A fellow poster on another message board who is currently living in Hawaii (Maui, I think) was talking about a conversation she overheard a man and his son having with a waiter in a restaurant. After the conversation, she talked to the waiter about it.
It appears that the son had taken some rock from the main island and the father was concerned about what would happen and how he could return it. The waiter said that taking the rock was a huge mistake and that it must be returned. He instructed the father that he should return it himself and possibly even get a priest to accompany him in order to know if the rock would now need to be crushed at the place it was taken from or merely to be replaced. The father was clearly distraught, seeing as how this was their last day, and he had no time to go back. The waiter then mentioned that they should be okay if they go to the post office and drop it off there. The post office would be able to get the rock back to its proper location.
Aside from wondering if if best to ship these things Parcel Post, First Class, or Express Mail, I’m curious as to how many Dopers have ever taken rocks or sand from the Hawaiin Islands, and if so, did your luck change dramatically for the worse. Apparently, taking part of Hawaii away with you is extreme sacrilige, and carries dire consequences for your well being. However, returning the rocks and/or sand in question, results in the curse of Pele being lifted.
Ehh, I’ve taken em lots of times. Of course never out of state, see my location. Never had any bad luck though. Many places (hotels and stuff) claim they receive large numbers of parcels from tourists mailing back the rocks they took. Color me skeptical. I believe it’s not just any rock that will get you in trouble but specifically lava rocks which piss Pele (the goddess, not the soccer player) off. Stuff from the beach can be considered illegal to take. I believe it’s illegal to take coral so as to discourage people from ripping up the reefs. But other then that I say theive away.
Although there was this one time where I found this lava rock that had solidified in the shape of a sperm whale. It was about a foot and a half long, had a tale and everything. It was left on the back bench seat of the van. When we drove off it fell on the floor and smashed into a million bits.
P.S. Lava (cinder) rocks are really fun to play with. I mean you can pick up huge looking ones and smash em on the ground just like The Hulk…
In the Petrified Forest National Park it is illegal to remove any of the petrified wood. The rangers in the park made up a bad luck story, evoking Indian spirits, to discourage the tourists, but there was no such story or legend previous to that.
Just about every day they get a couple packages with bits of rock enclosed, a lot with a note telling the bad luck that befell the sender and please put the rock back. Of course, it’s a self selecting sample; those who took something and don’t notice anything bad happening to them, keep their ill-gotten stone.
The last time we went to the Big Island, we took the kids up to the volcano hoping to show them the display in the museum of all the letters and rocks sent back. The letters were stories of woe brought about by removing a rock from Hawaii.
The display was gone.
Apparently, that myth was started by park rangers to try to dissuade visitors from removing rocks, etc. from the park. There was no legend at all, it was all created by the rangers.
As a result, local Hawaiian religious leaders, etc. complained that the U.S. Park Service was portraying their goddess Pele wrongly as a vengeful diety and so the park service had to remove the display and own up to fabricating the legend.
I wouldn’t mess with any of that Hawaiian stuff. That’s some bad mojo there. My family went there on vacation once and all sorts of bad stuff happened. I had found this little tiki idol or something and was wearing it. My brother wore the tiki for luck and was surfing and wiped out and nearly killed himself. Me, I wore the tiki to bed and a tarantula crawled onto me in the middle of the night. Let me tell you, it taught me a lesson. Maybe it’s just superstition, but I’m not going to mess with it.
One of the first ghost stories I ever heard was about the dangers of taking volcanic rocks from eruption and flow sites. They were great stories, because there is something creepy and old about some places in Hawaii. They make the stories seem so real.
I’ll offer the defense that when you grow up hearing those stories, they sink in a little deeper than they should. Though I know there’s no such things as ghosts and spirits and hauntings, I personally wouldn’t take any volcanic rocks home. Though I know the stories I heard as a kid were just stories, taking rocks still strikes me as a foolish thing to do. I don’t know why-- I myself had some volcanic rock sand and green sand samples that I purchased from a Volcanoes National Park gift shop when I was 12. Pele hasn’t bothered me yet.*
So, yes, it’s a superstition, but no, there’s nothing more to it than that. But as with all superstitions, it can sure feel like there’s something more to it than that.
[sub]* – Although my boobs did grow shortly thereafter. I always blamed puberty, but after seeing lieu’s post, I wonder.[/sub]