Cursed Rocks

stonesThe packages seem totally innocuous. Not very large. Slightly heavier than you might expect for their size. Addressed to Gettysburg National Military Park, but not to a specific department or person.  Often without a return address. Not terribly unusual at all.

Except for the curse.

The boxes in question hold rocks. Rocks that were previously removed from the park, and are now being returned. In almost every case, they also contain a letter, such as the one below,  received  in May of this year:Letter #1

Or this one, from June 2015:

Letter #2

It is important to remember that removing rocks from the park is a violation of Chapter 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Section 2.1(a)(1)(iv) prohibits  “Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging or disturbing from its natural state a mineral resource or cave formation or the parts thereof.”  If these individuals had been caught in the act, they would have been cited and fined $100, plus a $30 processing fee. All in all, they may have preferred that.

Rocks at the Eternal Peace Light

Rocks like these have arrived in the mail at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Now, I know what you’re thinking (only because I’ve had people say this to me): “But it’s only one little rock!” True. But while it may be “one little rock” to you, Gettysburg National Military Park receives over 1 million visitors every year.  What if every visitor took “one little rock”? How long before that starts to have an adverse impact on all of our resources, but in particular, our stone walls? How long before you, our dear readers, and other visitors, start to notice that impact?

Many of the stone walls here in the park are historic, and existed at the time of the battle. Some were erected by the farmers as boundaries for their fields, and some were thrown up in haste by soldiers looking for cover. Later stone walls were repaired and rebuilt along battle lines by the War Department, Gettysburg National Military Park Commission, who oversaw the park before its transfer to the NPS in 1933.  These walls were completed in 1896, and are historic in their own right.

National Parks were created in 1916 (it’s our 100th birthday!) to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations (Organic Act, 1916). All we ask is that you enjoy your time here in Gettysburg without removing anything that would contribute to any kind of impairment.

So no matter how pretty that rock is, or how small it might be, or how much you really want something to remind you of how much you love Gettysburg, please remember that it needs to remain right where it is.

Unless, of course, you want to be cursed.

By Maria Brady, Park Ranger, July 7, 2016

 

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10 Responses to Cursed Rocks

  1. I try to keep up with the new stories on your blog and this is the most amusing one I’ve ever read! I’m not a “ghost person”, but I’m superstitious enough that I’d never imagine removing *anything* from the battlefield, even if it was legal! Great writing and I hope to see more stories of this caliber 🙂

  2. Jeff Rutledge says:

    My wife and I were at the Military Cemetary in Sept. of last year. As we were walking along my wife stopped and picked up 2 Buckeyes that had fallen from one of the beautiful trees that grow alongside the road. She said that we should take these home as a reminder of our visit. I told her it was a bad idea and almost immediately, mind you there was very little breeze, a buckeye came falling with force right between us and smashed on the pavement. My wife dropped the buckeyes and said “I guess that was their way of telling me not to take them”.

  3. Brian says:

    Many national parks say the same thing about their rocks. We were at Volcano National Park in Hawaii and they said they received hundreds of boxes every year from people who returned lava rocks they took because they were cursed.

  4. Pingback: Gettysburg stones may hold craggy curse, park says | CNC

  5. Pingback: Gettysburg stones may hold craggy curse, park says | News Online

  6. Reblogged this on Off-the-couch Art and commented:
    This is a neat read, and an important reminder to preserve our parks. I guess I’ve been guilty of taking rocks from some of the places I’ve visited, though I didn’t take any from Gettysburg, or any other National Park.

  7. Pingback: Stop Stealing Rocks From Gettysburg — They Might Be Cursed

  8. E. Peter Walzer says:

    And the legend continues. Nice piece Maria.

