Is This Man Cursed?
If you found a black bag floating in the ocean, would you open it up and look inside? We would be afraid of finding some disgusting, rotting trash. But one brave LAist reader tells us he did just that, only to find what appears to be a once-beating animal heart with a mysterious photo of a man's face rolled up inside of it.
Anthony, a 38-year-old social worker, told us his story. He asked us not to use his last name lest he get in trouble for interfering with someone's love spell or curse (because more curses!). Anthony told us he saw a black bag floating in the Long Beach ocean yesterday around 6 p.m. near Ocean Boulevard, not far from the Long Beach Museum of Art. He thought it was litter and went to get it out of the water to chuck it in the trash. But when he grabbed the bag, he realized it was heavy, so he decided to investigate and open it.
"My friends and I were joking it was going to be a head or hand or something weird," Anthony says.
And he was kind of right. He says there was a Tupperware container filled with soapy water and a heart, which he thinks may be a calf heart. (We stared long and hard at Google Images of different types of animal hearts, but couldn't figure it out ourselves.) He saw something rolled up in it, so he used a straw to push it out. That's when he found the photo of the bearded man.
Anthony's email subject line indicated he was concerned: "Should we let this guy know someone put a spell on him?" He also added, "Maybe we can do a shout-out and let this guy know someone's gunning for him, or maybe he's dead and it was his heart that I found?"
Whatever he found, it's been disposed of.
"I took some photos and then properly disposed of the items (kicked the heart back into the ocean, put the litter in the trash can)," Anthony says.
We decided to do some investigating of our own to find out if this man was in trouble, cursed by some black magic or about to fall in love very soon. This is 2015, so there's also the possibility that this is all part of some dumb marketing ploy. (If this turns out to be guerrilla marketing to advertise some new TV show, we might have to cast a curse of our own.)
We started off by contacting Long Beach Police Department spokesperson Nancy Pratt, on the off chance that the man in the photo is dead or missing. She said she hadn't heard anything about this but agreed that it was bizarre. However, when we asked her if she'd like to see the photo, she said she didn't want it, saying the department wouldn't have any idea who this person is. We're not going to tell anyone how to do their job, but we don't think she took us very seriously! We're a little skeptical about the whole situation, too, however, a part of us was curious about whether this was an attempt to cast a spell or curse. (Disclaimer: we're fans of The Craft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)
So, we moved on to our next source: Tea Cake, a long-time practicing witch who's also an artist, psychic and tarot card reader. She tells LAist that surprisingly, using animal parts isn't as common in pagan rituals as one might think, so that leads her to believe that this is a spell from a different belief system. However, based on her speculation with the information we were able to give her, Cake thinks this is a curse, and it may have been executed by a jilted lover. She wrote to us:
The use of a heart is likely to be symbolic of a matter of love or something pertaining to betrayal and emotional matters. Animal and human bodies and body parts have been used in curses throughout history and in various different ways. Sometimes the body part is used as a representative of the person the curse or spell is aimed at, not unlike the use of wax effigies and dolls, and may be stuck with pins or a knife or other sharp object. Organic material such as bodies or body parts may be used in instances such as this because they naturally decompose rapidly and the intention may be that by the time the item has decomposed, the subject of the curse will suffer the full effect of whatever it is that has been wished upon them. Often, these types of curses are intended to kill but obviously, it is hard to say for sure with so little surrounding and supporting evidence. Somebody has gone to great effort to procure the heart and conduct this ritual. As it looks pretty fresh in the picture and last night was a full moon, I expect it was very recently cast out to sea. I imagine the person in this photograph has upset somebody and, out of retaliation, hurt and desperation, the person has stabbed his photo through this heart, left it in a container and solution that will slow the process of decomposition to perhaps prolong the effects of the curse until, ultimately, it is finished and the person who wronged them has suffered the full extent of their ire.
Cake says that since she doesn't know how strong of a curse or spell this is, she can't say if the curse has been broken since Anthony found it. So, whoever this guy is, he may still be cursed. As for Anthony, we were a little concerned for his well-being if any of this magic talk was true, but Cake assured us that she doesn't think any harm will come to him for opening the bag.
Anthony has some ideas of his own as to what's going on. He later sent us an email saying, "From what I've read so far, it's probably a love spell. Hope I didn't ruin someone's relationship :("
If anyone has any idea who this mystery guy in the photo is, we'd love to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.