1903, August 1 (pre): The Fatal Ring of the Paris Morgue

The Legend:

Sometime previous to August 1, 1903 (when an account of this was published), M. Mace, who was Chief of the Detective Police of Paris from 1879 to 1884, stated that over the course of fifty years corpses have arrived at the Paris morgue five times wearing the same distinct ring. This ring, of a peculiar design and easily recognized, was noted among the articles of clothing of five corpses... this curious circumstance apparently led to an inquiry about the ring being made to relatives of the last corpse to be found wearing it, who claimed the ring had once had a curse placed upon it to the effect of "may whosoever wears that ring die a miserable death." It was passed on from the dead to the living at least four times... and the ring's appearance and whereabouts are currently unknown.


        The earliest I have found this story is in a newspaper from 1903, though I have seen it in at least two other later papers which simply repeat the story. While it's strange that relatives of the last person to die would know of the curse, that's not necessarily a problem that could kill the story.

        A problem that could kill the story is even simpler: there was no man by the last name of "Mace" in charge of the Paris branch of the Police between 1879 and 1884... nor anytime near that, if ever. For that 1879-1884 date range, the following three men were in charge of the Police in Paris:

  • Albert Gigot: December 17, 1877 – March 3, 1879
  • Louis Andrieux: March 4, 1879 – July 16, 1881
  • Jean Louis Ernest Camescasse: July 16, 1881 – April 23, 1885

For this reason, along with the lack of previous mentions in print that I can find, I'm marking this account as "Unreliable"... and it's darn close to me marking it as a "False Lead," a story that has no factual basis to begin with.

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