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Is there such a thing as a place that's cursed?

Yes; we've gone over this before. There are plenty of locales that are the scene of too many accidents, sinful instances, or reported spiritual activity. Ask any exorcist.

But what about things taken from certain places?

There's the legend of King Tut's tomb in Egypt: Many are those who have reported misfortunes through the centuries and have connected this to breaching or taking something from the Egyptian pharaoh's tomb. You can find copious accounts on the internet. Some of the stories are compelling. Others are negligible. We'll leave that up to your acumen. The tomb was discovered in 1922;  by 1929, eleven people associated with the tomb had died of unexpected causes. Happenstance?

There are accounts of things going badly for artifacts taken or breached at other places: Indian sites, graveyards, museums.

There are entire plots of land, and this we'll focus upon: supposedly accursed turf over a widespread area.

Prominent in this regard is the Big Island of Hawaii, where it's said those who take volcanic rocks at Volcano National Park suffer consequences from "Pele," the goddess of fire. A curse, paganism, or just imagining?

"Everyday as we are walking, we are picking up extremely small traces of dirt, concrete, and dust from abrasion caused by our shoes rubbing into the ground," notes a teacher there. "If we were to walk into the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park, we would inevitably pick up small traces of lava rock in our shoes or socks. So, unless Pele has a size requirement for cursed rocks, everyone who has ever stepped into the park would be cursed by now… but they aren’t."

His argument: those who believe in curses will think back in their lives and relate what they will to a "curse," anything bad whatsoever. And of course there's truth to this. Curses -- and many other things -- can be in the eye of the beholder.

But there certainly are compelling stories -- Hawaii and elsewhere.

As The Los Angeles Times noted about the supposed curse, "thousands of pounds of mail," returning items taken, arrive in Hawaii every year. The correspondents plead for the offending item to be returned to Pele, so the "curse" will be lifted "and they can have their lives back."

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available."Timothy Murray had a comfortable life: a college education, good jobs, fulfilling relationships," reported the newspaper. "'I've always had real good luck.' That was before he crossed paths with Pele. Murray's luck went south in 1997 after he went to Hawaii to accept a new job. When the job fell through, Murray consoled himself with a trip to the Big Island and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Entranced by the island's black sand beaches, Murray did what tourists often do. He took home a memento, scooping up the sand in a pop bottle. When he returned home to Port St. Lucie, Fla., Murray's good fortune had fled. His beloved pet died. The five-year relationship with the woman he was to marry fell apart. He began to drink heavily. Finally, FBI agents, who said they had been tracking him from Hawaii, arrested him in a computer copyright infringement case. 'My life literally fell apart,' Murray, 32, says of the three years after he took the sand." Others take shells.

"Pray over your shells and plead the Blood of Jesus over them if you believe you brought back a curse," noted one comment on a blog about the situation. "He has the Power to break every curse."

And so He does.

Are there curses? There are. Jesus Himself cursed a tree.

But as Proverbs points out: a curse without cause cannot alight (26:2). It flits about like a sparrow. In other words, it has to have an entry.

In this regard it behooves us always to "close" portals for darkness from whatever source, ridding ourselves not only of activity that is sinful but of bad habits. There can be "entries" through pride, sloth, prevarication, anger, obsession, depression, selfishness, lewd thoughts, gossip, sexual sin, and so many other ill-advised traits. Purity, with diligence, closes the "holes" in the spirit. Humility is a bubble of protection.

There are curses at a site of ruins in Sweden (the Bjorketorp runestone). 

Most recently in the news (indeed, just yesterday (5/28/14): a report on NBC about "cursed" stones from Escalante State Forest Park in Utah.

In this case it's petrified wood.

Letters on display there claim the same bad luck as over in Hawaii.

"I picked up this small piece of wood and since that time I've had three accidents [five broken bones]," says one. In addition, his motor home caught fire and the engine in his car went south after its warranty ran out. As in Hawaii, many send the souvenirs back. "A steady stream of human woe and guilt," noted a reporter.

Nowhere nearly claims as many as in Hawaii, but true belief that a curse operates. And lots of apologies.

Superstition? Or a spiritual aspect?

We are most cursed when we curse others.

--Michael H. Brown

[Note also: Michael Brown retreats: Philadelphia-New Jersey and Connecticut!]

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