A Canadian tourist has returned several artifacts she stole from Pompeii during a 2005 trip to Italy, claiming that the relics brought her years of “bad luck” after she swiped them from the ancient Roman city.
The woman — identified as only “Nicole” — sent two white mosaic tiles, two pieces of amphora vase and a piece of ceramic wall to the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, saying in an accompanying note that she doesn’t want to “pass this curse” on to her family and friends, CNN reported.
In her letter of apology, the tourist said she was 21 years old when she visited Pompeii and “wanted to have a piece of history that couldn’t be bought.”
“I was young and stupid,” she wrote, according to Italian newspaper Il Messagero. “I took a piece of history that has crystallized over time and that has a lot of negative energy in it. People have died in such a horrible way and I have taken pieces related to that land of destruction.”
“Since then, bad luck has played with me and my family,” the woman continued.
Now 36, the tourist said she’s experienced two bouts of breast cancer, resulting in a double mastectomy, and financial struggles in the past 15 years.
“We are good people and I don’t want to pass this curse on to my family or children. For this forgive me for the gesture made years ago, I learned my lesson,” she reportedly wrote. “I just want to shake off the curse that has fallen on me and my family. Please accept these artifacts so that you do the right thing for the mistake I made.”
“I am so sorry, one day I will return to your beautiful country to apologize in person,” the woman added.
The package also contained a letter from another Canadian couple who had stolen some stones during the same trip.
“We took them without thinking of the pain and suffering that these poor souls they felt during the eruption of Vesuvius and the terrible death they had,” the second letter read, according to Il Messagero. “We are sorry and please forgive us for making this terrible choice. May their souls rest in peace.”
A representative for the Archaeological Park of Pompeii did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, though a spokesperson for the archaeological site told Canada’s CTV News that this was not the first instance of a tourist claiming they were cursed after stealing an artifact from the city.
The spokesperson said that around a hundred visitors have returned ancient relics they previously stole during a visit to Pompeii, many of which claimed that they had suffered a series of misfortunes after taking the artifacts from its original site.
A selection of the returned items, though not high in value, have been put on display at the Pompeii Antiquarium, according to the spokesperson.
Pompeii and its inhabitants were buried in volcanic ash when the Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79. The city’s remains are now considered a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.