As long as humanity has had beliefs in a higher power, the use of magic, spells, curses, and incantations have featured widely across cultures. A number of influential texts or ‘grimoires’ (textbooks of magic) were developed over the centuries, many of which became the books of choice for secret societies and occult organizations that endured well into the twentieth century.
The history of curses varies between cultures, locations, religions or beliefs, and times. However, the intention of the curse has consistently been to conjure a supernatural power to inflict misfortune or punishment on a target. A curse, sometimes called jinx, hex, or dark spell, can be verbalized, written, or sometimes cast through elaborate ritual. The aim is to see harm befall the recipient - bad luck may dog them, death may take them, or any number of dire (or annoying) fates may plague them. In antiquity a curse was a powerful phenomenon, often viewed as the summoned wrath of gods, or the presence of evil forces.It was believed that those finding themselves cursed could seek help from magic practitioners, shamans, religious leaders, healers or witchdoctors, and have the curse reversed through counter rituals or prayer. A way to avoid being cursed in the first place was to possess certain items of protection or warding.The purpose of spells and curses were, and remain today, aimed at punishing or changing behavior, warding off disaster, and controlling the actions of other people.