Some say just babbling
The same thing happens with people who remove volcanic rock from Hawaii and incur the wrath of the volcano goddess Pele. There are even companies on the internet who will return such pilfered rocks to Hawaii on behalf of the people suffering the bad luck. At airport departure lounges, you sometimes see people shaking the (volcanic) sand out of their shoes just so they don't inadvertently track it back to their homelands.
I once took a bit of dirt from Devil's Tower in the Badlands in Wyoming.BIG MISTAKE!
Must have happened a lot, as they've labeled the letter at the top "Conscience Letter 172". I hope nothing too awful happened to those other 171 families, or to the ones who never made the connection.
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