Type: Superstition/Folk Belief
- “In Hawaii, and everywhere else, you are never supposed to pick up rocks, shells (or anything ‘natural’) from the ground, and you are never supposed to bring them with you. You cannot bring these things with you. If you do, it was always said that ‘the spirits’ who occupied the ‘natural’ items would then follow you around forever, and bring you bad luck and misfortune. The only way to stop this from happening would be to return the item to its exact location where you picked it up…exactly where you found it basically. Then, the spirits would return to their item and place, and the bad luck would disappear.”
- I obtained this piece of folklore from a family member, Jeff. Jeff is in his late 40’s, and he spent eleven years of his life in Hawaii, where he was born and raised. Living on an island, Jeff had lots of freedom, as you could never really get lost. When he was living there, him and his friends would explore around the island, but it was superstition that no matter where you went, you could NEVER pick up rocks, shells, leaves, etc. from the ground. Even to this day, Jeff does not pick up “natural” things from the ground, since he still believes that it will bring him bad luck, and he does not want to go through the effort of returning the object.
- Hawaii is a very natural, forested, as well as beach-y place. Rocks, shells, leaves, bark, etc. are all abundant throughout all islands, and many of these items have a beauty to them; a natural, nice looking aesthetic, whether that be pattern, color, shape, or size. The appeal to take these items from the ground is probably high. Hawaii is also known to be a spiritual place, many of the religions of the native populations include spirits. This superstition is passed around friend groups and family members.
- I think this is an interesting folk superstition, unlike anything I have ever heard. Unlike other superstitions, this one has a connection between spirits and actual items, and for as long as I can remember I have been picking up shells and rocks at the beach, not knowing that there is a common belief that one should not do that. What also is fascinating is that my cousin Jeff still, to this day, will not pick anything up from the ground, because of this strong superstition.