Talking with my roommate the other day we got on the subject of ghost stories. After a couple of real hair-raisers from her personal experience we got on the subject of the movie “Poltergeist”. We both remembered reading at some point or another (in my case, in the Boston Herald) that many of the cast members had died under circumstances that were odd at the least, and that several “supernatural” or just plain scary events occurred on the set during filming. What’s the Straight Dope?

I don’t know about scary events, but the deaths of cast members really weren’t all that odd:

Dominique Dunne (daughter of writer Dominick Dunne), who played eldest daughter Dana, was murdered by her abusive boyfriend. She was, in fact, strangled to death on her front lawn, at age 22.

Heather O’Rourke, who played Carol Anne, had probably the oddest circumstances. She died of intestinal stenosis at age 13. As mentioned at http://angelfire.com/ak2/heatherorourke/page31.html, “Prior to the filming of Poltergeist III, doctors had diagnosed her with Crohn’s disease, a chronic intestinal inflammation. In fact, she was suffering from a bowel obstruction that could have been remedied. (Her mother later filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against Heather’s healthcare provider and won an undisclosed sum in damages.) On Jan. 31, 1988, Heather woke up vomiting; the next morning, she collapsed. By the time she was helicoptered to a children’s hospital in San Diego, O’Rourke had suffered a cardiac arrest–and though doctors corrected the blockage, she died of septic shock shortly thereafter.”

Will Sampson, who played the Indian mystic in “Poltergest 2,” died of complications resulting from heart surgery. IIRC, he was a lifelong smoker, and was 52 when he died.

Julian Beck, who played the creepy demonic priest, died of stomach cancer. He was 60.

Aha! So there WAS a curse! You mark my words… within 50 years, everyone associated with that movie will be DEAD! DEAD I say!!!

“For what a man had rather were true, he more readily believes” - Francis Bacon

Ooooh - it’s just like the curse of “The Wizard of Oz.” Judy Garland - dead. Margaret Hamilton - dead. Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, and countless Munchkins - all dead! I think it had something to do with them flyin’ monkeys.

Aw, man, no spooky curses, mysterious shadows in the night, odd whisperings from the wall, nothing like that?! Just assholes causing problems? (re :Dominique and Heather). That sucks. No more juicy tales for when the party hasn’t yet wound down. Dang!

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

ITA Mark. Really, don’t you all know people who have died? That’s life. Especially in the “Biz”, (whatever that is).

Olentzero, I think the real curse of “Poltergeist” is that creepy little person Zelda Rubinstein is still alive!!!

Wasn’t she one of the Munchkins in “The Wizard of Oz”??

I see a very scary connection here.

Buncha dead Oz starts, buncha dead Poltergeist stars, and one pint-sized woman with an elfish voice outlives 'em all…

Ow! What’s that under my desk…? Ow! OW! AAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEE! MY KNEES! MY KNEES!!!

Cave Diem! Carpe Canem!

No, but she was in “Under the Rainbow” which was about the making of “The Wizard of Oz”, and which starred Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher, both of whose careers are DEAD!!! Its a CURSE, I tell ya!!!