In 2005, a Canadian person only identified as Nicole was one of 2.5 million tourists who each year visit the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, destroyed in 79 CE by a volcanic eruption. Rather than hit the gift shop though, Nicole says she "wanted to have a piece of history that couldn't be bought" so she swiped a couple of mosaic tiles, pottery shards, and a bit of a ceramic wall from the site. Since then, she's had breast cancer and family financial troubles that she attributes to some sort of curse triggered by her theft of the artifacts. So she sent the items back to Pompeii along with an apology note. And she's not alone in doing that. From CNN:
"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, the spokeswoman told CNN.
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.