Repentant tourist sends stolen Pompeii artefacts back to Italy after blaming them for years of bad luck.
A Canadian tourist has returned artefacts stolen from the ancient city of Pompeii 15 years ago, claiming they were “cursed,” reports Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
The 36-year-old woman, identified only as Nicole, sent a package to a travel agent in Pompeii containing two mosaic tiles, ceramic fragments and parts of an amphora which she stole during a visit to the archaeological park in 2005.
In addition to the stolen artefacts, which the travel agent handed over to police, the package contained a letter of confession in which Nicole expressed regret for her actions.
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“I was young and stupid” – she wrote – “I wanted to have a piece of history that nobody could have,” claiming that the artefacts were possessed of “so much negative energy” linked to “that land of destruction.”
Nicole now blames the relics looted from the ancient city – buried in volcanic ash after the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD – for years of serious health problems and financial misfortune.
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“I am now 36 and have had breast cancer twice, the last time ending in a double mastectomy” – she wrote – “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 wrote that she has learnt her lesson and is seeking “forgiveness from the Gods,” adding that she just wanted to “shake off the curse that has fallen on me and my family.”
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“I’m so sorry” – she wrote – “one day I will return to your beautiful country to apologise in person”.
The unexpected package that landed on the travel agent’s desk contained another letter of apology, from a couple in Canada, along with some stones stolen from the site in 2005.
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“We took them without thinking of the pain and suffering these poor souls experienced during the eruption of Vesuvius and the terrible death they had” – said the letter – “We are sorry, please forgive us for making this terrible choice! May their souls rest in peace.”
Photo: Emanuele Longo / Shutterstock.com.