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Yard Sale Treasures: Cursed, Conjured, or Coincidence?

Are you in the market for malevolent energy? Dark histories. Curses? A premature death by unusual means? Look no further than your local yard sale. From haunted dolls to sinister paintings to fabulously cursed jewels—your next yard sale treasure could be a supernatural artifact.

Do you really want to bring a cursed object into your living room?

The allure of cursed objects lies in the mystery surrounding their origins and the inexplicable events that follow those who possess them. Please read about my episode with cursed candlesticks. Note: I’ve since taken these off to the local thrift shop, thus perpetuating the legend.

Numerous renowned and very cursed artifacts have gained notoriety for the misfortune they bring to those who possess them. Macabre incidents fuel their dark reputations. Here are a few notable items similar to those you might find at any neighborhood flea market, auction, or yard sale.

Cursed Object Yard Sale. Ghostly Garage Sale

Cursed Objects for the Kids: Possessed Dolls

1. Robert the Doll

    • While Robert is one of a kind, you’ll find any number of toys at yard sales.
    • Robert is a haunted doll now residing in the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida. Possibly the inspiration for our beloved Chucky, Robert stands at 40 inches. A master toymaker in Germany working for the Steiff company created the doll as a special order around 1900. He’s dressed in a sailor suit and stuffed with Excelsior, a product made from wood shreds.
    •  Robert’s original owner was a young boy named Robert Eugene Otto. Known as Gene, the boy would shift blame to Robert for his own misbehavior, pointing at the doll and saying, “I didn’t do it; Robert did it.” After Gene died in 1974, Robert remained in the house. Various owners adopted him and they report that the doll’s expression changes, that he moves himself around the house, and that he often giggles. Now on display in a museum, viewers find that cameras and electronic devices frequently malfunction around him. Weirdly, people write letters to Robert asking for forgiveness for disrespectful behavior—so if you go to see Robert, be courteous. I’m not posting a picture of him for that very reason.
    • Robert may be a kind of poppet with lingering attachments. Some stories say the original owner had a Bahamian maid who practiced Voodoo, so there’s that. I’m curious about the specific wood that comprises the, well, not to be in any way disrespectful, but the stuffing. Poplar was often used in Excelsior, and that’s connected with magic. If a few Rowan fibers got in there, well….

    2. Annabelle

    • You’ve heard of the infamous Raggedy Ann doll, known for causing paranormal activity, featured in the Conjuring movie series. This cursed object is now in a box at the Warren’s Occult Museum in Monroe, Connecticut, which no longer accepts visitors.
    • The true story of Annabelle is creepier than the movie. Annabelle’s original owners purchased her secondhand—let that be a warning to you. Like Robert, Annabelle moved around the house at will and sometimes levitated, just for fun. She’s accused of clawing people, causing potentially deadly car crashes, writing creepy notes on parchment paper, and literally showing up with blood on her hands. The Warrens concluded that a demon possessed the doll and spent his time looking for a human host.
    • Entities labeled ‘demons’ may be elementals, which doesn’t make it any safer to have a doll infested with one. Their purposes may be just as destructive. Not all elementals are here to do evil to people, but some are. Others couldn’t care less about us. They are immensely powerful so even their disregard can cause harm.
    • Gaze deeply into the eyes of the toy elephant you find at the city-wide sale. What do you see—is something looking back?

      Cursed Jewels

      3. The Hope Diamond

      • Just because a cursed object is worth a ton of money doesn’t make it safe.
      • The Hope Diamond is a 45.52 diamond valued at $250 million, It has a history of bringing misfortune, tragedy, and death to its owners.
      • Okay, you’re not likely to find something like the Hope diamond at a yard sale, but you may find gemstones and semi-precious metals galore. Crystals hold charges. So do gold and silver.
      • The story goes that Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, an explorer in the court of King Louis XIV of France, presented the gem to the king in December of 1668.  The stone was assumed to have come from India, possibly the Kollur Mine of the Golconda region. Another story says that Tavernier pried the stone from the eye of a statue of the Hindu goddess Sita. When the priests found the stone missing, they sent a curse after whoever possessed it. If you want more details about the beheadings, the ‘accidents,’ and the effect of wild dogs on a human being, here’s an excellent article. After wreaking havoc for a couple of centuries, the stone is now in the Smithsonian—so it has belonged to the U.S. since 1958.
      • FYI—honoring Sita can involve (first learning her story) and then by remembering her in prayers and doing good deeds in her name. I’m just sayin’.

