Think that Lehman’s collapse was due to its balance sheet’s reliance on repackaged sub-prime mortgages? Think again. Rumours circulating the internet underground point to something far more ominous: the spiritual consequences of mining coal on the sacred Black Mesa.

In 2001 members of the Navajo, Hopi and Lakota tribes allegedly warned Lehman shareholders of “dire consequences” following the investment bank’s purchase of interests in Peabody Coal, the company which operated the strip mine that had been leased under “unusually generous” circumstances. Now, in the wake of the credit crunch’s biggest bankruptcy thus far, the Lehman curse seems to have returned.

It’s not the first time Lehman and tragedy have come together, say reports. Apparent media censorship prevented the warnings from being heard, but Arlene Hamilton, coordinator of Navajo non-profit cooperative “Weaving for Freedom” was killed in a car crash after buying just two Lehman shares.

Purchased in order for her tribe’s delegation to address other shareholders, even Hamilton’s altruistic intentions could not prevent the accident. Indeed, she had premonitions of her untimely demise when she met with Lehman shareholders in 2001. In events oddly reminiscent of the Curse of the Pharaohs, fellow Navajo activist Roberta Blackgoat later died at Hamilton’s memorial.

Despite prophecies of natural disaster and worldwide consequences, Lehman Brothers’ response at the time was meek. Spokesman Bill Ahearn said: “We’re very sympathetic and we feel badly for them, but there’s nothing we can do for them because it’s not a problem with us.”

It does beg the question though what else fate has in store for both the greedy Wall Street-types who bought Lehman shares for profit and the hedge funds who borrowed Lehman shares to short.

Peter Fray

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