stranger than fiction


The Cursed Amethyst

In 1890, Edward Heron-Allen received the stone. Heron-Allen was an ambitious man with an insatiable quest for knowledge, having written books on violin-making, palmistry, and translations of Arabic literature. Yet he soon found himself rattled by a series of disasters. Perhaps not making the connection to his recent acquisition, he gave the stone to a friend who was a singer who suddenly found “her voice was dead and gone,” and she never sang again.

Desperate to be rid of the thing, Heron-Allen tossed it into Regent’s Canal. Yet three months later, after having been rescued from the depths by a dredger, a dealer gave it back to him. Heron-Allen declared the amethyst “cursed and stained with blood” and he had it secreted away in his bank vault within seven locked boxes.

Three years after his death in 1943, as he’d instructed, his daughter unlocked the amethyst and gave it to the museum, although accompanied by a letter that cautioned against the lilac stone’s history of evil, reportedly reading: “Whoever shall then open it, shall first read out this warning, and then do as he pleases with the jewel. My advice to him or her is to cast it into the sea.”

Read more contemporary misfortunes associated with The Cursed Amethyst on Atlas Obscura's 31 Days of Halloween: Day 2!