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Saturday, 8 January, 2000, 11:20 GMT
Accidental tourist returns 'cursed' stone

Clava Cairns The tourist returned the stone taken from the cairns


A Belgian tourist who took a stone from an ancient Scottish burial site has returned it after complaining it had cursed his family.

Surprised tourism staff received a parcel containing the 2lb stone and an anonymous letter which urged them to return it to its rightful place at Clava Cairns.

The man said that since taking the stone his daughter had broken her leg, his wife had become very ill, and he had lost his job and broken his arm.


Stones Site dates from the Neolithic period
Bob Hunter-Dorans, visitor services assistant at Inverness tourist information centre, said: "He thought he was cursed, definitely.

"He said in the letter 'I know you will probably be laughing at me, but while you are laughing could you please take this stone back to Clava Cairns'."

That site, near Inverness, dates from the Neolithic period and was an extensive burial ground comprising three circles of standing stones with burial chambers in the middle.

Mr Hunter-Dorans said many locals were superstitious about the area and added: "It's not a place you would want to go at night."

He said of the tourist: "He had gone there and he had noticed a stone that he thought looked like a stone age tool and he took it home as a souvenir.

'Run of bad luck'

"He got back to Belgium and he had a run of bad luck.

"He decided the start of this coincided with when he brought back the stone and he thought it had something to do with it."

Mr Hunter-Dorans said: "Obviously the guy was deadly serious so there was no harm in putting it back."

The tourist official said he took the stone home for safe keeping before going to Clava Cairns the following day.

"I left it in my garage overnight because I didn't want to take it into the house or anything," he said.

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