far, seven people associated with the Iceman or his discoverers have
died. When these deaths are added up and viewed together, some people
have concluded that a Curse of Ötzi truly exists.
Here are the deaths, in
order of occurrence:
Henn, 64, a forensic pathologist from the University of Innsbruck who
placed the Iceman in a body bag with his bare hands (you can read
about the recovery of the body in some detail in Fowler's Iceman;
a picture of Henn helping to place the body into a coffin is included
in her book). A year later, he was killed in an automobile
accident on his way to a conference where he would discuss the results
of his work on the Iceman.
Fritz, 52, a mountain guide who supposedly led Dr. Henn to the
Iceman's body and who was said to have uncovered the Iceman's face
when it was recovered from the ice (NOTE: this is far from the
official report according to Fowler's
book and Fritz's name isn't mentioned in her book,
which is the most comprehensive source to date. It may be that he
simply organized the helicopter transportation for the Iceman's body
off the mountain). He was killed in an avalanche.
death: Rainer Hölz,
47, a filmmaker who made a documentary about the recovery of Ötzi
from the ice for the ORF network. He died of a brain tumor.
Simon, 69, who, along with his wife, discovered the Iceman's body. His
body was discovered October 23, 2004, after he went missing while on a
mountain hike. Eight days after he
had failed to return from a mountain hike, searchers discovered Simon's body in a
stream. He apparently died after a 300 foot fall on Austria's
Gaiskarkogel peak. Searchers believe that he was hiking on an unmarked
path when he fell.
Warnecke, 45, who headed the rescue team looking for Simon's frozen
body. He died of a heart attack just hours after Helmut Simon's
Spindler, 66, who led the scientific team that recovered and examined
the Iceman in Innsbruck, Austria, in 1991. According to
newspaper accounts, Spindler died from complications related to
death: Tom Loy,
63. a molecular
archaeologist who discovered human blood on Ötzi's
weapons and clothing and who was featured in a National Geographic
documentary about the Iceman in 2002. Family members
confirmed that Loy suffered from a hereditary blood disease (that
caused blood clots to form), first diagnosed about 1992o...when Loy first began work on the Iceman.
Of course, anyone
interested in exploring the possibility of a curse would have to ask
some key questions:
how many people have
worked on or come into contact with the Iceman since he was
discovered in 1991?
is their death rate
significantly higher than the ordinary population?
how unusual is it
for 7 people associated
with the Iceman's discovery or his discoverers to die (considering
they would be dying one day anyway)?
When this same type of
analysis was done for the "Curse of King Tut's Tomb," the theory
of the curse fell apart.
And at least one other
question must also be asked:
Anyone interested in
selling more newspaper and magazines (or on-air advertisements for
television "documentaries") stands to gain whenever
"the curse of Ötzi" is publicized, with another name added to the growing list of the deceased.
And the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology (the Iceman's home in
Bolzano, Italy) probably gains, since any publicity may well increase
attendance at the museum.
But the simple truth of
the matter is: there is no such curse, no matter what the media