Help identify a short story about a cursed magical object

This was related to me by a friend, who doesn’t remember specifics, but it sounds interesting enough that I’d like to read it.

The gist is that there’s a magical object that grants something awesome (wishes, power, wealth…?) with two catches

  1. If you die with it, something very bad happens (damned?)
  2. You can only sell it for less than you bought it for.

My friend says that it originally goes for a very high price, but as more people discover the truth, it becomes harder and harder to sell (and when the price gets cheap enough, people distrust your motives).

Any ideas?

Sounds almost like a Sixties Twilight Zone episode, but I can’t quite place it.

I know the story you mean, but I’ll need to do a little looking to come up with a name.

Uh. . . The Bottle Imp???

Found it! The story is called The Bottle Imp, written in 1891 by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I don’t know the origin, but that is similar to a CBS Radio Mystery show. The mystical object is filled with some sort of genie and the price is the geni keeps the guy’s soul if he dies with it. I seem to remember the ending having some sort of catch, like the guy bought the object from his ex wife right before she dies for a cent, but somehow finds a way to sell it to someone else for some foreign currency that is worth a half cent.

So, that is from sometime in the 1970s. And, doing a little googling it’s called The Imp in the Bottle.


Damn. A dollar short and 10 minutes late.

Excellent! Thank you all.

I remember it as quite the creepy story.

For a (supposedly, wink wink) true version of a similar story:
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Still creeps me out to read all the way through.

Don’t forget, the frogurt is also cursed.

That’s bad.

I used to love the CBS Radio Mystery Theater and that story was the first thing I thought of when I read the OP.

It is not the story you refer to, however it sounds in premise like one of my favorite trucker horrors. Truckstop Pulp but optioned for a movie by John Carpenter–The Black Mariah by Jay R. Bonansinga.
Monkey hands and voodoo… these are the operative archetypes.

Now might be the time for an adaptation, Mr. Carpenter. I’m sure it’s filed away somewhere.

Yeah, it was a great show. It’s amazing how many episodes of the show they made while maintaining such high quality. And, it’s great how easy it is to find copies of it online.

As a side note, it is funny that this topic brought out 3 Santa Barbara people.

I used to sneak a radio under my pillow to listen to it after I was supposed to be asleep. I can still hear that creaky door. Some of those stories used to freak my shit out.

The OP is from SB and us Barbarians love to help our homies!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Magical Object?

Wow, I just heard or read a version of this conundrum … somewhere, sadly I can’t remember where… but it was actually posed as a riddle or logic puzzle. I almost think it was here, or maybe at SomethingAwful. I didn’t realize it was based on an RLS short story. Cool.

The Bottle Imp? :slight_smile: Just to make it 4 Barbarians.

There’s actually a card game based on the story. I haven’t played it myself but I’ve heard some good things about it…

Man, it was optioned by Romero…not Carpenter. My Bad.

But Carpenter and Romero should team up, Romero and Carpenter cowriting and codirecting a variation of the bottle Imp. Cream Dream!

Bonansinga ain’t no slouch, either. This book envelopes.
New Line has the rights, apparently.

Think Tarantino’s Death Proof had some great road slash? It pales in comaprison next to the road stunt potential of the black Mariah. Bourne Identity is Eurotrash compared to this turnpike stunner.