07 November 2022

Review: Cursed Objects by J.W. Ocker

Cursed Objects: Strange but True Stories of the World's Most Infamous Items by J.W. Ocker book cover

Cursed Objects: Strange but True Stories of the World's Most Infamous Items by J.W. Ocker was a mildly entertaining and interesting book, the kind of which is soon forgotten, but enjoyed while it lasted. The author is clear at the start of the book that he doesn't intend to cover hauntings, whether they be haunted locations or haunted objects, which I thought was fair enough.

The book is perfect for the audiobook format and is divided into categories, with each object given its own chapter. Each object is covered in a brief 5-8 minutes on audiobook, or a few pages in print format.

In the chapter entitled Cursed Under Glass, we learn about the infamous Hope Diamond and Otzi the Iceman, whose mummified remains were discovered more than 5,000 years after his death.

I enjoyed learning about rune stones in Cursed in the Graveyard, which only served to reinforce my thoughts on disturbing tombs or burial sites for purposes of research or grave-robbing.

Cursed in the Attic introduced me to the case of The Crying Boy Paintings - which I'd somehow never read about - The Baleroy Chair of Death and The Basano Vase.

In the chapter entitled Cursed in Stone, one of the topics was The Amber Room and I recall interviewing author William F. Brown about it back in 2012 as well as doing a few hours of Googling on the topic. In fact, this entire book elicits frequent Googling as the reader is inspired to look at the physical object being described and read a little further than Ocker's offerings.

The Business of Cursed Objects chapter included Annabelle the Doll and the Warren Collection, and all manner of haunted and travelling museums. The Curse in the Machine included James Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder and The Prague Orloj (a magnificent medieval astronomical clock in Prague) among other items of interest including chain emails, which I thought was a bit of a stretch.

In his chapter Why Aren't These Objects Cursed, the author makes a good point when wondering why objects like the Mitchell-Hedges Crystal Skull and the Skin Book of James Allen don't have a reputation for being cursed.

Cursed Objects by J.W. Ocker was easy to digest with each cursed artefact covered in a short chapter, including information on where the item is (if the location is known) and how many deaths have been attributed to it.

Cursed Objects by J.W. Ocker was akin to stumbling upon a random documentary while channel surfing and being sucked right in. It's only when I surfaced at the end of the book that I felt as though that might have been a waste of time, given I'd done most of the research myself in all that Googling. At the time however, I was happy for the bite size curse snacks delivered up by Ocker.

Published in 2020, Cursed Objects by J.W. Ocker is a light read recommended for those interested in history, social history, archaeology, the paranormal and of course curses. Even if you're a skeptic, there are plenty of facts, geography and history to sink your teeth into and some ripper stories.

I'm interested to know if you believe in curses, bad juju or karmic consequences, so let me know in the comments below.

My Rating:

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  1. Hi Tracey, this sounds fascinating! Whilst I wouldn’t say I was actively superstitious, I do believe in the power of positivity and rituals. So have a healthy respect for the beliefs of other people and their customs.
    I love reading and learning about all manner of rituals and customs.

    1. Thanks BookJewels, it's easy to understand how these stories build their own energy/power, which is interesting in of itself, even if you don't believe in the paranormal or supernatural.


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