'The UnXplained: Mysterious Curses' Review: William Shatner explores 27 Club, Friday the 13th and Hope Diamond
On science-based episodes of 'The UnXplained' like 'Superhuman Senses', host William Shatner is a competent host but somewhat detached. It is the supernatural episodes that he really likes biting his teeth into, reminding you of a jolly uncle who loves telling ghost stories to children.
In the 'Mysterious Curses' episode, he is having a ball as he delves into both popular legends as well as less known curses. The episode also brings together folklorists, historians, non-fiction authors, journalists and radio hosts who have obsessively researched some of these curses for years.
Some of the "cursed" phenomena in this episode needs no introduction -- like the cursed Hope diamond, the Friday the 13th date and the "27 club" with members like Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, and Jim Morrison, who all died young at 27. To bring an element of freshness, host William Shatner narrates some lesser-known theories, with sound bytes of the experts.
For instance, most stories about the steel blue Hope diamond, weighing 45.52 carats, start after it was purchased by Belgian-French gem merchant Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who bought it in India. However, the show states that the diamond was once set in the idol of a Hindu god in South India. When it was stolen, it became a cursed object. The episode also reveals that unlike other diamonds with a similar composition, the Hope diamond glows a fiery red for much longer after being bombarded with ultraviolet rays that suggest it has a mysterious force within that prolongs the 'reaction'.
With the '27 club', the experts connect the deaths to a phenomenon called "Saturn Return", where astrologically Saturn returns to the exact place it had been during a person's birth at 29 and half years of age. The effects of this start manifesting from age 27 onwards -- bringing death to those who are unable to 'mature' into their celebrityhood after earning it in their youth.
Others note that this age is also when young celebrities become "adults" in the truest sense and often push their partying and rock and roll lifestyle to the maximum as they attain adulthood, which explains their deaths. Others believe in the superstition that these celebrities want to stay young and beautiful forever and their "wish" is granted in the most bizarre way.
With regard to Friday the 13th, Shatner proposes that the date when the Knight Templars were arrested and subsequently killed provoked the curse of their Grand Master (known to be a sorcerer) and doomed the date for all mankind. Given that 2020 has two Fridays the 13th, he might not be far off the mark.
While these famous curses are most interesting to watch, the lesser-known curses around Round Valley Reservoir and the "Crying Boy" print curse are also interesting since they are more recent examples of how a curse legend comes into existence and gains popular acceptance. This is especially true of the spooky "Crying Boy" mass-produced prints linked to house fires that leave these "prints" intact while everything else goes up in flames.
'The UnXplained' aired on July 25 at 9 pm on the History channel.