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24 September 2014
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The 'Cursing Stone'.
The 'Cursing Stone'.

Curse of the Cursing Stone

It is an ancient curse brought up to date, and residents in Carlisle claim it has brought them disasters from disease to the relegation of the local soccer team.


Since the installation of the sculpted granite "Cursing Stone" inscribed with a 16th Century curse in one of Carlisle's museums in 2001 misfortune has plagued the city.

Livestock herds around the city on the border with Scotland were wiped out by foot-and-mouth disease, there has been a devastating flood, factories have closed, a boy was murdered in a local bakery and Carlisle United soccer team dropped a league.

"As time has gone the last five years - various things have happened. We have had floods, pestilence, a great big fire in the city."
Councillor Jim Tootle

Local councillor Jim Tootle insists the stone, designed by artist Andy Altman who arranged the inscription of the 1,069 word-long curse against robbers, blackmailers and highwaymen who plagued the area 500 years ago, is destroyed or removed.

Councillor Mike Mitchelson, leader of Carlisle City Council, said: "The removal of the stone has been proposed by a council member and will be discussed as part of our Council meeting next Tuesday.

"We're obliged to address his comments, but estimate that it will cost the council several thousands of pounds to remove the stone."
"Carlisle is still in the process of recovering from the devastating January floods and our efforts are concentrated towards providing as much help as we can to local residents and businesses."
"The Council will need to look at whether the removal of the stone is a financial priority for the local area."

The city council also say local Christian groups, including the Bishop of Carlisle, were consulted and were in agreement with the "Cursing Stone" and a blessing was included within the artwork taken from The Bible, Philippians 4 Verse 6.

Artist Young, a descendant of one of the reiver families, has angrily compared the plan to the destruction of the giant Buddhas in Bamiyan by Afgahnistan's Taliban regime in 2001.
"It is of that order. They want to smash it to pieces. It is a powerful work of art but it is certainly not part of the occult," he said.
"If I thought my sculpture would have affected one Carlisle United result, I would have smashed it myself years ago."

last updated: 19/03/06
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