A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

The Curse of Otzi the Ice Mummy

Back in 1991, the discovery of an astoundingly well-preserved ice mummy in the Alps sent ripples of excitement around the world. The mummy soon inspired imaginations as advanced analysis told us more and more about his life more than 5000 years ago, but then things became a little more mysterious. Since he was discovered, seven of the people associated with Otzi have died, and most of them unexpectedly, leading to growing rumours of a curse on those connected with him.

Let's start at the beginning, just a year after working on the body to find out as much as possible about his lifetime forensic pathologist Rainer Henn was killed in a car accident. Not long after, tragedy struck again, and this time it was Kurt Fritz – the mountaineer who led experts to Otzi – who died in an avalanche.

The string of tragedies doesn't stop there, and Rainer Holz the 47 year old documentary filmmaker who told the story of the removal of Otzi from the ice block died from a brain tumour not long after finishing the film. Next, one of the archaeologists involved in Otzi's journey died from complications connected to multiple sclerosis.

In 2004 the amateur climber who first discovered Otzi in the Alps – Helmut Simon – was caught in a sudden blizzard while climbing near the spot where he made his life-changing discovery, and he was discovered dead after being missing for 8 days. Just several hours after the funeral of Simon, one of the men who led the search and rescue mission to find him was taken ill and died from a heart attack at the age of 45, adding fuel to the growing rumours that those who became connected with the mummy seemed to be cursed with sudden, tragic deaths.

In 2005, another expert who worked closely on Otzi – a molecular biologist called Tom Loy – died unexpectedly and in circumstances that remain unclear today. When asked what their thoughts on the increasing concerns of a curse were his family dismissed them, and although his cause of death remains unexplained Loy's brother put the rumours down to superstition. It's undeniable that each of the unfortunates who passed away were linked by one common factor – that they were connected in some way to Otzi – but could it just be plain old coincidence?

One thing often pointed out by those who don't believe is the lengthy period of time over which the deaths happen, as many point out that it's just a sad fact of life that if you take any large group of people the coming decades will see several of them pass on…but it's the untimely nature of the deaths that points to something more sinister, especially as it was revealed that Otzi himself met a sudden death all those centuries ago (it's thought he was shot in the back of the head with an arrow). Whether the tragedies are simply that or the results of some kind of curse, the idea has added even more mystery to the stone age mummy.


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