Curses and Charms

Have people been visited by extremely bad fortunes caused by objects or spoken words that should have no ability to effect them? In short, do curses exist? And at the other end of the scale, can a like relationship cause extremely good fortune for a person; do charms exist? As simple as this grouping of ideas sounds initially, it implies a treasure trove of bizarre phenomena to explain even one possible case of a curse or charm existing. At the very least, the incident will appear to be a coincidence (which is borderline acceptable to scientists); at the very best (or worse, as the case may be), such an incident can imply magic spells, unseen spirits, psychic powers, and possibly reincarnation. Simply put, one proven case of a curse or a charm could open the door to study of paranormal phenomena as a whole field... but it doesn't look like that's happening soon.

        Many curse or charm stories are created after the fact, as an explanation for an odd series of unfortunate or fortunate events. Evidentially speaking, for a curse or charm to be scientific proof of anything, very specific things have to happen: first, the statement of the curse or charm's existence must be noted before events which will be blamed on them and, hopefully, they should be very clear about what sort of events are to be expected. Second, events have to happen that confirm the curse or charm and that can be shown to not have been manufactured with an eye to confirming said statement. Since all of this is impossible to do in advance of such an incident, there will always be room for a non-believer to argue for either fraud or faulty evidence... tricky. Nonetheless, please enjoy the following chronological list of accounts claiming to involve curses and charms, and may you always avoid the first and find the second.

        Oh, and don't get curses and charms confused with prophecies, omens, and coincidences. Prophecies predict future occurences, but don't cause them; curses and charm are implied to cause the circumstances they forecast. Omens, which are events believe to foretell of ill luck to come, are also not generally believed to be the cause of the predicted ill-luck. And coincidences are never predicted in advance... it's only after they occur that they are noticed.