Before the mummy of Tutankhamun was discovered, the greatest archaeological (haunted) treasure that has been dug was found in Romania, in Buzau county (Pietroasele Treasure). Twenty-two pieces were found, and their history is full of misfortunes to those who had seen it.
The Pietroasele Treasure is found
In 1837 two peasants (Ion Lemnaru and Stan Avram) from the village Pietoasele worked in a quarry and cut limestone for the building of a bridge when they found the jackpot. It is said that they found 29 gold pieces stacked one above the other. One of the peasants, Ion Lemnaru, found this placement similar to how a hen protects her chickens which is why he called it ”the hen and the golden chicken” (in Romanian: Cloșca cu puii de aur).
The two peasants did not fully understand what they did find, they thought that they have found brass vases. They put the treasure in their sweaters and hid it for a year in Stan Avram’s attic.
Slowly they took the treasure out. They went to a smith with some pieces and asked him to melt them to make hinges and horseshoes, but the smith was unable and gave the pieces back. Another story is that they gave a piece to a Roma man to make a vase. The tinker threw the piece away when he could not work with it.
A year after the treasure is found, the authorities heard about it and went to retrieve it. They questioned everyone, including children, and arrested those who found the treasure and hid it from them, including the Albanian man who commissioned the building of the bridge.
The authorities also tried to discover the exact place where the treasure was found. They took Ion Lemnaru and demanded that he show them, but when he was near the place, he suddenly lost his voice. It might be the first curse of the treasure.
The authorities managed to find the treasure, but the two peasants died after the harsh treatment from the jails. Two other men who hid the treasure died: one from tuberculosis and the other in a fire. Even the bridge that was commissioned broke and fell down.
The Pietroasele Treasure is now recognized internationally
In Europe, the news of this treasure delighted everyone. The Romanian authorities lent the treasure to London, Paris, and Viena to be exposed in their museums. Long queues were formed daily. Everyone wanted to see the spectacular treasure.
The French government even asked the Romanian authorities to exhibit the treasure again. They accepted their request and in 1900 the treasure was exposed at Louvre for six long months.
When the time came for the treasure to return home, Edmond Pottier thanked God that the curse was going to end. There were almost 30 fires near the wing of the museum that hosted the Pietroasele treasure.
Romanian writer and historian Alexandru Odobescu took an interest in the gold found in Buzau and wrote a book in three volumes about it (Le trésor de Petrossa), the last two were published after his death. But even his image was ruined by this treasure: another writer spread rumors about him that ruined his reputation.
It is said that the curse hit him: he died not of natural causes, but by his own hand. Many people believed that he suffered from love, but some thought that the bad influence of the gold had a say in his death.
The Pietroasele Treasure is stolen
The heist was not similar to a complex operation made by Danny Ocean or the Professor. It was (blind) luck and a bit of determination.
Usually, in movies, the thieves are professionals, criminals, or children of criminals. Our thief was the son of a priest, a seminary student himself. Or at least he was a seminary student but was expelled because he loves gymnastics too much.
He used his gymnastics skill and stole the treasure. While escaping he threw some of the pieces because it was hard to move with them.
He was found and jailed and a few days before he would be a free man again he was found dead.
The Pietroasele Treasure now
During the first world war, the treasure was given to the Russians to protect it and firstly they refused to give it back.
Now part of the initial treasure is found at the National Museum of Romanian History, in Bucharest where the next curse waits to strike again.