Photo: Marcelo Alex/Shutterstock

Tourist Returns Stolen Pompeii Artifacts After 15 Years, Believing They’re “Cursed”

News Archaeology
by Eben Diskin Oct 12, 2020

Fifteen years ago a Canadian tourist stole ancient artifacts from the city of Pompeii in Italy. The woman, identified only as Nicole, was in her early 20s when she visited Pompeii in 2005 and stole two mosaic tiles, parts of an amphora, and a piece of ceramic. She recently returned the items to their rightful home, citing a run of bad luck that she attributes to the “cursed” items.

Since the theft, Nicole has had breast cancer twice and suffered serious financial hardship. She sent the items back to a travel agent in Pompeii in a package accompanied by a note that read, “Please, take them back, they bring bad luck.”

In her letter, she expressed contrition, saying that she had learned her lesson. “I am not 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.”

The package also contained stolen stones from another couple living in Canada, and a second confessional letter. “We took them without thinking of the pain and suffering these poor souls experienced during the eruption of Vesuvius and their terrible death,” the other letter reads. “We are sorry, please forgive us for making this terrible choice. May their souls rest in peace.”

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