Shocking Discoveries Made During Renovations
Here are some incredible discoveries people made while renovating!Mysteries
Have you ever wondered what could be behind the walls? Some renovators have discovered one in a million items they never knew were there. And some of them are truly shocking! Let's check out some incredible treasures people discovered during renovations.
Beehive Built Into a Wall
Is there any better feeling than finally moving into your new home? After months of endless paperwork and phone calls, having those keys in your hand has to be a real relief. But when one homeowner removed a section of the drywall, they discovered they were sharing their house with some rather unwanted guests: a colony of bees!
But how on earth did this hive grow so wild without the previous owners noticing? Well, chances are it didn’t. Many homes in the past were actually built to encourage bees to nest in the wall; beehives would be installed in homes, along with a network of pipes that bees could use to enter and leave the house to collect nectar.
When the homeowner wanted honey, they could just remove the back of the hive and have that golden deliciousness practically on tap! As for whether the new owners kept their fuzzy flatmates or not, it's now known.
Finding Old Explosives At Home
The bathroom is normally a sacred space. But 70-year-old William Wittman, from St. Francis, Wisconsin, nearly had an explosive accident in his bathroom. While remodeling his toilet temple he reached his hand inside the wall to remove some of the old insulation, but what he found didn’t feel warm or fuzzy.
He pulled out a live 20-inch missile dating back to the Korean War. Turns out, the prior owner was a veteran of the Korean War who, according to his neighbors, liked bringing back souvenirs from his deployments.
William and his wife carefully carried the bomb through to their garage and called the bomb squad, who confiscated the explosive and detonated it safely in a secure location. The explosion was so loud it could be heard on the other side of town! Imagine if William had hammered through the wall not knowing it was there!
In Montreal, Canada just as another homeowner was planning on sealing their crawlspace, they also discovered a bomb! It was an artillery shell for a QF 4.5-inch Howitzer from World War I. This bomb is over 100 years old. And there’s a high chance it’s been sitting in the walls of this house since construction in 1915.
Artillery shells like this are filled with shrapnel, tiny individual bullets which get ejected at rapid speeds. Shrapnel was designed to clear an area of people as efficiently as possible. And yet, someone thought it was a good idea to stick one in their house! Eventually, the bomb squad came to the rescue again.
Donna The Dead
Does anyone else get nightmares about going potty but something’s crawled up the pipes into the bowl ready to bite your peachy rear? One renovator in Baltimore, Maryland got the fright of their life when checking out the bathroom of a foreclosed home they’d bought to renovate. Inside the toilet was an entire head.
Luckily, it’s not a real head. But it’s almost as terrifying. The stare belongs to a Halloween decoration developed by décor company Gemmy around 2009 called Donna the Dead. When she’s not shoved face up into a toilet, this is what Donna normally looks like and she’s absolutely horrifying:
What the owner did with it, we’ll never know and that might not be a bad thing. If I‘d bought that house, I wouldn’t even think about renovating. The whole place would be burned to the ground! I’d never sleep again thinking this could wake me up in the middle of the night!
One rule I live by is "no shoes indoors". I don’t know what you’ve stepped in, and I certainly don’t want it dragged through my home. But, as one electrician discovered, shoes in the house used to be such a big thing it was actually encouraged.
He was doing some rewiring work on an old house in Clinton, Michigan when he discovered some weird things (image below) stashed in the attic. They’re a really old pair of boots some think date back to the prohibition. Others, however, think they’re much older.
Way back in the 1500s people were very superstitious, and many believed in magic. So, people would often hide shoes in the walls and ceilings of their homes to protect them from witches and spirits. The logic was, your cheesy trotters leave a stink in your shoes so pungent it tricks the evil entities into thinking it’s you.
By following their nose towards your old boots, the no-good ghouls get trapped inside the shoe, unable to get out again. It all sounds pretty silly but a museum in Northampton, England has been keeping an inventory of these concealed shoes and so far they have almost 3,000 specimens, with the oldest dating all the way back to 1308.
Lost Van Gogh Painting Found In Attic
Does anyone really know what’s going on in their attic? Most have suitcases, a Christmas tree, and all sorts of other garbage in them. But you never know, there might be something special amongst all that clutter. Back in 2013, one Norwegian man discovered something so special, you could only describe it as a masterpiece.
The man found a painting called Sunset at Montmajour. After receiving some very bad advice, the previous owner assumed it was unimportant and left it consigned to his attic, where it remained for decades. It’s actually by world-renowned artist Vincent van Gogh, and it’s the first original full canvas van Gogh painting discovered since 1928.
