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May everything you touch wither to dust.’ Cursed? Or just unlucky? Shehanne Moore

    ‘The question is this. I cursed you. I cursed you and your brothers –” 

   “One of whom—” 

   “Blew his brains out at midnight. Do you seriously think I didn’t trouble myself to find out?”

     “Oh, I’m sure-“
 

     “May everything you touch, turn to dust.”’ 

   Cursed? Or just unlucky? Nice to think it’s the latter but legends of curses permeate practically every culture in history. from entire families to items—jewels especially—but places too. It would be good to say we just like someone to blame misfortune on but then again, some folks don’t seem to have a lot of good fortune, do they? 

   Let’s take my new heroine, Destiny who is the victim of just such a curse…

   “But the fact was that curse uttered for nothing had killed Ennis, as surely as if Divers O’Roarke had pushed his carriage down that ravine that night.” 

   It’s very convenient to believe that all the loss and tragedy that follows Destiny about like a bad smell is the result of that curse, when it was probably on the cards anyway. Also, at the time she was cruising for the proverbial bruising, causing besotted men to shoot each other, this could just have been a wind change in her life, a what-goes-round-comes-round time. But then again, the loss of a mother, father, brother, husband and more in the space of two years, not to mention another brother becoming an alcoholic, does seem the kind of misfortune that would give the Kennedy family a run for their money in the cursed stakes. 

     And I think that is where curses have their power—superstitious–but even so. Would you really want to flout a curse by wearing the Hope diamond for example? Or indeed by then touching someone who was cursed? 

   From Land’s End to Launceston people avoided her like she had the plague. In fact it was probably from Land’s End to John O’Groats. She couldn’t get another husband even if she wanted to.” 

     Whether it is balderdash or not, if something goes wrong after you flout a curse, well, you are probably going to blame the curse and wish you hadn’t done it, even if curses may, or may not exist. The Rhodes family aren’t alone in being cursed. Other famous families, in addition to the Kennedys, include the Hapsburgs, the Grimaldis, the Hemingways. I guess the Romanovs weren’t exactly what you might call lucky either.

     Of course big families like that, in terms of being newsworthy, of having wealth etc., are always going to find their bones being picked over by the ‘lesser mortals.’ And the Rhodes family have that local standing.

     ‘She was a Rhodes and Rhodes were all about living life to the hilt.’

     Big old house, family tree going back centuries, suggestions of links to pirates, definite links to smugglers. Legends surround them, like Raven’s Passage, said to stretch from their family seat, Doom Bar Hall, all the way to the beach, a fabulous place stuffed with golden treasures.

 

 It’s easy to say that some of these real families were cursed when you can point to the actual curse itself, how it came to be uttered and who was responsible. Rasputin, of course gets held responsible for cursing the Romanovs but as a family they had plenty of misfortune before that. Nicholas II’s father and grandfather didn’t exactly fare brilliantly either and Rasputin never cursed them. But then the times they were living in were pretty explosive. No pun intended actually. Just pointing out the possible carnage/ill heath rate which brings me to the Brontës, another family that might be construed as cursed. Equally fame eventually touched them, so we know of their lives. But their deaths were the lot of entire families especially given the unsanitary conditions of the time. 

     The thing about curses? I honestly think you pay your money you take your chances…NOW go open the voddie and do Cossack dances.

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 “He cursed you, me, Chancery. You most of all. Think how different your life would now be if he hadn’t uttered these damnable words. When Chancery loved Rose. Wanted to marry her, for God’s sake. That Divers O’Roarke didn’t know is no damned excuse.”

     “I am thinking. And I’m thinking we are the life we live. Its graces and its pain. And while we may not always have any control over it, we can control what we do about it. But if you want to believe in a load of old gypsy mutterings and superstition and hold it responsible for the fact you can’t walk past a drink, without feeling obliged to down and then drown in it, that’s your choice. This is mine.’

O’Roarke’s Destiny Shehanne Moore.