Personal Effects: The case of the cursed pin

Published 4:28 pm Saturday, October 28, 2017


Question: Dear Jerry, you asked for a haunted object for your column and I think that I might have something for you to ponder. This gentleman’s stick pin has been in my family since the 1880s. The shank is very short and a historic clothing expert said that it was likely worn on a lapel or in an ascot.

It was originally owned, and I guess purchased, by my great-great-grandfather Peter Maurer Hahn. Peter was a successful business man and was considered quite wealthy. This pin was bought at a jewelry store in Milwaukee where he and his family lived. 

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We had the box but it’s since disappeared, no surprise there, when I tell you the story. 

When Peter senior died his eldest son, Peter Hahn Jr., inherited the majority of his jewelry, a few watches, other pins, cufflinks, shirt studs and the like. While wearing this pin Peter Jr. was in a buggy accident that nearly killed him. Again, while wearing this same pin he suffered a severe cut to his arm, when a downtown plate glass window shattered for no reason. 

A third time while wearing the pin he stepped on a large nail inside the home of a business partner. No one knows how or why this nail was poking up in the hallway of a fine home. This puncture lead to serious blood poisoning. Blood poisoning that his wife swore ended his life early some years later. 

After this nail incident he had since stopped wearing or handling the pin. His effects were divided among his two sons. Simon Hahn received this pin in his selections. By this time the legend was firmly entrenched. After several years, Simon wore the pin on a winter coat. That afternoon he fell breaking his left ankle and left wrist. 

His brother John, thinking it just wishful cursing, took the pin when offered. This is the first time that the pin had not been inherited. A few days later, he wore it while horseback riding and was thrown from a previously gently horse. He suffered a concussion and a broken left wrist as well. He didn’t return the pin to his brother, who did not want it anyway, and never wore it again. 

His son, Karl Hahn, my grandfather, inherited it and he wore it twice. He wore it on a date with his then sweetheart, soon to be my grandmother. While wearing it he was struck on the shoulder by a falling hammer at a construction site where they were walking. This resulted in a long healing and painful broken shoulder. Years later, while wearing it in a tie, as his wife was pouring coffee, the handle of a porcelain coffee pot sheared off. It spilled scalding coffee all over his right arm, thigh and lap. No one can explain that. It was like it became unglued. 

The pin wasn’t worn again until it was given to his son Richard, my father. By this time, Dad was very aware of the curse, as we frankly call it. But on a dare, he kept it in the pocket of his tuxedo jacket for his high school promenade. Mid way through the dance, he collapsed bent over double with a ruptured appendix. A four-hour surgery and a two-week hospital stay convinced Dad of its power.

I was the next heir after my father passed away. I refuse to touch it with my bare hands. 

The curse struck again, this time I think it was the most dangerous — when my son Ralph wore the pin on his tweed blazer for his first serious job interview in the early 1990s. I didn’t know this, he just thought it was an elegant pin in my dresser box. While walking across campus with some future colleagues, his hand slightly touched a light pole in the parking lot. Technicians later said that the coating on a wire had been worn away and was touching the metal housing causing the entire pole to become electrified. The jolt was enough that it knocked him four feet away and stopped his heart and breathing. The people with him worked on him until the ambulance came. The ambulance crew restored his heart and breathing, after much effort. 

After a few days in the hospital he was released with no other serious effects, other than a second-degree burn to his hand. Since then the pin has not been worn. Only once and that was a female. My precious daughter-in-law slipped it into one of the folds of her wedding dress when she got married. Married, that it to my son, my son, that that pin almost killed. She had no ill effects that day or soon there after. I was upset when I found out, because my son was physically so close to her and I feared for her safety too. She just didn’t understand.

Its original velvet box is gone. It was once there and now it gone. It used to be kept in a miniature chest of drawers in our bedroom. It never failed, that if it was placed in one of the lager drawers on the bottom, that upon next inspection it would be in one of the smaller drawers on the top and vise versa. I grew paranoid over it and experimented with it for years. Changing the room, the jewelry box, locking the door and it always shifted around. 

I guess about 10 years ago my wife found it in the empty ashtray beside the chair I sit. Another time it was found in the bathroom, stuck in a bar of soap. EVERYONE swore that they’d never touched it. I believe them. I called in a friend of ours who deals in ghost hunting. They were very excited over it. They did all manner of tests on it. They said that on nearly every test they gave it was off the charts. An EMF meter was constantly off the chart in its readings. Odd lights would appear around it when photographed. These photographs are now missing. One of the members who is a medium said that it had a very strange feel to it and that she didn’t want discuss it anymore. 

So there. After talking with them and some other knowledgeable people, including our priest. I now keep it in my bank safety deposit box. It’s wrapped in a blessed white cloth in a plastic film canister. The film canister is kept in a slightly larger container with sea salt, a scrap of silver and a written blessing inside it. And there it can stay. 

For insurance purposes it was appraised in 1997. The jeweler said it is not marked but tested at 18kt yellow gold and the stone is an oval lapis lazuli cabochon. It measures about 20 mm. His report stated that it would have a replacement value of $70.

Jerry, just what am I to do with this piece. I have two grandsons and I sure don’t want them to come in contact with it. They don’t even know about it, but then they are just 10 and 13. Should I dispose of it, toss it in the river, sell it or what? Am I crazy? Could this even be real? I think that Peter Hahn Sr. was a peaceful and happy man with a wife, children and business holdings. I don’t think that he or any of my older ancestors tangled with a witch or an angry gypsy. My ever faithful wife took these photos for you. I know that this is more than you wanted to know. I want you to print this, if you can just change the names. I don’t want kooks trying to call or visit me. Thanks for taking the time to read this novel.

Answer: Wow! That is quite a story. I’m not sure what to say or even where to start. I reached out to a friend of mine to see if she could glean from this tale. Items can indeed be carriers for negative energy. Pop literature, legends and movies tell of such things like, Robert the doll, Annabell another doll and of course you can’t forget the curse upon the objects of King Tutankhamun. 

I can’t understand how your great-great-grandfather could have had this pin and lived so well? I certainly wouldn’t think that he’d put a curse upon it for future generations. Could it have been something that was placed upon the pin after his death? One may never know.

I think that the value is still fairly current. So, if you do dispose of it, it’s no major financial hardship. You know there is an active market on sites like eBay for haunted or cursed items. With a story like this it could be lucrative AND solve a problem for you. I know one thing, you’re storing it right. Do not handle it with bare hands, that’s first, right off the bat. Personally, I would not have this in my home or around anyone bearing the same family name. 

It’s great that you have it stored in salt, as sea salt in particular has a type of grounding effect on negative energy. It’s extra assurance that it’s been blessed. But what do you do with it, being you have two grandsons with the same surname? I looked around and found on the internet ways that you use to could get rid of the curse: 

A. toss it into a living body of water; like a river or ocean. 

B. Give it away to someone else.

C. Boil it in living water.

D. Leave it in the middle of a cross roads. I would keep it where it’s at for the time being. Have with it at all time this history and very boldly state that the consequences could be dangerous or deadly if worn or carried by a male member of your family. 

And you know, it might just be a case of this pin being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thanks for a great question and story.