The 39 Clues

Cahill

This beautiful 45-carat blue diamond has been coveted by many over the centuries—yet from the very beginning it has brought nothing but trouble to those who come in contact with it. A curse? Or something even more sinister? Decide for yourself.

According to legend, the diamond was stolen from the forehead of a Hindu idol by a priest, who was tortured for the theft. It resurfaced in 1642 in the hands of a French merchant named Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, who made a tidy profit but paid for it by being torn apart by a pack of rabid dogs. The gem landed in the possession of King Louis XVI of France and his wife, Marie Antoinette, both of whom were beheaded during the French Revolution. It disappeared for a while until a Dutch diamond cutter named Wilhelm Fals recut it—possibly to hide its true origin. Fals died of grief when his son Hendrik stole the diamond from him. Hendrik later killed himself.

A wealthy British banker named Henry Philip Hope acquired the diamond in 1830 and gave it its current name. He suffered the death of his only son. Hope's nephew inherited the stone and ended up losing a leg in a shooting accident. He went bankrupt and the family had to sell the jewel to pay his debts.

As the diamond passed from hand to hand, its owners suffered madness, suicide, murder, drowning, hanging, and stabbing. Thinking herself immune to this misfortune, Washington Post heiress Evalyn Walsh McLean bought the diamond from Pierre Cartier in 1911. Soon afterward, her son was killed in a car accident, her husband left her and squandered their fortune (later dying in a mental hospital), and her daughter died of a drug overdose. Evalyn was forced to sell the family newspaper business before her death.

The McLean family sold the stone to jeweler Harry Winston, who donated it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. James Todd, the mailman who delivered the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian, had his leg crushed in a truck accident, injured his head in a car accident, and lost his home in a fire.

Is all this trouble really caused by a Hindu curse? Or could there be a more logical explanation?

Some possibilities:

Coincidence. Bad things happen. It probably has nothing to do with a hunk of rock.

Conspiracy. What if all these so-called "accidents" weren't accidents at all . . . but murders made to look accidental? If you look closely at the backgrounds of all the people involved with the Hope Diamond—especially the French royalty, the British banking family and the American newspaper tycoon—you'll find a curious fact: they're all distantly related. In my family, when we fight, we give each other the silent treatment. But some families start fires, spike drinks with poison, and stab each other. Some families have secrets to protect—big secrets.

Aliens. What if the Hope Diamond isn't a diamond at all but a portal to another dimension, used by an alien race to enter our world and wreak havoc?

Curse? I think it's more than that. But if you want to believe all this trouble was caused by a statue, go right ahead. It's a free country . . . supposedly.