Don’t take Hawaii’s volcanic rocks or you may be cursed!

June 1, 2017 8:21 pm Last Updated: June 1, 2017 8:21 pm

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park has an interesting explanation for why they are receiving black pieces of volcanic rock, hundreds of them every year in the mail.

The origin is one of mystery and a mythical (or not?) curse!

Photo Credit: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

As one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, Hawaii is visited by millions of tourists, and they load up with trinkets and souvenirs of all sorts to give to their friends and maintain memories of their wonderful holiday far away from home.

Some souvenirs they pay for, and others they don’t. Beaches and suntans are often free, but the beautiful volcanic rocks that some people take home with them may come with a price, namely, in the form of an ancient curse! Jessica Ferracane of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, says she understands how the beauty of these rocks is irresistible to some, as they are absolutely beautiful.

“Dramatic, beautiful fields of smooth ropy black pahoehoe highboy lava as well as rough, clinkery brown lava,” is how Ferracane describes them.

Photo Credit: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

But the rocks that are being mailed back often include a personal story of the direct effect of “Pele’s curse,” named after a Hawaiian Goddess. The curse is rumored to haunt anyone who steals them away from their home on the islands.

Once safely returned, some people have experienced a noticeable change in their luck – and even in their lives!  The only known antidote for the curse is said to be returning the volcanic rock from where it came.

Photo Credit: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Boxes of these rocks are delivered back to the National Park daily. They come in all shapes and sizes, but their common thread is they were taken from nearby the volcanoes. The Visitors Bureau also receives them, and the stories included range from simple bad luck to long explanations of real tragedy. These people beg for forgiveness from the goddess.

Pele’s curse, if you believe it, can cause health problems, relationship troubles, unemployment, a vegetable garden that refuses to grow plants, or other misfortunes of every kind!

Where did Pele’s Curse come from? The most common story is that a tour bus driver who was tired of cleaning out his bus made it up. You know, to keep people from bringing bad luck home with them and keeping his bus clean! However, others have accused the park service itself for spreading the rumor in order to stop people from taking rocks from the park!

Photo Credit: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Probably the best reason, and only reason, a person should need to dissuade them from taking these rocks is the simplest: taking anything from a national park is actually illegal.

Source: Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and NPR Weekend Edition Sunday