• Laura LaBrie

The Curse of the Black Fist

Updated: Sep 7


There are many shipwrecks off the Caribbean shores of Mexico. Dozens of Spanish galleons kissed the siren’s reef and many a sailor was assigned a place in Davy Jones’ locker. But there is one particular wreck, just off the beach in dangerous surf, where a magical, or “cursed” if you will, amulet made its way once again above the waves.


Let me tell you a story . . .


Two men took a small boat out to the shipwreck, a Spanish Galleon merchant ship complete with cannons. Because of the reef and the crashing surf, it was impossible to reach the wreck by swimming out from shore. They dove on the ruins, bringing up old leaded glass, kitchen trikets, and small emeralds. While diving, one of the men found a smallish black carving of a fist. Intrigued, he put it in his dive bag and brought it back up to the boat.


(Note: While this is NOT the same wreck as the wreck inour story, it is from the same time and is in the same area. The emeralds you see in the photo above and in this video clip are the same as the gems found on our shipwreck, which for now, shall remain unnamed.)


When they reached the shore, he looked the black fist over more carefully and discovered that it had a small loop on one end. It must have originally been a necklace, perhaps belonging to one of the sailors hundreds of years ago. Thinking it would be fun to wear it, he found a waxed chord, pushed it through the loop on the carved figure, and tied it around his neck.


That was when the trouble started.


On his way back home to Florida, his sailboat sunk. When he finally made it home, he lost his job and his girlfriend left him. All manner of lesser bad things happened, and he decided to get rid of the necklace as soon as possible. When he returned to Mexico, he took the black fist and threw it back in the sea, back on the shipwreck where it had originally been found.


But apparently, it did not want to stay there.


Not long after, two more men were diving on the wreck. They were friends with the first two and were excited to see what they might find after hearing stories of emeralds and other relics scattered on the reef and in the sand. Without knowing the story of the black fist, a second diver found it and again brought it to shore. This one did the same thing as the first. He found a chord and put the fist around his neck. And soon awful things began to happen to him!


When he returned home to the US, his entire life began to fall apart. Finally, he figured out that his awful luck must be somehow tied to the carved fist he had drawn from the sea. So, he called his father who was a dealer in art antiquities. His father, upon hearing a description of the artifact, explained that such items were commonly made for sailors as amulets of protection. Each figurine was blessed specifically for the sailor it was made for, and no one else!


The father gave his son the phone number of a woman in New Orleans, a powerful woman whom he believed could break the curse. So, the son called the woman.


The phone rang.


When she answered, she didn’t bother to say, “Hello.” She simply said, “You need ta get ridda dat ting.”


And then she proceeded to tell the man that he needed to put it in a glass jar full of salt-sand, seal the jar, and take it back to the wreck it came from. She explained that sealing it in salt-sand would protect him from the curse until he could throw the amulet back into the sea.


Soon the man was back on a plane headed for Mexico, the glass jar with its relic buried in salt-sand packed carefully among his things. As soon as possible after his arrival, he took the jar out to the reef, opened it, and threw its contents back into the sea, onto the wreck, where the little carved black fist sunk once more beneath the waves.


They say it is too dangerous to swim out to the wreck. The surf pounds and swirls, making it impossible to navigate the sharp coral heads. The only way you can get safely out to the dive site is by boat. Of course, if you choose to slip below the frothy white surface and bring back treasures from the old galleon, be careful of what you scoop up out of the sand. Twice the amulet has freed itself from Davy Jones’s locker. I am sure it is trying to figure out a way to do it again!


Thinking of going swimming,

Laura

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