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13 July, 2024
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Tourist, convinced of curse, returns stolen Pompeii artifacts

The unsettling link between Pompeii pilfering and misfortune


A tourist recently made headlines by returning stones stolen from the ancient site of Pompeii, attributing her breast cancer to the famous 'curse' associated with the artifacts.

As Metro UK reports, Pompeii, a city famously buried during the 79 CE eruption of Mount Vesuvius, offers a glimpse into the past with its exquisitely preserved buildings and objects.

Over the years, a myriad of artifacts has been pilfered from the ruins, ranging from pebbles and rocks to tiles and pottery. Those who escape detection in the act often find themselves facing a unique form of punishment – a curse, according to local belief. Many individuals who feel they've fallen victim to this curse have returned stolen items with apologetic notes. The phenomenon has become so prevalent that there's an entire museum dedicated to these returned pieces.

In a recent incident, a woman sent back a handful of pumice stones accompanied by an apologetic note expressing ignorance about the curse. She revealed that within a year of taking the stones, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, despite being young and healthy. The letter, signed 'Mi dispiace,' which means 'I'm sorry' in Italian, was shared by Gabriel Zuchtriegel, the director of the archaeological park in Pompeii.

This is not the first time such a return has occurred. In 2020, a Canadian woman named Nicole returned stolen items, including tiles and part of an amphora, after twice battling breast cancer. She explained that she had taken the artifacts as a unique memento but felt they carried "negative energy" linked to the land's destruction and pleaded for them to be taken back.

Despite the seemingly supernatural connections suggested by these stories, it's essential to note that curses are not scientifically supported. However, the recurring theme of remorseful returns underscores the importance of preserving historical sites.

Theft of priceless artifacts erases their place in history, as often there is no information about their original location, making it impossible to undo the damage caused by these illicit acts.

[With information sourced from Metro UK]

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