Cursed tomb of the Polish king Casimir IV Jagiellon

(ORDO NEWS) — When permission was obtained in 1973 to exhume the coffin of King Casimir IV Jagiellon, Polish archaeologists were delighted.

Such permission is given only in extremely rare cases, and they will be given the privilege of inspecting the tomb of the deceased king.

However, little could have prepared them for what was to come. Many believed that the reason for this was the “curse of the king’s tomb.”

Casimir IV Jagiellon: Duke of Lithuania

Casimir IV Jagiellon, son of the Polish king Vadislav II Jagello, was born on November 20, 1427. Vladislav, an elderly father, was 75 years old when Kazimir was born.

As he was second in line to the throne, Casimir received no formal education, did not attend Latin classes, and received little knowledge regarding the duties of a crowned person.

At the age of thirteen, Casimir was proclaimed Grand Duke of Lithuania. It is said that during his reign as duke, he treated everyone equally, regardless of race or religion. However, just three years later, his father, King Vadiso II, died suddenly due to an incurable cold.

Poland was suddenly handed over to Casimir’s older brother Vladislav III, but not for long. In 1444, only a year after his father’s death, the new king Vladislav III was killed in the Battle of Varna. In 1449, Casimir, Duke of Lithuania, was crowned King of Poland.

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Casimir I was a beloved and successful king

It was an inauspicious start, but for many years before his death the king came to be regarded as one of Poland’s most successful rulers.

In 1466, he managed to defeat the Teutonic Order by facing them face to face in the so-called Thirteen Years’ War. In addition, he regained one of the most important cities in Poland near the Baltic Sea, the city of Pomerania.

With a strong and trusted parliament and advisers around him, the young monarch succeeded in raising the economic position of Poland by uniting Prussia with the Polish state.

Casimir became one of the most progressive Polish kings and founded one of the most prestigious and powerful dynasties in all of Europe through his determined and successful political efforts.

Dead king and decaying body

But, it couldn’t last forever. On a hot sunny day in June 1492, King Casimir IV died at the age of 64 of an unknown cause.

However, there was one oddity: almost immediately after his death, it was noticed that the remains of the late king decomposed much faster than was characteristic of a freshly deceased body.

The body was covered in calcium salt, draped in expensive silks, and placed in a wooden coffin, which was sealed with pitch to preserve it for the journey to Wawel Cathedral, where it would be buried forever. The great ruler of Poland was buried on July 11, 1492.

Royal relics and tombs changed hands between various authorities until they were taken over by Poland’s communist government in the 1970s, which imposed very strict regulations.

Even the requests of eminent scientists and researchers to exhume the remains of King Casimir IV for research and preservation were rejected.

The coffin was not dug up until Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the reluctant archbishop of Krakow who later became Pope John Paul II, demanded an exhumation.

When the Polish media learned that their beloved King Casimir IV was to be dug up, the story caught the attention of the nation.

Before the burial site was exhumed, archaeologists and townspeople joked that the tomb was cursed, and those who continue to excavate should tread carefully.

Such stories are common among ancient tomb researchers. Unfortunately, this joke ended in not very funny consequences.

Biological time bomb

Researchers opened the nearly 500-year-old coffin on April 13, 1973, and found that the wooden coffin had rotted away and what was left were parts of the king’s decaying corpse. At first glance, their findings were consistent with what was expected to be found in a medieval tomb.

But the curse took effect quickly. Four researchers who worked at the Wawel Cathedral to exhume the tomb died of infections in the next few days.

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Cursed tomb of Casimir IV. Something deadly lurked inside…

In addition, over time, up to fifteen researchers who either worked on site at the tomb of King Casimir IV or worked with artifacts in laboratories began to experience health problems and eventually died.

Curse of Aspergillus Flavus

In 1999, a German microbiologist examined the remains of several mummified corpses that had been exhumed from around the world. What he found were numerous types of mold spores that pose a potential risk to human health when inhaled.

Most of them contained a saprophytic and pathogenic fungus called Aspergillus Flavus. These fungi infect animals and cause allergies, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses in healthy people, but if ingested by an immunocompromised person, they are more likely to be fatal.

To avoid picking up an ancient curse, modern archaeologists studying ancient ruins or tombs must be in good health, have not recently been treated for cancer, and have no lung or cardiovascular disease.

Like the archaeologists and scientists who entered the tomb of King Tutankhamen, the researchers were unknowingly exposed to a deadly fungus. Looking into the tombs and into the past meant that they had signed their own death warrant.

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