The Real ‘Curse Of Akkad’

November 22, 2021

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:

In the recently released horror game The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes, like the previous titles in the series, the basis of the game’s plot comes from historical events, in Man of Medan it was the urban legend during WWII of a ghost ship, in Little Hope, it was the Salem Witch Trials, and now in House of Ashes it’s the Curse of Akkad. At the start of the story, we see the Akkadians sacrificing Gutian soldiers with Naram-Sin of Akkad watching over before the curse takes shape in a supernatural way dooming Naram-Sin and the Akkadians. Historically there was mentioned a curse that befell the ancient ruler and his people, but what was it really? Let’s get right to it!

Naram-Sin of Akkad was a real ruler, the fourth out of seven rulers of the Akkadian Empire that is now modern Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey. It was said that he and the empire fell out of favor with the gods after he declared war on them, either on purpose or by accident after the temple of the god Enlil was plundered in the Sumerian city of Nippur. Sometime after that famine and disease spread across the empire before it was attacked by an army from Gutium, now the modern-day Iranian side of the Zagros Mountains, bringing the empire to its end.



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Now, this is where things go from supernatural to boring real-world stuff. Historically the only mention of a curse came from a poem written hundreds of years after Naram-Sin’s reign and appeared to demonize him and use his “failures” as a warning to would-be Mesopotamian rulers to not be careless with ruling and conquest. The poem and subsequent legends born from it all mention a great famine as crops failed to produce as there was no rain. This appears to be a written account of the 4.2-kiloyear event, a massive climate change event in ancient history that turned once fertile places around the globe and turned them into modern arid/desert landscapes, the modern-day Middle East being one of these areas hardest hit.

Over the years, archeological digs and soil samples showed water levels lowering in the region adding credence to the written accounts by the Akkadians and other empires in the region. A recent study in 2019 of coral fossils offered hints that a northwest wind storm (sandstorm), in the region called a Shamal lasted longer than usual (they tend to last from several hours to five days) and has caused salinity (salt) content of the soil to increase.

Across the Akkadian Empire, food prices went up as crop yields went down putting the empire in chaos and a heavy demoralized state, this allowed the nomadic Gutians to invade before finally attacking and capturing the capital city of Akkad bringing to the end of Akkadian dominance in the region.

History is full of tales of triumphs and failures told in spectacular fashion written years after the events that offer little clues to the truth uncovered by Accademia which in all cases uncovers less fantastical truths. A bit of a downer, yes, but the truth itself can be just as fascinating as a tall tale.

You can read my review of Bandai Namco’s The Dark Pictures Anthology: House of Ashes HERE.


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