Tourists used to take lots of lava rock home from Hawaii as souvenirs, so the Park Service started an urban legend about the rocks being cursed. The legend goes that Madam Pele (the fire goddess ) gets angry at whoever removes her sacred stones and curses them.
This urban legend is now so ingrained in the collective conscience that tourists are experiencing real bad luck. Hundreds have sent back the lava rock and asked that the kahuna (priests / witch doctors) do a ceremony to appease Pele.
These are actual quotes from victims:
Please take this rock and put it back somewhere on your island. I have had very bad luck since it came into my life and I am very sorry I took it. Please forgive me and I pray that once I send it back where it comes from, my bad luck will go away.
Ever since we have taken items, we have had nothing but back luck and medical problems. We apologize for taking the items, so we are returning same to Hawaii.
We placed the rock last fall on a cast iron chair in our garden; this spring the chairís leg had fallen off. Thatís the least of the problems we have had since weíve taken the rock.
Please return these rocks to their rightful spot. I never had so much bad luck as Iíve had since I returned from Hawaii.
I picked up a small piece of lava somewhere, (we are rock and crystal collectors), never dreaming of what might come. Since then we have lost half of our retirement savings to a scam artist and will have to go back to work. Please work your magic on the enclosed piece of lava and hopefully nothing worse will happen.
There are thousands more like those. The Volcano Post Office, Volcano National Park and lots of hotels find the returned rocks a nuisance (although they faithfully dispose of them by tossing them onto a big pile right behind the Volcano Visitor Center.)
The Volcano Gallery on the Big Island gladly accepts returned rocks. Once they receive the rocks they carefully wrap them in ti leaves and return them to a special location in Volcano close to Peleís home, along with an offering of orchids to ask for her forgiveness. For the service, the gallery asks for a donation of $15, but will perform the service in any case.
You can return any lava rocks you may have taken to:
Attn: Lava Rock Return
P.O. Box 699
Volcano, HI 96785
Edited by aloha_spirit, 12 October 2009 - 09:41 PM.