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“I apologize to the gods”: A tourist returned stolen relics from Pompeii to which she attributes the misfortunes of her family



A Canadian woman took some pieces of the ancient Roman city 15 years ago. Regretful, she sent a letter with the objects trying to make amends for her mistake and get out of the bad streak she has since fallen into. Similar cases have inspired the exhibition “What I take from Pompeii.”

A Canadian woman claims to be cursed by the ancient ruins that she took from the ancient Roman city of Pompeii more than a decade ago and in a desperate attempt to remove that curse she has resolved to return them and ask for forgiveness.

The stolen pieces found their way back to the Archaeological Park of Pompeii – the open-air museum that the great city of the Roman Empire became after the destruction caused by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in AD 79 – in a package sent from Canada, which had a note signed simply with Nicole’s name.

“I took some pieces when I visited Pompeii in 2005. I was young and stupid. I wanted to have a piece of history that no one could have. Actually, I didn’t think or realize what I was getting. I took a piece of history that has crystallized over time and has a lot of negative energy. People have died in such a horrible way and I have taken pieces related to that land of destruction. It is since then that bad luck has played with me and my family”Nicole says in her letter.

The woman, now 36, recounts that she has suffered from breast cancer twice, and that the last time the disease resulted in a double mastectomy, meaning that all the tissue in her two breasts was completely removed.

She also says that both she and her family have suffered “financial problems” and that she is afraid of passing what she describes as a “terrible curse” to her children, for which she made the decision to return the remains and ask for forgiveness.

“ I learned my lesson. I am asking the forgiveness of the gods. I just want to get rid of the curse that has befallen me and my family. I returned these artifacts so that the right thing is done for the mistake I made. I am very sorry, one day I will return to your beautiful country to apologize in person, ”Nicole tells the Pompeii museum.

He ends his letter by saying that when he returned to Canada with the stolen relics, he gave one of them to a friend of hers, with whom he shares a great love for history and that now, after making the decision to return his relics, he asked her to do the same.

” I told him I would send them back to where they belong, but I don’t know if he did, ” he says.

In the same package that Nicole’s letter came in, which contained two mosaic fragments, a wall piece from a domus (ancient Roman house) and two amphora fragments, there was also another letter written by a Canadian couple who sign with the names Alastain and Kimberly G. They, although they did not explicitly claim to be victims of a curse, also decided to apologize and return the pieces of the ancient city that they had stolen.

“Hello, I give back to you these stones that my wife and I took while visiting Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius in 2005. We took them without thinking about the pain and suffering that these poor souls experienced during the eruption of Vesuvius and the terrible death they suffered. We are sorry and please forgive us for making this terrible decision. May their souls rest in peace”they say in their letter.

An old curse

As in the famous cases of Tutankhamun or Moctezuma, whose “curses” have become true legends fed by years of mystery around the deaths of the archaeologists who desecrated their tombs, the case of Pompeii is also gaining strength among believers in this type of hexes.

And it is not for less, to the Archaeological Park that manages one of the largest open-air museums in the world, packages such as Nicole and the Canadian couple repeatedly arrive, in which looting, reckless and thieving tourists have returned the remains regretful stolen claiming that they have brought them great misfortunes.

Pompeii was destroyed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 (iStock)
Pompeii was destroyed in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79 (iStock)
The phenomenon included motivated an exhibition entitled “What I take from Pompeii” , in which the returned relics and the messages with which they have arrived are exhibited.

For example, there is a letter from a Spanish tourist who had stolen a piece of decorated plaster and who returned his loot, describing in his apologies how that theft had been a “harbinger of personal and family misfortunes.” This also happened to a woman from England who in 2015 returned a mosaic stolen 32 years ago by her parents stating: “I return what I unduly removed in 1983 and that only brought me misfortune.”

Another case, collected by the Italian media Corriere Della Sera, speaks of a Canadian lady who took a terracotta statuette from her honeymoon in Pompeii, “while the lovebirds were returning to their homeland, the newly married husband died of a heart attack : the statuette stolen in Pompeii was in his suitcase. The widow, after returning the artifact, married a rich industrialist ”, he publishes.

Preserved neurons were recently discovered in the remains of a victim of the Pompeii eruption.
Preserved neurons were recently discovered in the remains of a victim of the Pompeii eruption.

Thus, history grows around Pompeii, a city destroyed in the first century by a volcanic explosion whose ruins have become one of the main tourist destinations in Italy and Europe, visited by thousands of people every year than before the vastness of its extension and its beauty -which makes it difficult to maintain proper controls- they decide to take with them a piece of stolen history, without knowing that this could bring endless curses to their lives. For those who learned their lesson, they can only hope that their forgiveness is enough.

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