The Cursed Tomb Of Casimir IV Jagiellon Explained

According to Britannica, Casimir IV Jagiellon was the Grand duke of Lithuania who later became king of Poland in 1447. He ruled until his death and is known for being one of the most victorious Polish rulers (per Ancient Origins). His accomplishments include destroying the Teutonic Order, which subsequently added Prussia to Polish territory. In addition, Casimir strengthened the Jagiellon dynasty and increased Poland's wealth and status. A different article from Britannica characterizes his overall rule as peaceful and prosperous.

Per Find a Grave, Casimir died at 64 of unknown causes on June 7, 1492. On the day of his death, the weather was hot, and his body was decaying quickly. As a result, they placed him in a wooden coffin covered with textile and resin, which would later prove a mistake. Casimir was buried in Wawel Cathedral in Krakow, where he would remain undisturbed for nearly 500 years. That is until Pope John Paul II, then the archbishop of Krakow, stepped in. According to Larry Orcutt, he allowed 12 researchers to open and examine Casimir's remains, with the end goal being restoration.

The curse was caused by fungus

Per Ancient Origins, as Poland was a socialist country at the time, the examination of Casimir IV Jagiellon's remains was a big deal because it was difficult for archeologists to obtain the proper consent to historical sites. On April 13, 1973, the researchers went ahead and opened the tomb at Wawel Cathedral. But before they did, History reports that they joked around about a possible curse. This is a reference to King Tut's Curse, which allegedly had nine victims after the discovery of his tomb in 1922 (via Mental Floss).  However, it seems that the Polish researchers got more than they bargained for. 

When they opened Casimir's tomb, they found his rotted wood coffin and his decayed corpse (per Larry Orcutt). After a few days of research, four members of the team died. Several others followed. Those who were left had ongoing health issues. Had they unleashed a curse? It turns out, what they had actually unleashed was Aspergillus flavus, a deadly fungus. Traces of it were found in the tomb and are said to cause infections in mammals if inhaled, especially those with weakened immune systems. In 1999, a German microbiologist studied several mummies and found that all of them had mold spores that could cause potential health risks. It's advised that those in poor health do not visit any tombs so that they don't become a victim of the "curse."