Beware: This column may be cursed

You may not want to read this column. Chances are it?s cursed. At least, I know I am.

I?ve never been incredibly superstitious, although I have been known to throw some salt over my right shoulder when I see the reflection in a broken mirror of a black cat running under a ladder on Friday the 13th.

Of course, I?m just kidding.

However, I think I recently jinxed myself.

If you know anything about the history of Shakespeare, you are aware that one of his plays is cursed, and that even just mentioning its name?it starts with an ?M? and ends with ?acbeth??brings bad luck to yourself and anyone around you.

I made the mistake of saying the name of the play when discussing a class project with my girlfriend at a recent wrestling meet.

I did a presentation for my English class about Macbe?I mean, that play and its cursed history. As the legend goes, Shakespeare wrote three witch characters into the play and had them recite spooky incantations.

However, for a realistic effect, the Bard lifted actual black magic rituals and worked them into the script. Apparently those who believed the chants were sacred became offended and placed a curse on the play?a curse that holds through to today.

Legend has it that even the first production of the play on Aug. 7, 1606, ran into bad luck. The young boy who was to play the character of Lady Macbeth fell ill with a sudden fever and died. Shakespeare himself stepped in to do the part.

Since then, countless reports exist of the infamous curse plaguing stages, casts and crews.

During a 1703 performance, England was hit with one of the most violent storms in its history.

In the early 1930s, actress Lillian Boylis was to play the role of Lady Macbeth, but she died on the day of the final dress rehearsal.

Her portrait was in the theater, and when another production of the play was performed some time later, her portrait fell from the wall on opening night.

Also in the 1930s, actor Malcom Keen became mute onstage, and his replacement, Alistair Sim, developed a severe fever and had to be hospitalized.

In 1942, a production of the play headed by John Gielgud suffered three deaths in the cast.

In a 1953 outdoor production, actor Charlton Heston?s tights, which had accidentally been soaked in kerosene, caught fire when wind blew flames his direction.

And in 1988, the Broadway production starring Glenda Jackson and Christopher Plummer supposedly went through three directors, five Macduffs, six cast changes, six stage managers, two set designers, two lighting designers, 26 bouts of the flu, torn ligaments and groin injuries.

There are plenty more examples if you look online.

Maybe this will sound a little paranoid, but only minutes after I spoke the name of that play at the wrestling tournament, two drinks in the bleachers spilled.

No, seriously, it gets worse.

Later that day, a wrestler suffered a severe broken arm when his opponent?after their match had already ended?stood up by pushing off of his knee, which was on the other wrestler?s elbow.

As I was driving home from the meet, there was absolutely no decent music playing on the radio, not to mention that I was stuck behind an incredibly slow-moving vehicle.

That night at a late-season Christmas party, two plastic forks?belonging to two separate people at my table?snapped within minutes of each other. And at two o?clock the following morning I woke up with a terrible stomach ache.

My guess is that even as I write these words, the curse is still upon me.

However, there is a way to lift the curse. I did some research and all I have to do is leave the room, turn around three times to my right, spit on the ground, say the foulest word I can think of and then knock on the door and ask for permission to reenter.

Then again, maybe I?ll just let the curse run its course and see what else it will do. I could use the entertainment.

* * *

UFO: William Shakespeare never published any of his plays. They survive today only because his fellow actors, John Hem?minges and Henry Condell, recorded his work after his death as a dedication to their comrade.

Don?t ask why.

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