The Bizarre Story of the Curse of Basano Vase

This fancy little vessel (see photo below); made of carved silver during the latter half of the 15th century, is the object of Italian folklore that continues to frighten and inspire.

Its history is foggy at best, but is believed to have been made as a wedding gift for a young woman in a northern village near Napoli. She is said to have either died or was murdered on her wedding night, clutching on the vase as she passed away.

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It was then passed around to family member to family member, causing death in one form or another until it was boxed and hidden away from sight. Some have claimed that it was hidden away by a priest; others say it simply disappeared, while others claim it was buried at an unknown time, only to be re-discovered in 1988.

Legend tells us that when the vase was found, a piece of parchment paper with the message: “Beware…This vase brings death” was discovered inside of it. The creepy warning was discarded, and the vase was quickly auctioned off for 4 million Lira (about 2,250 U.S. dollars) to a local pharmacist.

Three months later, he was dead. His family quickly sold it to a prominent surgeon who didn’t believe in such things as curses, and died two months later at the ripe old age of 37.

Basano Vase

After a short period of time it sold again, this time to an archeologist who saw the vase as a true artifact of the high Renaissance, and promptly added to his private collection. Three months later he died of an unknown infection.

His family decided to sell the fancy vase, but by this time the damned thing seemed to have a reputation to it, as it was considered bad luck. They were not able to get the five million Lira the unfortunate archeologist doled out, but they sold it.

Once again, the new owner died in the space of only one month after purchasing it. By this time, the Basano Vase was believed to be cursed by the townsfolk, especially the remaining families, and was tossed out of a window in haste.

And, with one last unearthly insult, the vase is said to have nearly hit a policeman in the head as it was flung out the window, who quickly offered the litter bug a fine for disorderly behavior. The owners of the haunted vase accepted the ticket, but not the vase, and turned it down flat, wishing to be arrested rather than take the thing back again.

Though the police decided to offer it to several museums, none wanted it, as they were aware of the curse. To date, several Italian newspapers have claimed that the local police had once again buried the vase in an undisclosed location, though some sources say that it was placed in a small lead coffin and buried on the grounds of an ancient cemetery where no one will dig it up — We’ll see.

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