Tourist returns stolen artifacts to Pompeii after suffering ‘curse’ for 15 years

(CNN) – A Canadian woman has returned five artifacts that she took from Pompeii in 2005, claiming they were unlucky.Identified only as Nicole, the woman sent two white mosaic tiles, two pieces of amphora vase, and a piece of ceramic wall to the Pompeii Archaeological Park, along with a letter explaining her decision.

“I wanted a piece of history that you can’t buy,” wrote the woman, who said she was “young and stupid” at the time.

Since returning to Canada, she has had two bouts of breast cancer that resulted in a double mastectomy, and her family has also gotten into financial difficulties.

Pompeii is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.

Salvatore Laporta / KONTROLAB / LightRocket / Getty Images

“We can never get ahead in life,” she wrote, blaming the tiles for the bad luck.

“I recorded a piece of history that was recorded at a time of so much negative energy,” she wrote. “People died so horribly and I took tiles that were related to this kind of destruction.”

Nearby Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, showering Pompeii with hot rock, volcanic ash and harmful gas, and burying its inhabitants.

The woman related how she gave another token to a friend and told her about the decision to return her artifacts, but said she did not know if the friend would return hers.

“We are good people and I no longer want to pass this curse on to my family, my children or myself,” she wrote. “Please forgive me for my negligent act that I did years ago.”

Over the years, around a hundred visitors have returned small artifacts, such as mosaic tiles and pieces of plaster, that they stole during a visit to Pompeii, according to a park spokeswoman.

The items were returned along with letters from visitors who “claimed they were just unlucky” in removing the artifacts, the spokeswoman told CNN.

A selection of letters and returned artifacts were exhibited in the Pompeii Antiquarium. She added that while the value of the artifacts was not significant, the letters were interesting from an anthropological point of view.

Pompeii is one of the most famous historical sites in the world, and archaeologists continue to work on the remains.

In February the famous House of Lovers reopened for the first time in 40 years after a restoration project.

The building, one of the most famous sites in Pompeii, was closed to visitors in 1980 after an earthquake damage. It has now reopened as part of the Great Pompeii project launched in 2014 with the aim of protecting the ancient city.

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