The Curse of the Petrified Forest
N 34° 48.900 W 109° 51.875
12S E 603843 N 3853115
Quick Description: Petrified wood. Beautiful stones or a mineral as deadly as the fabled Hope Diamond? These colorful rocks can mean the destruction of your lives, if you dare take them! Is it truth or is it fiction? You decide....
Location: Arizona, United States
Date Posted: 9/26/2005 4:06:26 AM
Waymark Code: WM1YM
In the Rainbow Forest Museum at Petrified Forest National Park, is a room filled with letters of repentent thieves. Heartbreaking, yet often hilarious confessions of those who picked up a piece of petrified wood in the park, only to regret it later. Some claim the rocks have ruined their lives. If you choose, you can sit in a chair and read any of the notebooks filled with the letters. Tales of divorce, ruined love lives, illnesses, unemployment, bad hair days, accidents, arrests and death.
From an article in the Tucson Weekly:
One woman returned a piece of wood that her sister had stolen on her honeymoon trip in 1958. The marriage collapsed and ended in a bitter divorce, and for 20 years the sister was involved in a live-in relationship with an abusive man. "I don't know if any of these unfortunate things happened as a result of the wood," said the letter, "but I do know that it was a negative thing to bring into the family."
A woman wrote about her mother-in-law stealing a piece of wood in 1945, but not finding out about the curse until 40 years later. The news made her wonder if that little Arizona fossil wasn't the reason her husband died in his 40s, her grandkids suffer pneumonia and seizures, and she's even had terrible luck buying lottery tickets. "Now she has decided to apply to elderly housing and faces waiting lists of five to seven years," the letter said.
"These miserable rocks...have caused pure havoc in my love life, and Cheryl's, too. By the time these rocks reach you, things should be back to normal. If not, I give up. Dateless and Desperate."
Like the experience of the fellow who swiped a piece of wood, but didn't tell his pal, Billy, until they were approaching the inspection station. This forced Billy to lie when the ranger asked if they'd removed any wood from the park. "This made him unhappy," said the writer, "and I think he's still a little mad at me. What's worse, Billy's Mercedes won't start now."
Tucson Weekly article
Park officials are more than happy to promote this curse since they estimate that 12-15 tons of petrified wood disappear from the park each year. Curse? Power of suggestion? Guilty conscience? Or a clever ploy to reduce theft of the rocks?
To claim credit for this waymark, please take a gps photo of one the entrance to this museum. If you like the petrified wood, you can purchase some at any gift shop in the area for very little money. The curse does not go along with it when you buy it.
(The coordinates may be a bit off. Would the first finder please let me know via email or in the visit log if there is a discrepancy.)