Ancient Curse on Utah Park Is Real, Say Visitors
Leave the petrified wood in the Petrified Forest, they say
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2014 9:23 AM CDT
Updated Jun 1, 2014 8:13 AM CDT
Hands off: A shot from the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona.   (AP Photo/National Park Service)

(Newser) – Visitors who remove any bit of nature from a state park are breaking the law. But those who remove a chunk of petrified wood from Utah's Escalante Petrified Forest State Park risk something darker: an alleged ancient curse that visitors claim is the real deal. The park manager tells KSL that each year he's sent as many as a dozen pieces of petrified wood—which time has turned to stone quartz—typically accompanied by an apology in the hope that good fortunes will return to the one-time plunderer. One man wrote that he "thought the warnings were phony. Since that time, I have had three accidents" involving broken bones—plus a motor home fire and a dead car engine.

Another wrote of three years of bad luck: "I hope with this act of restitution (the) Lord will have mercy upon me. I apologize and beg your pardon." It's an alleged curse not unique to Utah: In 2012 the Daily Sun looked at the "conscience rocks" mailed back to the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, which claims the most petrified wood of any location on Earth. It sees as many as six letters a month, and has a 1,200-page archive of such letters that dates to the 1930s—when the story of the park's curse was believed to have been started. Still, the rumored curses haven't stemmed the thefts: In the case of Escalante, visitors now have to hike a mile into the park to even encounter the wood because the areas closest to the parking lot have been cleaned out; as for Arizona's 220,000-acre park, the National Park Service suspects as much as a ton of petrified wood is removed each month.

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Showing 3 of 54 comments
Jun 1, 2014 4:40 PM CDT
even thought I find the story somewhat interesting, mine is just the opposite.. had bad luck most of my life until I went there, found a small piece in the shape of a heart and took it.. yes I stole it.. yes Im a Democrat.. my luck got better not worse. I had it mounted and bought a gold chain to hang it on and wear it daily.. good things happen to me ever since, not great luck just certain things that would not normally happen.
Jun 1, 2014 11:20 AM CDT
My grandmother had a piece of petrified rock on her mantelpiece that she'd collected in her youth. She tragically passed away at age 98 in her sleep. Damned curse!
Jun 1, 2014 10:59 AM CDT
If you send me your petrified rock and $5 not only will I lift the curse, but also hang a chicken leg in my tree with your name on it. Free Lotto Picks for the first 50 callers. Hurry.