Sporting Curses

Modern Maledictions: The Case of Cristiano Ronaldo

February 2, 2016 // 0 Comments

The February 2016 issue of GQ features a cover story on soccer mega-star Cristiano Ronaldo. The profile, while typical of a celebrity spread in many ways (The cars! The money! The private islands!), also suggests that sporting curses (which we talked about here and here) are very much alive in our modern world. According to the story, the Real Madrid forward was the subject of a curse a few years back. The curse in question, laid by a man named Pepe the Wizard, is thought to be responsible for Read the full post...

Modern Maledictions: The Curse of the Billy Goat

December 9, 2014 // 1 Comment

No goats allowed. In a recent post we took a look at sports-related curses—i.e. curses which were employed by athletes and their fans to ensure victory against a competitor. While the ancients were busy “putting the fix in” for various sporting events, the tradition of sports-related curses is no less pertinent today. In 2012, during an NFL play-off, New England witches provided a bit of, uh, spiritual support for the New England Patriots by supernaturally boosting Tom Brady’s mojo. No Read the full post...

Make Him Powerless With the Horses: On Sports-Related Curse Tablets

November 11, 2014 // 1 Comment

Sports-related curses were extremely prevalent in the ancient world. In fact, it was assumed that those who competed in public contests regularly employed curses. Moreover, this was not just some literary fantasy—material evidence of lead curse tablets (defixiones or katadesmoi) bears this opinion out. To get specific, these curses were inscribed on lead tablets which were consigned to a strategic location, such as a water-well, a grave, or a victim’s main locus of operation. For example, a Read the full post...