A letter from van Gogh to his brother dated from 1888 described a painting he’d done of the exact landscape! And appraisers noted that the painting used the same range of paints van Gogh used in that period, all but confirming the amazing find. After completing its authentication, Sunset at Montmajour was sold to an anonymous buyer for an undisclosed sum.
However, the highest value van Goghs have sold at auction for anything from a massive $39.9 million to an astronomical $82.5 million. So, whoever the lucky bidder was definitely busted their bank account.
14th-Century Ruins Found Under The Gym Floor
When workers ripped up the gym floor of the Cathedral School of Åbo in Turku, Finland, they discovered something fitting for a city founded in the 13th century. Beneath the ball court were the ruins of two houses, vaults, and a road dating back to the city’s formation. This might be the coolest school ever!
Back in 1827, most of Turku was destroyed by a raging fire, and during the rebuild, a lot of the old city became buried under new buildings. When the new gym was built at the beginning of the 1900s, archeologists knew there were ruins underneath it, but didn’t appreciate how significant of a find they were.
Thanks to them, now we have a view into the past and can begin to understand what a thriving city Åbo was almost 1,000 years ago. Eventually, the floor of the gym will be replaced, but I’ve got an idea! How cool would it be if they put in a transparent floor so that the ruins were still visible? It'd be like shooting hoops with their Viking ancestors!
Finding Old Swords At Home
While renovating their 100-year-old home, Reddit user BriCins removed some old floorboards and found a katana concealed among the dirt beneath. It turns out, the original owners of the house had been stationed in the Pacific during World War II!
Not that they’d have fought with the sword they were likely mass-produced and gifted to every Japanese soldier as decorative pieces. It might’ve been 1942 but no one was bringing a katana to a tank fight. As for how the homeowner acquired the sword, we’re not entirely sure.
That’s not the coolest weapon discovered in someone’s house though. Take a look at the ornate machete somebody found in the image below! It’s pretty rusty, but the details on the handle have held up pretty well! Sadly, there’s not a lot of info on this, but it’s probably another decorative sword of some kind.
New Haven Crypt
While ripping up the basement of a church in New Haven, Connecticut back in 1990, some workers uncovered an entire cemetery hidden beneath it! They found 137 tombstones and the remains of up to 1,000 others, and the oldest dates back to 1687. There's no way this place isn’t haunted.
On the plus side, some of the ghosts are kind of famous! The family of the 19th President of the United States, Rutherford B Hayes, is buried here, alongside one of the founders of Yale University, Reverend James Pierpont.
The mystery is who dumped all these famous faces in their basement. Truthfully, nobody. The cemetery was already there! One year after the last gravestone was put in place in 1813, a crypt was built around part of the burial grounds, and a church was built atop it. So, the gravestones underneath have been conserved in their original positions.
Old houses have all these old mysterious secrets! That’s what Grace Benavente learned when she set about renovating a room in her childhood home in Portland, Oregon. After removing the staples holding down the old carpet, she lifted up that tatty flooring to reveal another carpet with a little bit of funk to it, in both looks and smell.
When Grace’s parents bought the home back in 1998, the previous owners had stapled new carpets on top, so they had no idea this retro wreck was submerged beneath their feet the whole time. So, has Grace restored the whole room to its full 1970s glory? No. She’s kept and framed some of the less worn parts of the carpet and gifted them to some of her friends, while keeping a small square for herself.
One Redditor from the UK found £500 worth of banknotes from 1981 wrapped up in the insulation of their home. By today’s values, that’s about $2,100. Sadly, before the lucky finder could search for any more, their dad boarded it back up!
But then again, you could end up like one homeowner near Lake Erie, Ohio. A contractor working on the bathroom of an 83-year-old home was stunned when he found a stupendous $182,000 hidden in the walls. The only thing was they weren’t his walls. And when the homeowner found out, she wanted the large majority of the cash for herself. Out of good faith, she offered the contractor 10%.
However, the contractor demanded 40%. Their dispute over sharing the money got so out of hand that after about a month it caught the attention of the estate of Patrick Dunne, the former owner who’d stashed the money way back in the prohibition era.
Envelopes had been found hidden with the cash that named Dunne’s family as the inheritors, so they sued the homeowner in an attempt to claim it. But by this time, the homeowner had enjoyed a lavish holiday in Hawaii, sold some of the rarer bills, and mysteriously lost $60,000 so there wasn’t a whole lot left.
And what was left ended up being split between both original parties and all 21 of Patrick Dunne’s relatives. So it was a tiny fraction of the original sum! Greed really is a bottomless pit! Had the owner and the contractor settled it between them they’d have both walked away much richer.
