10 Stolen Ancient Artifacts That Carried Curses

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Science has little room for superstition and magic. Throughout history, no magical solution has ever been found to a scientific question, while the reverse happens, well, constantly.

Except perhaps for the field of archaeology. Even the most sober archaeologist may tell you that some ancient relics and artifacts seem to have a decidedly non-scientific ability to object vehemently to being stolen.

10. Ballista Balls

On the border of Israel and Syria in the late 1980s, crews uncovered several hundred proto-cannonballs used by the Roman Empire to weaken enemy fortifications. According to records, the ancient city of Gamla had been overtaken by the Romans after its walls had been destroyed; 9,000 of the city’s residents plunged to their deaths in the gorge below to avoid capture.

Nobody noticed anything was missing until 2015, when two of the ballista balls made an unexpected appearance in the courtyard of a museum. Accompanying the balls was a note indicating that they had been stolen way back in 1995, with an explanation for their return: “These are two Roman ballista balls from Gamla, from a residential quarter at the foot of the summit. I stole them in July 1995, and since then they have brought me nothing but trouble. Please, do not steal antiquities!”

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