[Adapted from Lying Wonders, Strangest Things]:
Can money be cursed?
We’ve all heard about lottery winners. And who wouldn’t want to be one of those… unless… everything unravels because of it.
One fellow in the United Kingdom won more than twelve million dollars and blew it all on drugs, gambling, and prostitutes, losing not only all his cash but his wife to boot. He seemed happier without the money.
In New Jersey, Evelyn Adams in New Jersey won $5.4 million but ended up living in a trailer…
Not to pour water on Powerball parades…
In 1998, William Post won the Pennsylvania lottery — to the tune of sixteen million — but his brother and wife hired a hit man to kill him. Their plot failed, but his management of the money (sour investments) led to bankruptcy.
Prison, drug clinics. Lottery winner Abraham Shakespeare was found buried under a concrete slab.
Nor did the three hundred million won by Jack Whittaker in West Virginia bring better luck. His car was robbed (hundreds of thousands); a plot was hatched by two acquaintances to poison him; his granddaughter died (an apparent overdose); and then his own daughter passed. “I wish I’d torn up that ticket,” he said. (Did I neglect to mention his gambling debts?)
More than seventy percent of lottery winners end up broke within seven years. Mammon, mammon: perhaps the expression as per lottery winners should be, “Money is the root of unhappiness…” If you really want to talk about the curious way misfortune can follow good fortune, look no farther than Alex and Rhoda Toth: In 1990, they won $13 million in a Florida lottery; their annual payout: $666,666.66 for twenty years.
It was great for a while, but after burning their way through the winnings, they ended up indicted for tax fraud. Alex died from a stroke before the trial; Rhoda pleaded guilty and did prison time.
It’s enough to keep anyone away from the convenience store…
Urooj Khan from Chicago found out the hard way. The 46-year-old bought a scratch-off ticket, won a million, and after requesting the lump sum (after taxes, $425,000), was issued a check for that handy amount on July 19. He was pronounced dead the next day (of hardened arteries). When a relative demanded a more thorough look, and the medical examiner carried forth a more comprehensive test, there was the shock of finding cyanide.
Now, granted, these runs of ill luck have fully natural explanations. Greed. Murder. But then there are curses that seem to follow in a paranormal way. On Oak Island in Nova Scotia the search has been on for centuries supposedly, the target: treasure buried by pirates — indications of which were first discovered by two boys who in 1795 spotted eerie lights near the tiny island. Upon a closer look, they noticed a freshly dug hole, and because they knew pirates frequented the area… and with them buried treasure… they decided to dig further into the earth.
The farther they clawed their way down, the stranger. Noted one account: “There were wooden barriers, layers of coconut shells, and even an etched stone with a strange code, which was deciphered to read, ‘Forty Feet Below Two Million Pounds Are buried.'”
That caused a little stampede that continues to this day, spawning even a reality show. Geologists are now involved, with high-tech gadgetry. So far, nothing. Even a future president named Franklin Roosevelt had tried his hand at it! As far as a curse… “the first recorded fatality was in 1861 when a pump exploded, killing a worker,” says one website about it. “In 1897, a man named Maynard Kaizer died when a rope that was lifting him from the pit fell off the pulley. In 1951, a huge clamshell digger slipped off a barge and sunk. The most devastating tragedy occurred in 1965, when adventurer Robert Restall, his son, and two co-workers succumbed to noxious fumes after falling into the pit.”
The death toll is said to stand at six.
Legend has it that before the money is found… the toll will reach seven.
[resources: Lying Wonders, Strangest Things]