A Canadian woman claims she was cursed by the artifacts she took from the ancient city of Pompeii 15 years ago and has been plagued with bad luck ever since. The 36-year-old woman, who identified herself only as Nicole, said she took the ancient objects - two white mosaic tiles, a chunk of ceramic wall and two pieces of an amphora vase - in 2005 because she said she “wanted a piece of history that couldn’t be bought,” and described herself as “young and dumb,” at the time, CNN reported.
However, since she’s lived with the stolen treasures, she said her family has experienced a series of misfortunes, including financial hardship, and that she has suffered from breast cancer in two instances. The diagnoses resulted in a double mastectomy, The Independent reported.
To finally rid herself of the curse, Nicole handed the artifacts and a letter of apology over to a travel agency, to be sent back to the Archeological Park of Pompeii.
”I took a piece of history captured in a time with so much negative energy attached to it," she wrote in the letter, the newspaper reported. "People died in such a horrible way and I took tiles related to that kind of destruction.”
Pompeii was once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city, but was destroyed due to the eruption of of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. A catastrophic moment in history, thousands were killed and many were buried alive. According to Britannica, fragments of ash and other volcanic debris began pouring down on Pompeii, covering the city. A mixture of hot rock fragments, hot gases and entrapped air moving at high speed in thick dark clouds hugged the ground and asphyxiated those who had not already been killed.
On their website, Pompei Online called the “scale of the tragedy appalling; in what had been one of the most active and splendid Roman centres, life came to a permanent standstill."
The woman said she had given another tile to a friend, and told the friend her plans of returning the items back to its sacred place, but said she doesn't know if the friend will return the tile, CNN reported.
In the letter, she spoke of her distress.
“We can’t ever seem to get ahead in life,” she said. ”We are good people and I don't want to pass this curse on to my family, my children or myself anymore.”
She ended the letter asking for penitence.
”Please forgive my careless act that I did years ago,” she said.
The Independent reported that the travel agency handed the objects over to Pompeii’s gendarmerie police, the Carabinieri, the Courier della Serra. The objects have been safely returned to the archeological site.
According to multiple reports, the Canadian tourist is not the only person who is asking for forgiveness. A spokeswoman for the park told CNN that over the years, an estimated 100 visitors have returned small artifacts like mosaic tiles and pieces of plaster that they stole during a visit to Pompeii.
Those items were sent back along with letters from the visitors "claiming to have derived only bad luck" from taking away the artifacts, the spokeswoman said.
The returned artifacts and a selection of letters have been put on display at the Pompeii Antiquarium, said the spokeswoman, who said the value of the artifacts were not significant, but that the letters were interesting from an anthropological perspective.
Pompeii is one of the world's most famous historical sites, and archaeologists continue to work on the remains, reported the network.
The famed House of Lovers, one of the best-known sites at Pompeii that was shut to visitors in 1980 after severe damage from an earthquake, reopened in February, according to CNN, and is part of the Great Pompeii project, which launched in 2014 with the aim of safeguarding the ancient city.