The Curse of Pele – An Urban Myth?

by Sankalan Baidya
The Curse of Pele

A benign looking rock or a handful of glittering black sand can open up doors of hell for you! Sounds interesting? If you are an ardent believer of curses, you will definitely enjoy reading about the Curse of Pele – the Hawaiian Volcano Goddess. So popular is the curse that its roots can be found deep in Hawaiian culture. So, let us waste time no more and learn about the Curse of Pele and make an attempt to find its origins and of course, learn about the consequences that people face when they carry a rock or two or a handful of black sand from Hawaii as a souvenir that can accompany their travelogues.

According to legends, Pele – the goddess of volcanoes and fire is no less than a constant wanderer with a very violent temper. It is said that her home is Mount Kilauea, which is known to be earth’s one of the most active volcanoes.

As per the story, Pele considers the volcanic rocks, black sand and pumice to be her children and is said to get extremely angry when someone removes any of those from the island. In order to punish those who are guilty of removing those material, she casts a curse on them. Guess what? The culprits end up entangled in a web of misfortune that tear apart their entire world. It is said that those to dare to take sand and/or pieces or rocks with them eventually meet with some serious misfortune like sudden death of their pets, broken relationships and marriages, sudden loss of job etc.

There is totally a big fuss about this curse as it has been reported that many tourists who actually took a piece of souvenir from the island in form of sand or rocks have actually met with misfortune and ended up mailing the souvenir back to Hawaii only to see that the curse was lifted. It may sound pretty weird but you can definitely find several stories floating around on the Internet. One such story can be found here.

The most famous story that has been reported is that of Timothy Murray. It is said that Timothy was enjoying a perfectly happy life until it happened to visiting Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and struck by the desire to collect some souvenir, he scooped up some sand and took it along with him in a pop bottle.

And then… his life started falling apart. His pet died, he broke up with the woman with whom he was about to get married after a steady 5-year long relationship and even got arrested for computer copyright infringement. Weirdly enough, cases of arrests because of copyright infringement are scarce to none!

Albeit the story of Pele casting a curse on people ignorantly picking up her children is interesting but, some people often tend to blow it off as an urban legend. It is said that one of the rangers of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was literally not happy about people taking away volcanic rocks and sand and thereby disturbing the nature even when carrying away volcanic rocks and sand was forbidden by law. To give this law an extra weight, the ranger, as people say, invented this curse and it happened to work pretty well!

We have no idea whether the Curse of Pele is true or not but we know for sure that every year, the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park receives quite a good number of packages with rocks and sand sealed in them. So, if you have become a victim of Pele’s curse somehow or you just want to test out the validity of the curse, you may want to keep this address handy: Pele, c/o Headquarters, Volcanoes National Park, Volcano, HI 96785.

We will like to end by saying that whether you believe in curses or not does not really matter. What really matters is that you should know how to respect nature. There is no point removing volcanic sand or rocks from a place because they are meant to be there and are vital parts of the overall ecosystem. Thousands and thousands of tourists collecting souvenirs from a place every single year will eventually leave the place robbed of its beauty and natural balance.

As far as the curse is concerned, some people just like to blame bad luck on something or someone and some just have a habit of making up stories just to drag some attention. Perhaps, the stories of ill-fates are all about those nasty habits of human beings – possibly a feeble attempt to gain popularity or dump responsibility of their own evil deeds on something or someone else!

Sources: 1, 2

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1 comment

Mary Beth Sammon August 20, 2018 - 8:41 pm

how do you lift the curse of Pele if the sand you took has been lost or your ex won’t send it back and said that they did?


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