31 Oct 1967 – Valentino’s Cursed Ring

What would Halloween be without a story such as the one that you are going to be reading in a moment. First off, the Internet has all sorts of stories about Valentino’s Cursed Ring posted on Facebook groups, websites and blogs. So I found an old book that had something about Valentino’s Cursed Ring which I thought you the reader might enjoy.

In the vault of a Los Angeles bank lies a silver ring set with a semi-precious stone. It is not a particularly pretty ring or even a very valuable one (depends on story version). But the chances are that no one will ever dare to wear it again. For it bears one of the most malicious curses in the history of the occult. Successive owners have suffered injury, misfortune, even death. After all these years, people still believe that it was this ring that send Rudolph Valentino to a premature grave. Certainly, the violent incidents that have surrounded it over the past 60 years or more can hardly be shrugged off as mere coincidence. It was in 1920, that Valentino, at the peak of his success, saw the ring in a San Francisco Jewelry Store. The proprietor warned him that the ring had a record of ill-luck, but Valentino still bought it. He wore the ring in his next picture, “The Young Rajah” which is now a lost film. This film was the biggest flop of his career to date and he was cut-off from the screen for the next two years. He did not wear the ring again until he used it as a costume prop in “Son of the Sheik”. Three weeks after finishing the film, he went on tour to New York. While wearing the ring, he suffered an acute attack of appendicitis. Two weeks later, he was dead. Pola Negri, alleged fiancé’ of the now deceased movie star asked to pick a memento from Valentino’s possessions, chose the ring and almost immediately suffered a long period of ill health that threatened to end her film career. A year later, while convalescing, she met a man who was almost Valentino’s double: Russ Colombo, who was competing as a crooner against Bing Crosby and Rudy Vallee. When Pola was introduced to him, she was so struck by his resemblance to Valentino that she gave him Rudolph’s ring, saying “From one Valentino to another”. Within a few days of receiving the gift Russ Colombo was killed in a shooting accident. His cousin passed the ring on to Russ’s best friend, Joe Casino. Also, at the height of his popularity as an entertainer, Casino took no chances with the ring. Instead of wearing it, he kept it in a glass case in memory of his dead friend. When he was asked to donate the ring to a museum of Valentino relics, he refused, saying he treasured it for sentimental reasons. As time passed, Joe Casino forgot the ring’s evil reputation and put it on. A week later, still wearing the ring he was knocked down by a truck and killed. By now, the curse was front-page news. When asked what he proposed to do with to do with the ring, Joe’s brother Del explained that he could not allow himself to be intimidated by a curse or a ghost or whatever it was. He didn’t believe in things like that. Del Casino wore the ring for some time and indeed nothing untoward happened. Then he lent it to a collector of Valentino relics who suffered no-ill effects either. This caused several newspapers to speculate that at last the evil influence of the ring had come to an end. And that, it seemed was enough to trigger off a new wave of violence. One night soon afterwards, the home of Del Casino was burgled. The burglar, a man named James Willis, was seen by the police running form the scene. A policeman fired a warning shot but the bullet went low, and killed Willis. Among the loot found in his possession was the Valentino Cursed Ring. It was that time that Hollywood producer Edward Small decided to make a film based on Valentino’s career. Only 21 years old, Dunn died 10 days later from a rare blood disease. A year after Jack Dunn’s death, a daring raid was carried out in broad daylight on a Los Angeles Bank in which the thieves got away with a haul of over $200,000. In a subsequent police ambush, two of the gang members were caught and three passersby were injured. The bank robber’s leader Alfred Hahn, was ultimately jailed for life. At his trial, Hahn remarked “If I’d have known what was in that vault apart from money, I’d have picked myself another bank”. For in the bank’s safe deposit was Valentino’s Cursed Ring. The executers of Del Casino, who have owned the ring for the past ten years, have left it in the bank vault under lock and key. It has not seen the light of day for years. But the bank is now allowed to forget its existence. Since 1960, there has been a $50,000 robbery, a fire, and a 3 week strike of cashiers. Can an inanimate object exert a malign influence on those who come in contact with it? All those over the years, suffered the curse of Valentino’s ring have little doubt it can. It you doubt this then I guess it makes a great Halloween story.


The Strange and Uncanny (1967).

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