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Chapter II of "The Hound of the Bakserviles," "The Curse of the Baskervilles," contains all the details of the family curse which haunts the House of the Baskervilles.
Way back during the "Great Rebellion" (the Puritan Rebellion, 1632-1649) the owner of the Baskerville manor was one Hugo Baskerville. He had become infatuated with a common girl and had kidnapped her but she managed to escape. While fleeing across the moor she was chased by Hugo and his sons who had set their hunting hounds on the poor hapless girl. The poor girl and Hugo both fell off a "goyal" (a cliff) and died. When the others came near the bodies of Hugo and the girl they were amazed to see a massive hound like beast ripping apart the throat of Hugo. It was the same hound which the shepherd boy claimed to have seen chasing Hugo when Hugo was frantically in pursuit of the escaping girl. After this terrible incident it seems as though all the future generations of the Baskervilles were cursed because most members of the Baskerville family died suddenly under "bloody and mysterious" circumstances.
The curse of the Baskervilles is that the hound of the moor hunts down the members of the Baskerville family one by one. When the current resident of the Baskerville home is found dead, a young Baskerville who had been living in America returns to take over his property. However, his life appears to be in grave danger and Sherlock Holmes and John Watson proceed to investigate.
It turns out that there is a hound, but a hound that had been trained to hunt down the young Baskerville by a distant relative who had his eye on the immense and costly property of the family. He had taken on another name and used the hound (with a clever application of phosphorus to make the animal glow in the dark) and the stolen boot of the young Baskerville to train the hound to kill him so that he could usurp the property. But he fell into his own trap and fell victim to the hound himself. The young Baskerville remained alive and well. The secret behind the curse of the Baskervilles was out once and for all.
"Mr. Holmes, it was the footprints of a gigantic hound." This iconic phrase from the Doyle novel exists in the original story, as well as the motion pictures and shows.
The curse on the Baskervilles was that the members of the family would meet with sudden, bloody, and mysterious deaths.
Curse of the coming of the hound. Passed down from one generation to another. Begged everyone not to cross the moor at night when the powers of evil are strongest.
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