After purchasing an abandoned house in Minnesota for himself and his four kids, David Gonzales found a one-of-a-kind treasure stashed away inside the wall, a 1938 Action Comic book, the very first comic featuring Superman! These are super rare and hard to come by, so as you can imagine they draw a pretty penny. The most valuable Action Comic sold for a whopping $2.1 million!
Gonzalez’s copy wasn’t in great condition, but he was still utterly psyched, he was in the money regardless. Or, he would’ve been had the back page not been irreparably damaged in an argument with his wife’s family. It still sold at auction for a significant $175,000, but had it not been damaged it could’ve gone for a stonking $75,000 extra.
Fossils At Home
One of the risks of buying an old house is inheriting all the old problems associated with it. However, Reddit user Cameron sounds probably wasn't expecting to uncover something quite old as the found in the image below. While replacing his kitchen floor, he noticed two fossilized fish on the underside of an old tile.
Fossils like these are commonly excavated from the Green River Formation in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah, and can subsequently find their way onto everyday items. Since the 1870s, an astonishing one million fossilized fish have been discovered here.
The experts predict that a cold snap some 50 million years ago caused dead fish to sink faster because their swim bladders were less inflated. This, combined with the depth of the lakes, made it difficult for scavengers to eat them. As a result, we have these incredibly preserved fossils all this time later. If old fish is your aesthetic, you can buy the tiles online for about $350 apiece.
If old fish bones aren't exciting enough, then you’re really gonna like this next one. In 2017 a Portuguese man was doing construction on his home in Pombal when he unearthed some tiny bone fragments in his yard. Alarmed, he contacted local scientists, who after lengthy efforts to excavate the remains, discovered a 10-foot ribcage and several large vertebrae.
The stonking skeleton once belonged to a ginormous dinosaur in the Brachiosauridae family. The towering beasts lived about 100 to 160 million years ago and at roughly 39 feet tall and a gigantic 82 feet long, this one could be the largest dinosaur ever found in Europe!
Creepy Basket Find
If you’ve ever lived in an apartment without a lot of storage, you’ll know what a struggle it can be. So, when a homeowner removed a wall in their closet and found a secret passageway, you’d think they’d be excited, right? Not if there was a creepy-looking basket sitting there.
After plucking up the courage, the homeowner retrieved the stray vessel, took some deep breaths, and cracked it open. Inside were all sorts of strange objects. Eight old-looking silver goblet frames with glass inserts, some fancy utensils, and a few candle holders had all been wrapped in a quilt for protection.
Could this have belonged to a secret satanic sect? But the homeowner also found a duck statue placed in the bottom of the basket. I can’t get over why the previous owners sealed it all behind a wall.
Children's Book Of Riddles From 1835
When renovating an old home in Quebec, Canada, one Twitter user uncovered a creepy-looking book hidden in the walls. The mysterious tome, titled The Riddle Book; or, Fireside Amusements is full of cryptic little puzzles and mental games, and dates all the way back to 1835.
Some of the riddles were “What is it that makes everything visible but is itself unseen?”, “What is that which is often brought to table, often cut but never eaten?”, “Which were made first, elbows or knees?”
Sadly it doesn’t contain the answers to the riddles. That’s the most infuriating thing I’ve ever heard. And the book wasn’t the only distinctive discovery. An amber ring was hidden elsewhere in the house, and an old casket handle was buried in the garden.
Back in 2010, Reddit user TheRedGeradir’s grandparents bought a house and, while renovating, ripped up the floors to find a 25-foot-deep well right beneath their kitchen. I’d be covering that right back up before any little girl with long black hair starts crawling out of it.
Luckily, no such girl did come out. Instead, they found a small underground river at the bottom that flows beneath the house. I’d hazard a guess then that the house was extended out over the well at some point, rather than someone boring a chasm through their floor.
Regardless, the homeowners didn’t see it as an eyesore, they saw an opportunity. They added lights, covered it with glass, and integrated it into their new design. Check that out in the image below:
What an awesome feature! There’re even a few plants growing in there which makes it look even cooler! Old wells in houses might be a lot more common than we think. In York, England, another glassed-over well can be seen in Hornington Manor, a converted farmhouse first documented in 1775! The glass is even strong enough for brave visitors to stand on it.
I want one of these so badly I might just dig a hole in the middle of my living room. On second thoughts, they’re cool until you hear a tapping on the glass in the middle of the night.
I hope you were amazed at these shocking discoveries made during renovations! Thanks for reading.