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Credit to this article which inspired me to research the topic.
Throughout history people have feared curses. In Republic Plato said, “If anyone wishes to injure an enemy; for a small fee they (sorcerers) will bring harm on good or bad alike, binding the gods to serve their purposes by spells and curses.”
They are considered a form of black/red magic that is specifically designed to hurt a person of the casters choosing. A curse often takes the form of an effigy; almost everyone has heard of a voodoo doll (pictured above). These effigies can be made from various materials, commonly wood, clay or fabric. It is usually fashioned to resemble its intended target and linked to them with blood, hair, nail clippings, or some other personal item. The theory is that in harming this doll, the victim will suffer similar injury. During the witch hunts it was commonly claimed that witches frequently used effigies on their enemies.
When most people hear the word curse they will immediately think of Egypt. In ancient Egypt magicians commonly fashioned their effigies in the form of Apep, a monstrous figure who was the enemy of Ra. Through destroying effigies in the form of Apep it was believed one could cleanse the land of evil. However, the curses of ancient Egypt are most commonly linked to tombs or pyramids, specifically the opening of them once sealed. Perhaps the most well known was the curse of King Tutankhamun which supposedly plagued Howard Carter and his team. You can read about the discovery of the tomb here and more about the curse here. Nor was Tutankhamun the only person believed to hound those who disturbed his rest. You can read more about such curses here, including one that was recently discovered on the Dynasty 3 tomb of Petety at Giza (you can see the actual inscription here).
In the modern world we remain fascinated by curses or hexes. Some you may, or may not already know about include the 27 club, the Kennedy curse (which allegedly played out through generations of the same family) and a number of songs which are said to be cursed.
I have included a number of links on the topic if you wish to explore it further.
Articles about curses
Remove a curse (note, bright red background).
Native American curse (President curse).
Egyptian afterlife and curses