Seth writes . . .
I don’t know if any of you have ever read the book Christine by Steven King, or maybe seen the movie. It’s about a demonically possessed car and I think King got his inspiration from James Dean’s Little Bastard. This is Seth writing, by the way. Finally. Erin has bugged me so much that I gave in. So here follows the incredible story of a very evil car. The trouble was it was gorgeous. A Porsche 550 Spyder, one of only 90 ever made.
Who wouldn’t want that car?
It was designed as a racer, and it was the car that put Porsche on the road-racing map. Interestingly enough, although it was quick for the times – mid fifties – it was only as fast as today’s hottest hatchbacks. But that isn’t the real reason why the Spyder is remembered.
It owes its legacy to the Little Bastard that killed actor James Dean.
When James Dean bought the car, he nicknamed it the Little Bastard. His friends all told him he was crazy, not just because of the name, but because the car was bad. Real bad. Some said it had a malevolent presence about it. Alec Guinness even said it was sinister, and that if James bought it, he’d kill himself within a week. His buddies were right. But although James Dean seemed to have a premonition that the car might kill him, he still gave the Little Bastard to George Barris, the “King of Kustomizers”, to hot it up even more.
Then came the first race.
Dean and his mechanic decided to drive the Spyder to Salinas. They never made it. They had a head on with another vehicle. As you can see from the pic, the Spyder was totalled. James Dean died in hospital from multiple injuries. Incredibly, his mechanic survived.
So, where’s the curse, you ask? People die in car crashes every day.
Hang with me…
Barris bought the wreckage to sell as scrap, but clearly the Little Bastard didn’t approve...
- When the vehicle was delivered to Barris' garage, it slipped off its trailer and broke a mechanic's leg.
- Barris sold the engine to Troy McHenry and the drive train to William Eschrid, racing hobbyists. While racing at the Pomona fairgrounds on October 24, 1956, McHenry was killed when his vehicle spun out of control and crashed into a tree. Eschrid's car rolled while taking a curve, seriously injuring him. He later said that the vehicle 'just locked up' on him.
- Two tires (Looking at the pic, you can hardly believe that any tires survived) that Barris sold simultaneously burst, sending their car off road.
- Even thieves weren’t spared. A young guy tried to steal the steering wheel, but had his arm gashed open on a piece of jagged metal as punishment. Another guy was hurt while trying to steal one of the bloodstained seats.
By now Barris had had enough. He decided that the car would be safer in storage.
But who can keep a good demon down?
Even the California Highway Patrol were enthralled by the car’s potential to shock. They persuaded Barris to loan them the Spyder for a traveling exhibition. So the mangled remains of Little Bastard were taken to a garage in Fresno, and stored there before the road show started. A fire broke out in the garage, destroying everything, except for – you guessed it – James Dean’s wrecked car.
You would think that people would have learned by now that this car was bad news, but no… the show went on.
At a display at Sacramento High School on the anniversary of Dean's accident, the bolts holding the car in place snapped. The car plowed off its display and broke the hip of a fifteen-year-old boy who had been looking at the wreckage.
Still not convinced it was cursed?
En route to Salinas, the truck hauling the wreck lost control, causing the driver to fall out of the cab. Although the fall from the vehicle didn't kill him, the Porsche fell off the truck bed and landed on top of him. He didn’t survive.
In 1960, the Little Bastard’s tour finally ended.
Wishing now that he had never set eyes on the beast, Barris had the vehicle loaded onto a train in Florida. He sealed boxcar, and sighed with relief as the train headed out for California. It was a good day for him, although somewhat puzzling...
When the train arrived in L.A., the seal was still intact, yet the car had vanished. And it has not been seen since. You think I kid you. At the 50th anniversary of James Dean’s death rewards were offered for a no questions asked return of the car. Nothing ever came to light.
So you tell me - was this car cursed or was this all just coincidence? Or is something else possible? Was it James Dean himself who was cursed? And did he pass that curse onto all the things that mattered to him?
According to some, yes. Most of his closest friends also died under tragic circumstances.
So, if you believe this, who cursed him? It has been claimed that his erstwhile friend Maila Nurmi put a hex on him when he told her the friendship was over. So who was she and how did she get that much power? Maila Nurmi, aka Vampira, the glamorous ghoul, hosted late-night horror films on 1950s TV screens. As Vampira, she played with her pet tarantula, gave gruesome recipes for vampire cocktails and bathed in a boiling caldron.
|Picture taken of Wikipdia|
She was also supposedly wired into the occult. So did she zing James Dean? And if she did, did his influence go on to curse all his friends? What do you think?
For me, it’s pretty simple. Having seen the power of curses in Shenaya, I have no doubt that it is possible to curse both the living and the dead.
PS. Thought I'd end off with a pic of Christine.... Great movie, if you like horror!