Friday, July 18, 2014

The Cursed Delhi Purple Sapphire

The precious gemstone known as the Delhi Purple Sapphire is considered to have an “evil spirit” attached to it.

Delhi Purple Sapphire
This story first came to light in more recent years. A curious young curator at London’s Natural History Museum stumbled upon a note that was stored with the sapphire.

This gem is considered by most to be unremarkable in appearance. It is set in an unattractive silver ring, and it has never been regarded as rare or valuable. 

But the note that came with it, and the chilling tale it tells--captured the young curator’s attention.

It is believed the Delhi Purple Sapphire was looted from the Temple of Indra in India, during a violent Indian Mutiny, that occurred in 1857.

This temple honors the Hindu god of war and weather, and it is believed that when the gem was stolen this ancient idol placed a curse upon the stone.

Temple of Indra
After this mutiny, a Colonel W. Ferris, a Bengal Cavalryman, brought the sapphire home to England with him.

He quickly regretted this, for soon after his return, his family was plagued by both health and financial woes.

The family blamed the Purple Sapphire for a series of bad financial investments that Mr. Ferris and his son made. These investments led to their financial ruin.

The Ferris’ family firmly believed in the curse by the time, a friend who had possession of the stone, committed suicide with no apparent reason.

Edward Heron-Allen
Edward Heron-Allen, an author, was the next Englishman to own the Purple Sapphire. He came into possession of it in 1890.

He was a close personal friend of Oscar Wilde, and after a series of misfortunes befell him he told Wilde, he felt “an evil spirit” must be attached to the stone.

Heron-Allen --despite being a well-respected and educated man in several fields including science--told Wilde that he believed his trouble began with his possession of the sapphire.

He at one point gave the sapphire away twice, to friends, but both times they returned it to him stating that it had brought them “bad luck.”

Heron even attempted to get rid of the stone by throwing it into the Regent’s Canal. But a local jeweler returned it to him three months later, announcing to Heron-Allen’s chagrin, that a dredger had found it, and he had immediately recognized it as belonging to him.

This incident convinced the author that the stone must have a powerful curse on it.

After 14 years in possession of this gemstone, Heron-Allen’s daughter was born. He sealed the stone in a box and sent it to his bankers with strict instructions.

He told them to keep it locked away until his death.

National History Museum
Later Edward Heron-Allen bestowed the Purple Sapphire to London’s Natural History Museum, under the condition the box not be opened until three years after his death.

He stipulated that under no circumstances, should his daughter ever touch or possess the sapphire.

In 1943, after Heron-Allen’s death, this museum did receive the box. They put it aside not opening it--per the author’s instructions.

It wasn’t until long after the box arrived that the young curator mentioned above finally read the typewritten note. It ended with these words:

Whoever shall then open, shall first read out this warning, and then do as he pleases with the jewel. My advice for him or her is to cast it into the sea.”

Unfortunately, it appears this curse continues. A member of the museum, John Whittaker was tasked, in 2004, to take the Purple Sapphire to the Heron-Allen society for an event.

During his journey, Whittaker and his wife were trapped in their car--engulfed in a violent thunderstorm. They felt they were lucky to get out without injury.

Whittaker was tasked a second time to transport the sapphire but he became bedridden with a severe illness.

For a third time, Whittaker was tasked to transport the gem--this time severe pain overtook him, and he later passed a kidney stone.

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