Gettysburg: Stop Taking Our Stones, They're Cursed
People keep mailing them back with tales of woe
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2016 4:51 AM CDT
Re-enactors cross the field of Pickett's Charge during activities commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, July 3, 2013.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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(Newser) – Robert E. Lee and the men of the Army of Northern Virginia aren't the only people Gettysburg was unlucky for. In a recent Gettysburg National Military Park blog post, park ranger Maria Brady describes how the park sometimes receives packages of stones from people who took them from the site of the pivotal Civil War battle—only to have their lives fall apart. "We didn't know how the removal of the stones would affect our lives, and we didn't know they were cursed," wrote one man who sent back three small stones earlier this year. He wrote that soon after he visited Gettysburg with his wife and took the stones, he lost his wife, his son, and his house—and ended up in prison for nine years. Upon his release, he found the stones and remembered reading in prison that they were cursed.

Another tale of woe came from a man who returned a stone and small twig, saying he wanted them to be put back "on top of the Devil's Den area" where he found them nine years of "nothing but horrible times" earlier, the Evening Sun reports. Brady says that curses aside, taking rocks from Gettysburg is not only illegal, it's a practice that could destroy the park's historic stone walls, many of which existed before the battle or "were thrown up in haste by soldiers looking for cover." She says the people who took the rocks would have been fined $100 if they were caught, which "they may have preferred" to the misfortunes they experienced. If you have any cursed rocks you want to return, the Gettysburg address you need is: 1195 Baltimore Street, Gettysburg , PA 17325. (Plans to auction a skull found at Gettysburg were quickly canceled.)