Unlucky lava? National parks still receive rock returns by mail

Local News

If you’re from Hawaii, you’ve probably heard the saying, “Don’t take lava rocks, you’ll get bad luck.”

Even most visitors know not to take lava rocks as souvenirs thanks to a popular episode of “The Brady Bunch” back in the 1980s.

But many people still take lava rocks home, and some are paying the price.

Ross Birch, executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau, said they still get rocks in the mail.

“We still get some,” said IHVB executive director Ross Birch. “It’s pretty infrequent any more as I think the folklore has trickled into our visitors, and they have an education a little deeper than they did five to 10 years ago.”

A recent social media post by Haleakala National Park on Maui urges people to not take lava rocks. It says the park received 1,275 rocks this year in the mail.

Some rocks return in an empty box, but “other ones for the most part come with very detailed and specifics of what happened in their lives,” Birch said. “Illnesses coming into the family, or death in the family, or different things that have happened over a period of time, and the catalyst has always kind of been having that rock.”

Birch says they usually give the rocks to the Hawaii Volcano National Park ranger to put back.

“The rocks are basically a piece of Pele herself, and it belongs here as one whole unit,” Birch said. “Even the smallest most minute still has some significance. It still has powers. It still has the ability or the connection to the islands, regardless of how large or small it is.”

Kahu we spoke to say it’s really about respect and the understanding that everything has its rightful place.

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