A Canadian tourist who stole fragments from the ancient city of Pompeii 15 years ago has finally returned the artifacts because they were “cursed.”
The woman, identified only as Nicole, sent a package containing two mosaic tiles parts of an amphora and a piece of ceramics to a travel agent in Pompeii, located in southern Italy, along with a letter of confession.
Since visiting Pompeii’s archaeological park in her early 20’s, where she stole the artifacts, she’s suffered a series misfortunes including having breast cancer twice and experiencing financial hardship. she
“Please, take them back, they bring bad luck,” she wrote.
In her note she explains that she wanted to have a piece of history that “nobody could have,” however the ancient artifacts had “so much negative energy … linked to that land of destruction.”
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, the volcano’s molten rock, scorching debris and poisonous gases killed nearly 2,000 people in the nearby ancient Italian cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The discovery in the ancient city in the 16th century transformed our understanding of the history of human civilization.
The ancient site is among Italy’s most popular tourist attractions and for years has been combatting tourists stealing from it.
Nicole said in her letter that she had learned her lesson and wanted “forgiveness from God.”
“I am now 36 and had breast cancer twice,” she said. “The last time ending in a double mastectomy. My family and I also had financial problems. We’re good people and I don’t want to pass this curse on to my family or children.”
Nicole wasn’t the only repenting Canadian. Inside the package was another confessional letter from another couple along with some stones stolen from the site in 2005. Who’d have ever thought Canadian’s were such thieving tourists?
“We took them without thinking of the pain and suffering these poor souls experienced during the eruption of Vesuvius and their terrible death,” they wrote. “We are sorry, please forgive us for making this terrible choice. May their souls rest in peace.”
Over the years, so many stolen relics have been returned to the site, along with letters expressing guilt, that park officials established a museum displaying the artefacts.
Most of the time, tourists want to keep the relics as souvenirs, but some thieves have also tried to sell pieces of Pompeii online. In 2015, a brick taken from the ruins in 1958 was put up for sale on eBay.