Thursday, October 15, 2020

Something About Pompeii and Circumstance

You can’t take it with you.

The story of a Canadian woman named Nicole caught my eye this week because of her years of bad luck attributed to removing five artifacts from Pompeii. In 2005 she removed “two white mosaic tiles, two pieces of amphora vase and a piece of ceramic wall” and recently returned the items to the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, along with a letter explaining her decision.

Since returning to Canada 15 years ago, she says, she has suffered two bouts of breast cancer, resulting in a double mastectomy, and her family has also been in financial trouble.
The woman related how she had given another tile to a friend and told her of the decision to send her artifacts back, but she said she doesn't know if the friend will return hers. "We are good people and I don't want to pass this curse on to my family, my children or myself anymore," she wrote. "Please forgive my careless act that I did years ago."

Over the years, around a hundred visitors have returned small artifacts like mosaic tiles and pieces of plaster that they stole during a visit to Pompeii, according to a spokeswoman for the park. The items were sent back along with letters from the visitors "claiming to have derived only bad luck" from taking away the artifacts.... A selection of letters and returned artifacts has been put on display at the Pompeii Antiquarium, she added, noting that, while the value of the artifacts was not significant, the letters were interesting from an anthropological perspective.
We've mentioned Pompeii a few times over the years, partially due to it's unique history but mostly because of Saint Floradora. The article reminded me of another curse related to Pompeii, specifically the film Curse of the Faceless Man (1958, dir. Edward L. Cahn). It's the story of a Roman gladiator, buried alive in Pompeii during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, who returns to life in modern times to find the reincarnation of the woman he loves. If you're looking for mild scares this Halloween I give it a couple of stars. Out of - oh, I don't know.  Ten.

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