Bonus CURSED OBJECTS Material: Born Under a Bad Scion

This excised string of paragraphs was another sidebar we thought might be needed at the last moment, but it turned out to be unnecessary. Hence why what’s really a broad topic is treated with such brevity. I’m sad this one didn’t go in because when the hell am I going to get to make a more sterling pun than “Born Under a Bad Scion,” but I’m also kind of glad it didn’t because it felt a little icky turning these familial tragedies into spooky fodder. But not so icky that I won’t use it for bloggage in service of selling the book. Buy Cursed Objects!

Not to objectify anybody, but people can be cursed, too. It’s often hereditary, so you can get dad’s receding hairline, mom’s overbite, and the family propensity for strange and frequent misfortune and death. Once introduced into the gene pool, a curse is hard to shake. Take it from these families.

The Kennedys, that prominent American political clan, has been plagued by untimely death for decades, including multiple assassinations, plane crashes (six deaths across three flights), infant death, a ski accident, and a couple overdoses. It was enough to cause Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy to go on the record, wondering if it were real after all. He lived to 77, but to do that he had to survive a plane crash that killed two passengers (out of five) and the Chappaquiddick Incident, where he drove a car off a bridge into a pond, killing his passenger, which was the incident that sparked his comment.

The Woodward family, who introduced the world to the fun, wiggly processed animal bits that is Jell-O, is supposed to be cursed. According to Allie Rowbottom, one of the heirs to the massive Jell-O fortune and author of Jell-O Girls, men in the family would rarely reach 40, succumbing to everything from alcoholism to suicide to cancer. And while the family believed it was only male family members at risk, Rowbottom’s book revealed that the women of the Jell-O clan didn’t fare much better.

The family of actor and martial artist Bruce Lee was supposedly cursed. According to the story, males in his family were destined to suffer premature death. After losing a son in infancy, Bruce’s parents called him by the feminine name Sai Fon (Little Phoenix) to get around the curse. But maybe that didn't work. Bruce died mysteriously at 32 of a cerebral edema. Then Bruce’s only son Brandon Lee died at 28 on the set of The Crow when a gun loaded with blanks malfunctioned. He was shot and died in the same scene that it happens to his character.

Then there’s the Lemp family, who were major 19th century brewers in St. Louis. This family suffered four suicides after the mysterious death of Frederick Lemp at 28, including his father William and three of his siblings, Elsa, William Jr., and Charles. Some say the curse was tied to the haunted Lemp Mansion, which housed three of the suicides. It's at least a reputation the owners of the mansion embrace today, which they run as a restaurant and inn.

I could go on. Many royal families around the world. The Hemingways. The Guinnesses. And those are just some of the famous cursed families. Think of all the not-famous ones.

Buy Cursed Objects: Strange But True Stories of the World’s Most Infamous Items on Amazon, IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, or Bookshop.