15 Years Later, Tourist Hopes Gesture Breaks 'Curse'

Woman returns Pompeii artifacts she lifted
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2020 7:30 PM CDT
15 Years Later, Tourist Hopes Gesture Breaks 'Curse'
Amphoras excavated in Pompeii.   (Getty/vale_t)

In 2005, a tourist took a few ancient artifacts that didn't actually belong to her back home to Canada. Things haven't always gone well for her in the intervening years. She "had breast cancer twice,” she said, the last time resulting in a double mastectomy. Her family has had financial problems. So she decided Pompeii can have the stuff back, the Guardian reports. The Archaeological Park of Pompeii received a package containing two mosaic tiles, parts of an amphora and a piece of a ceramic wall—and a letter. "Please, take them back, they bring bad luck," it said. Saying that she was "young and dumb" when she stole the items, per CNN, the woman wrote, "I wanted to have a piece of history that couldn't be bought."

The package contained another return, stones also swiped in 2005 by a Canadian couple. "We took them without thinking of the pain and suffering these poor souls experienced during the eruption of Vesuvius and their terrible death,” their letter said. "We are sorry, please forgive us for making this terrible choice." Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, burying the residents of Pompeii, and recent research confirms that it was an awful death. The Archaeological Park says returns and confessions aren't unusual; they have their own museum space there. "We're good people," the Canadian woman wrote, "and I don’t want to pass this curse on to my family or children." (More Pompeii stories.)

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