Maybe My Cursed Objects Book was a Bad Idea

October 9, 2023 — As part of my research into my book Cursed Objects, I purchased a cursed object for myself, right off ebay. It was a small bronze bulldog. I won’t go into the whole experience (it’s in the book), but the short version is that I kept that bulldog on my desk the entire time I wrote the book, and even took it with me on one of our vacations…and nothing bad happened.

More than that, I wrote the book in 2019, and it was a good year for me for a number of reasons. When the book came out, it did well, too, even sold to nine or ten other countries and set me up nicely for my next nonfiction project. All things that maybe shouldn’t have happened with a cursed object staring at me the whole time.

Of course, then COVID hit, but surely we’re not going to blame a worldwide pandemic on a bronze bulldog on the shelf of some rando in New Hampshire, are we?

After the book came out, I started doing talks about cursed objects (virtual ones, of course, because pandemic). For the talks, I always included a bit about my experience purchasing the bulldog. I had named it the Cursed Cur…because every cursed object worth it’s rep needed a name that sounded like it was pulled from the title of a detective story. Like this: “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Cursed Cur.” I kept it on a shelf in my study and would show it off during those virtual talks. I always ended that part of the talk just like I ended that particular chapter in the book: “But who knows? Like every dog, maybe this one’s still getting used to its new home before its personality really starts to assert itself.”

And, you know what? Maybe that cursed object did start asserting itself.

The French version of Cursed Objects included an illustration of a bulldog in that section.
The book came out in September 2020, and a year later, the worst period of my entire life started, both with the death of my brother and then, months later, the year-long betrayal of everything I'd built.

Now, I’m not saying the Cursed Cur is cursed, but I do know that nocebos might be a legitimate phenomenon (they’re the opposite of placebos, where instead of tricking your body into healing itself, you can trick yourself into harm just by believing it will happen. That could mean that if you think an object is cursed, it might as well be). So maybe me just considering the idea is enough for it to be true.

Still, I haven’t gotten rid of the Cursed Cur yet. It’s on my shelf under a thin coat of dust as I write this.

Although as I wrote this, I realized something that I hadn’t yet put together. My brother had one tattoo. On his arm. Of a bulldog. Jinkies.

Maybe I should get rid of the thing. Let me know if any of you want it. At the very least, it’s a much more sensible explanation for what happened to my life than what actually happened.