs, it was placed in a vault on London’s Fore Street – which was eventually one of the first targets of Nazi warplanes. The safe in which the book was kept Blitz, but the book did not: the temperatures inside the tank rose so high that the leather and paper components of the book melted and charred. According to The Independent, only jewels were spared.
Bray was adamant and spent about 4,000 hours over 40 years creating the third edition of The Great Lobster. This version seems to have escaped the “curse”: Bray lived to be 88, and the third Omar is certainly housed in the British Library.
As for the source of the book’s troubles, some suspect a trio of peacocks adorned with jewels on the cover. According to the Encyclopedia of Superstition, some cultures believe that peacock feathers bring bad luck.
Written in blood is the work of Robert and Nancy Heinl, who spent years involved in the political turmoil in Haiti. When the book was published in 1978, Robert Heinl was a retired Marine colonel who served as a defense adviser to the Haitian government. He and his wife, a London-born journalist, lived in Haiti for several years when, like other Americans, they were expelled from the country in 1963 as relations deteriorated between the United States and the government of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier. Heinl’s Washington Post obituary says he was “declared a persona non grata as a result of political differences between the United States and Haitian President François Duvalier,” but stories surrounding the publication of the book Written in Blood tell a scarier story.
According to The Washington Post, Nancy Heinl “became so immersed in voodoo beliefs” that Duvalier was convinced she was a priestess with mystical powers. Duvalier died in 1971, seven years before the publication of the Heinl book. But according to Vikas Khatri’s 2007 book Curses & amp; Jinxes, Duvlier’s widow, Simone, was clearly offended by the unflattering portrayal of the late leader in Written in Blood and put a voodoo curse on the book.
The Washington Post states that the manuscript was somehow lost in printing presses and then stolen while it was returned to the publisher. When the book was finally sent for binding, the folding machine did not work. The curse apparently extended to the book’s advertising campaign as well: the first Washington Post reporter assigned to report on it was thrown off track of appendicitis. At home, the authors claimed that all their non-electric watches had stopped.
The other accidents the Heinls suffered were less benign. Robert was injured when the stage collapsed under him while he was giving a speech, and a few days later he was attacked by a dog while walking near the house of the Embassy Row couple. In May 1979, while the Heinls were on vacation in French West Indies – just months after the book Written in Blood was published – Robert Heinl died suddenly of a heart attack. After his death, Nancy reportedly said, “There is a belief that the closer you get to Haiti, the more powerful the magic becomes.”
If the Heinls were actually victims of the voodoo curse, it wasn’t the first time the Duvalier family had reportedly turned to black magic to take revenge on their enemies. According to the Encyclopedia of American-Latin American Relations, Duvalier claimed that the assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr. in November 1963 was the result of a voodoo curse he placed on Kennedy after the young president, suspecting financial fraud on Duvalier’s side, had suspended aid to Haiti the previous year.
8. “Tomino’s Hell”
“Tomin’s Hell” dates back to 1919, when it was included in Sakin, a book of poems by Japanese poet and songwriter Saijō Yaso. The song seems to narrate a young boy’s journey through hell; it was speculated that Tomino had committed an unforgivable sin and was sentenced to hell for punishment. But according to folklorist and translator Tara A. Devlin, Western readers lack some important contextual clues and cultural references, and “Tomin’s Hell” is more likely an allegory for the deployment of a young man on the battlefield, where he may have died in action.
The song’s long journey to the glory of creepy paste is believed to have begun in 1974, when it helped inspire avant-garde filmmaker Shuji Terayama’s film Pastoral: To Die in the Country. Shuji lived for nine years after making the film, but somehow a legend was born who blamed “Tomin’s Hell” for his death in 1983. (Liver disease was the more likely culprit.) At some point, rumors began circulating about a student who allegedly died after reading the poem. So the stage was set in 2004, when author and film critic Yomota Inuhiko reportedly wrote, “If you accidentally read [‘Tomin’s Hell’] aloud, then you will suffer from a terrible fate that cannot be escaped.” The song has made a leap to the internet and is now a classic example of “creepypasta” – an internet horror story that is carried around until it becomes a kind of urban legend. (“Creepypasta” is a derivative of “copypasta,” a term for text that has been copied and pasted multiple times.)
The idea that “Tomin’s Hell” was cursed seems to have received more attention in the West than in the native Japan of the song. Mental Floss addressed two Japanese folklore experts – Lindsay Nelson of Meiji University, author of Circulating Fear: Japanese Horror, Fractured Realities and New Media, and Zack Davisson, author of Kaibyō: The Supernatural Cats of Japan and Yūrei: The Japanese Ghost— a none could shed light on the roots of the legend. “It’s very possible that the idea of it being a‘ damn song ’came from the West,” Davisson says, citing few references to the legend in Japanese-language sources.
As for whether the song actually managed to remove its alleged curse, Devlin writes that “people claimed they were sick while reading this song,” but she points out that any physical effects can probably be attributed to autosuggestion.
The damn TV series ends moments before the novel it’s based on. The book not only confirms that Nimue survived its decline, but also several other key factors, including what appears to be its assumption of the mantle of Our Lady of the Lake.
What is the plot of Cursed?
& quot; Damn & quot; is a horror film set in the 18th century, about a pathologist who investigates a series of bloody animal attacks on a French estate.
Is Cursed based on a story? Damn is an American fantasy drama web television series on Netflix, based on the eponymous illustrated YA book by Frank Miller and Tom Wheeler.
What is the movie Cursed 2022 about?
“Damn” is a horror film set in the 18th century, about a pathologist who investigates a series of bloody animal attacks on a French estate.
Who is the love interest in Cursed?
Nimue’s love affair, Arthur, is interpreted by Devon Terrell. During the first season, we saw the couple’s immediate attraction to each other that eventually grew into a romantic relationship.
Is Cursed based on King Arthur?
“Cursed” is the retelling of an Arthurian legend focused on Nimue, a teenager destined to become the Lady of the Lake, played by Katherine Langford. This story features spoilers from the first season of Netflix’s “Damn” series.
On what story is the Curse based?
Is Cursed about Excalibur?
Cursed is the disguised Arthurian tradition. He doesn’t start his story in a big castle or with brave knights fighting around Excalibur. Instead, we are thrown into the world of the teenage witch Nimue, who is harassed and overshadowed by her identity in a world ruled by the Catholic Church.
Is Arthur from Cursed King Arthur?
In the Netflix fantasy series Cursed, Arthur is not the king’s son. However, this does not mean that he alone cannot become king. Warning: SPOILERS for the first season of The Damned. Arthur (Devon Terrell) may not be the son of Uther Pendragon in the Netflix fantasy series Cursed – but that doesn’t mean he can’t become king.
Is there season 2 for Cursed?
The damn, fantastic Netflix series that explores the heroine from the legend of Arthurian will not be renewed for another season. Here’s why it was canceled. The medieval fantasy series Cursed has been canceled by Netflix without a second season, and here’s why the streaming service won’t continue the project.
Why did Netflix cancel Cursed? Netflix was under the radar with the announcement of the cancellation of the Cursed compared to other series, so it did not give a solid and quick reason to reject the series. Maybe it was just that the ratings figures of the first season were not enough over time despite the trend when it premiered.