      Haunted Art

      4. The Anguished Man painting, The Hands Resist Him painting, The Crying Child painting

      • Art is all about emotion. Even a print can hold a portion of the original energy, so take a closer look at that velvet painting of Elvis you find propped against an old dresser at the flea market.
      • The Anguished Man is a disturbing painting said to be the work of an artist who mixed his blood with the oil paint. A dark shadow figure and the sound of crying linger in the homes of the owners of this work.
      • The Crying Child seems to cause fires wherever it is hung.
      • The characters depicted in The Hands Resist Him painting sometimes climb out of the painting.

        Cursed Artifacts

        5. The Myrtles’ Plantation Mirror

        • So, you stop by a neighbor’s sale and find the perfect mirror for your bathroom. Consider what that mirror may have seen–And who you might find looking out at you.
        • A tragedy created this cursed object. The mirror hangs at the Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana. An enslaved woman, Chloe devised a plan to get into the enslaver’s good graces. Accused of eavesdropping, she suffered the punishment of having her ear cut off by Clark Woodruff, the enslaver. She wore a turban to hide the disfigurement. He also threatened to put her in the fields—a death sentence.
        • Desperate, Chloe decided to bake just a few oleander leaves into a birthday cake. When the family became ill—as you do when you ingest oleander in a birthday cake or otherwise—Chloe would appear with the antidote and save the day. Sadly, she got the dosage wrong, and Clark’s wife and two of his children died. Chloe died on the gibbet—some say hung by Clark, others say by the other enslaved to avoid repercussions.
        • In the South, you cover mirrors after a death so the spirit of the recently dead person won’t be entrapped in the mirror. Well, one mirror remained uncovered. Now, the image of a turbaned, dark-skinned woman and the handprints and faces of children appear in the mirror.

        6. The Basano Vase

        • This vase, carved from silver, belonged to a young bride who mysteriously died on her wedding night. Before she died, she swore vengeance. The family, according to local legend, buried the vase. But, no. It turned up in an auction sometime later. New and subsequent Owners died within months until the police, who had seen enough of this thing, tried to hand it off to a museum. But the reputation of the vase had spread, and no museum wanted it. The police reportedly buried the thing in a lead casket in an ancient cemetery. Or is it listed in the latest local auction bill?

        7. The Woman From Lemb Statue–A Cursed Object from Aqntiquity

        • Just an odd little statue or figurine—what harm could that possibly cause? Ask the owners of the Woman from Lemb statue—oh, you can’t. They’re dead. Very nearly everyone. Even the museum curator who handled it died.
        • The limestone statue dates from 3500 BC and was unearthed at Lemb (Lempa), Cyprus, in 1878. It could have been a fertility statue, or it could represent a forgotten goddess. It’s now in the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh behind glass.

        8. Busby’s Stoop Chair

        • A bar stool, a child’s rocker, an ugly brown recliner—maybe innocent—maybe cursed. The Busby’s Stoop Chair may be responsible for multiple deaths. Does it bring tragedy to anyone who sits in it? Apparently, Thomas Busby went to the gallowsg in 1702 for the murder of his father-in-law.
        • One story says that Busby was arrested as he sat in the chair. Another version says that the authorities allowed Thomas, as his last request, to return to his favorite pub and sit in his favorite chair one last time.
        • The legend is that anyone sitting in the chair will die in the next few days. Today, you’ll find the chair hung from the ceiling to prevent anyone from sitting in it at the Thirsk Museum in North Yorkshire, England. For details, here’s a post about the chair’s history.

          Coincidence? Overactive Imagination? Blatant lies? Stories behind a cursed object can be all of these. Reasonable explanations may account for most of the so-called supernatural experiences. But not all.

          The next time you unload found treasures and haul them to the house, take a minute to give them a good cleansing—outside and in.

          Cursed Objects For Sale

          Yardsale video by Sorchia DuBois

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