Stealing Lava Rock Brings Bad Luck – Or Does It?

lavarockCan a superstition keep people from stealing? Apparently, it can. Legend has it that taking a piece of lava rock from the Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park – no matter how small the piece is – will bring the thief bad luck, courtesy of the Goddess Pele. So what happens to those who inadvertently bring home a bit of rock or sand in their hiking boots after a trek through the park? Well, if they start experiencing bad luck, they can send the rock back to Hawaii.

There are those who dispute whether this is actually a Hawaiian legend or whether it’s just a creative technique to keep people from taking lava rocks from the park (which is illegal), and the “legend” itself has even been attributed to a particular park historian. But the truth is that it really doesn’t matter whether the legend has any basis in fact – people have been sending lava rocks and sand back to the National Park for years in an attempt to make the cause of their perceived bad luck go away.

Unfortunately, although the lava rocks which are sent back are kept in a display cabinet, the exhibit is not in an area that is open to visitors. The display is in the Kilauea Military Camp, which is a vacation spot for military personnel. There are other organizations which will accept your lava rocks returned to Hawaii (for a small fee, of course), but it’s acknowledged that the best way to atone for your thieving ways is to return the lava rock in person. One return trip to Hawaii, coming up! (That’s not such bad luck, is it?)




And what about the bits of lava rock that you can buy all over Hawaii? They’ll tell you that they’ve struck a deal with the Goddess Pele so she’s not pissy about the rocks leaving Hawaii. But if you start having bad luck after you buy a lava rock, you know what you need to do. Start looking into airfare to Hawaii now, just in case.


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2 thoughts on “Stealing Lava Rock Brings Bad Luck – Or Does It?

  • elizabeth

    My family has a lava rock in our house that my grandmother brought back in 1976. Two days later her daughter died at 27. Doctors revived her 7 minutes later, but she has been a severely braindead ever since. My grandmothers life was never the same. After hearing other stories we really need to send it back, i just fear it will not be sent back safely. Can i send it back by mail or does it have to be my grandmother that writes the appology? and does anyone know of a secure address?

  • Kim

    Hi, I have a lava rock from Hawaii that I talk when me and my husband and daughter are vacationing there in Kona. I’m not sure If my husband warned me about the legend but I talk it anyway we always use it for show and tell to my daughter’s classroom every year. Realizing while wathing tv about hawaii and it click in my head when they say about the curse of taking lava rock from Hawaii, I’m not so sure if it realy real or Just to scare people not to take there lava rock back home so I trace our lives back from after we got back from hawaii, 1. We bought a new house, 2. my husband open a business 3. new baby so no bad luck at all in there but when you think of triple the total dept of my husband to he’s parent, sold the business to he’s friend, thousand of maternity bill, thousand of credit card bills, and we end up having our house rented and move inn to my husband parents house and the lucky thing is we got our equity back after refinance it twice and we didn’t lose the house. I would think that everything happend for a reason and warnings are there for you take a caution. Can’t say if this is just the way life is bad luck or not but there is nothing to lose if you believe on superstitious, or curse. So I would love to return the lava rock in hawaii but I want to make sure that I’m sending it to the real people who could return it there in hawaii. I don’t think our next vacation is going to be on hawaii so I’m going to send it through mail.