'The UnXplained: Mysterious Curses' will explore Friday the 13th, haunted paintings and bad luck jewels
Get ready to investigate Hope Diamond's curse along with other famous "bad luck" dates, places, people and objects to separate fact from fiction with host William Shatner
Moving from superhuman to supernatural, 'The UnXplained' upcoming episode centers around "mysterious curses". The official synopsis of the episode gives us a brief idea about some of the 'bad luck' omens that haunt mankind. It states: "Throughout history, many have believed that certain places, things, or even people can be tainted with dark curses. Ominous lakes that morph into watery graves. Unlucky numbers that seem to cause bad things to happen. Paintings and precious stones, which bring death and destruction to their keepers. But can these mysterious curses really have the power to bring us harm? And if so, is it possible to understand their power, or will it remain UnXplained?"
The trailer for the episode shows that one of the "curses" to be explored is one that affects us all -- Friday the 13th. The dreaded date occurs in any month that begins on a Sunday. Friday the 13th will occur at least once a year but can occur up to three times in the same year -- for example, in 2015. Regarded with universal trepidation, people are extra careful on this day, looking out for ways in which they might avoid the bad luck curse. According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day, making it the most feared day and date in history.
However, this might have a beneficial side effect. According to the Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics 2008 report, "fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home".
The other "curses" that the episode will delve into relate to paintings and gems. One of the most famous "cursed paintings" in history is the 'The Anguished Man', whose unknown painter mixed his blood into the paint and soon committed suicide after the painting was finished. Owners of the painting say they hear whispering and crying at night, as well as seeing a shadowy figure when they hang the painting in their bedroom.
But another set of paintings that attracted even more notoriety because of their wide circulation was the "Crying Boys" prints. 'The Crying Boy' series of paintings were mass-produced as art prints in the 1950s and hung in many homes. The British newspaper The Sun reported that firefighters would often find this picture in the ruins of a burned house, completely unscathed.
When it comes to cursed gems, none is more famous than the Hope Diamond, the current form of the "The Tavernier Blue". It has been cut and reset several times, starting with its sale to King Louis XIV in 1668 and set on a cravat-pin, after which it was referred to as the "French Blue". Stolen in 1791, it was recut, with the largest section acquiring the name "Hope" when it appeared in the catalog of a gem collection owned by a London banking family called Hope in 1839.
Rumors of bad luck dogging the owners of the stone have circulated, especially after the fall of the French monarchy in the French Revolution. The curse added to the stone's mystique and it is possible that the stone's sellers like Cartier and others may have inflated stories about the stone to make buyers feel intrigued enough to purchase the expensive stone. Get ready to investigate Hope Diamond's curse along with other famous "bad luck" places, people, and objects to separate fact from fiction with host William Shatner.
'The UnXplained: Mysterious Curses' airs on July 25 at 9 pm on the History channel.