  9. Christine Duncan says:

    Never take rocks from Gettysburg or anything else, period. I have been visiting Gettysburg for years and fasin with our American, civil war history. It was a cold February day I was visiting the spot at devils den where the famous picture is “the sharpshooters grave.” Very nieve and innocent enough I wanted to take home a piece of history, i took some rocks in broad daylight, wasn’t hiding them I took them as a souvenir. Well that was the biggest mistake of my life. A few months went by my family heard voices. I had things moved in my house that was unexplainable. One night my daughter was almost smothered and held down and a voice laughed. Her bed shook, she didn’t sleep in my house for a week she stayed at my other daughters. I didn’t believe what had happened to her. Well until one night I felt like someone was watching me. I took a picture in my room and all these orbs were flying around. Then I heard the evil, threatening voices. Through the weeks it was more intense. The voices threatened my family, that touched me, and I had scratches. They mentioned all my families names, where I worked they knew everything about me. They were evil saying horrible, dirty things. They said” white light won’t protect you” and laughed. I can go on and on they always were verbal. Then bad things started to happen to my family and me. One night I was alone and my towel I was in was being moved. They were getting physical. I panicked it was very bad that I called a paranormal team and hysterical. They told me, “ take the rocks back ASAP.” My whole family drove three in a half hours to that site with those rocks. I said a before prayer and placed them down and told them I was very sorry. It was emotional for me between everything that was happening and hoping it would be the end. Before I left I took a picture, his voice said, “you took a picture of me” and “you don’t have to let go,” we all got out of there as soon as we could. I drove there because I wanted to make sure I placed the rocks in the same exact spot I got them from. I felt better. Things are calming down. Please don’t touch those rocks you will Be cursed. A voice in my bedroom when I had the rocks in my house said “ you are cursed.” A story that’s hard to believe trust me it’s real and it was a nightmare.

    • Angie says:

      I am a very logical person, but I must say that I believe every bit of what you wrote, as “unbelievable” as it may seem to many. My husband, son and I lived in a townhome in suburban Maryland. On the weekends, we would often drive to PA to get away from the busy area we lived. Our favorite day trip was to Gettysburg, specifically strolling around The Devil’s Den area, taking photos. My husband is a history buff, so we were always very careful to be respectful, understanding the horror that once happened there. No, we never picked up any rocks, but one time, I noticed a lot of beautiful, fragrant honeysuckle growing around the Devil’s Den. Not thinking much about it, I snapped off a couple of foot long pieces and took them home with me. I put them in a silk flower arrangement that I already had sitting on my kitchen countertop. Not too long after that, we started having weird, unexplained things occur in our house. At first, it was once every couple of weeks, then as time went on, every night….to the point that hubby and I would sleep downstairs in the living room until after 3:30 am before going to bed. Our sheets were tugged at night, we heard heavy footsteps in the empty attic above our bedroom, two times object on the dresser “fell” off and traveled to the other side of the room. One time I woke up, looking at an unexplained “fog” forming on the wall behind where my husband was sleeping (we were sleeping, facing each other). As soon as the thought of “there is something there messing with my husband” entered my mind, he jumped from out of a sound sleep, yelling, “get the F off of me!!” I asked him what happened. He said he felt there was a man behind him, leaning down on his shoulder, trying to crawl over him to get to me! WTF!? There were so many other unexplained things that happened, too many to list….the time the house alarm started saying “front door” at 3am, but we had never activated the alarm since moving in …was left from the previous owner. Yeah, I even called ADT to really debunk. They walked me through checking the backup battery in the basement, which was completely disconnected. Made no sense!

      At one point, I passed by the flower arrangement in the kitchen that had the honeysuckle, which had dried nicely, and thought, “maybe I brought a ghost home from The Devil’s Den?”. I threw the honeysuckle away, but the activity kept on. I’m not sure if that was the reason for the strange things happening or only part of the reason. During that time, we had bought quite a few things from second hand stores and antique stores. The strange stuff kept happening until we finally were able to sell and move (dealt with this for about four years). In moving, I donated and consigned everything I though could have brought something into the house. When we moved, as we closed the door for the last time, my husband and I stood at the door and talked to whatever was there that it wasn’t allowed to follow us. I know, we felt like total loons doing this, but we both knew what we had experienced and was willing to try anything to not have to go through it again. We have not had any problems in our new place …and it has been about five years since we moved. We stay FAR away from flea markets, swap meets, antique stores, second hand stores….and if we do go somewhere like Gettysburg, we don’t bring anything back home with us! Call us crazy, I probably would too before all of this, but not being able to sleep because unexplained freaky stuff is happening in your house isn’t worth that cute antique or honeysuckle! I laugh when I watch those ghost shows on TV. Their few experiences were nothing compared to what we lived through. Good luck!

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