Otzi the Iceman – Part 4/4: The Iceman’s Curse (ca. 3300 BC)

By: The Scribe on Thursday, March 29, 2007

Otzi's curse

In the years following Otiz’s recovery from a glacier in the Otztal Alps, seven people connected in some way with the mummy’s discovery and research perished under allegedly “mysterious circumstances”. Although likely influenced by the media’s infatuation with the ‘Curse of the Pharaohs’, it is curious to note that four of these deaths were the result of violent accidents…

1.) Dr. Rainer Henn, 64: a forensic pathologist, Dr. Henn was the first victim of the ‘curse’. He was the head of the forensic team that examined Otzi’s body, and once picked up the cadaver with his bare hands to place it in a body bag. His death came as a result of a head-on collision with another vehicle in 1992… while he was driving to a conference where he was scheduled to present new research on Otzi.

2.) Kurt Fritz: shortly after Henn’s death, the second victim was an experienced mountain climber who had led Henn and his team to the iceman’s body. He was the only member of his party to be stuck by falling rocks during an avalanche in a region he was supposedly familiar with.

3.) Rainer Hoelzl, 47: the third victim, Hoelzl was an Austrian journalist who had filmed an exclusive documentary of the body’s removal from the ice, which was broadcast internationally. A few months later, he developed a mysterious illness – speculated to have been a brain tumor – and perished in extreme pain shortly thereafter.

4.) Helmut Simon, 67: a German tourist, it was Mr. Simon who had been hiking through the alps with his wife when he happened upon Otzi’s body in 1991. He returned to the region on an unaccompanied hike in 2004, and when he did not return as scheduled, rescue teams were dispatched… only to find that the weather had shifted suddenly to blizzard conditions, causing Simon to fall 100 metres into a deep ravine. His body was found eight days later, covered in ice much like the mummy.

5.) Dieter Warnecke, 45: head of the mountain rescue team that searched for Simon, Warnecke died of a heart attack – although according to his family, he was in perfect health. What is more, this occurred less than an hour after Simon’s burial.

6.) Konrad Spindler, 66: Spindler was the leading expert on Otzi before his death. Spindler suffered from a pre-existing chronic condition known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and it was in 2005 that complications with the condition arose which claimed his life. Before his death, he was quoted as being dismissive of the ‘Otzi’s curse’ theory, saying: “I think it’s a load of rubbish. It is all a media hype. The next thing you will be saying I will be next.”

7.) Dr. Tom Loy, 63: Dr. Loy died just prior to completing a book about Otzi, and had also on several occasions been in close physical contact with the mummy. His death came as a surprise to his family, though there is a possibility that Loy may have suffered from a pre-existing medical condition.

the last otzi picture

While the concept of cursed mummies is indeed intriguing, it is also worth noting that these deaths only totaled seven, even though there were hundreds of other individuals involved with Otzi’s discovery and the subsequent research on the body and associated artifacts.

Want to read more?

Tomorrow: Girls gone wild…in ancient Egypt??


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8 Comments so far

Shannon at November 7, 2007

this is kewl i need this for my report

taylor at December 13, 2007

this is cool beacause we are learning about the ice man in s.s. class. what i think is cool is the way they found him! we seen him in our book and all finnaly noticed t was a body. this is the classes reaction was “ewww” but we got over it. we all thought it was cool and we sopose to be reserching him now if we are done with our report.

hope you reply back,


Otto at May 14, 2008

It is interesting that people percieve a few deaths from hundreds of individuals working with Otzi to be a curse. There seems to be a common trend when it comes to preserved bodies such as Tutankhamun, Tollund man and Lindow man, to tie a curse or enchantment simply because a few unfortunate deaths are brought into the picture. The media is good at making up interesting stories about mere coincidences just to sell their ‘news’.

lena at October 3, 2008

why is it important to see this

lena at October 3, 2008

why is it important to know this

andrea at October 7, 2008

oh my god this body of otzi the ice man is really amazinq its well
kept. =] im studyinq this in my soical studies class and when i first
saw his picture was “WOW”. now i have a project to do on him and his website will help me !

james potter at October 8, 2008

this is a kool web. i needed this info

Victoria at October 8, 2008

hahahaha i need this for this poster i have to make, but im glad its about the ice man of the alps 😀

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