Having artifacts passed down to you can reveal truths about your ancestors. They are invaluable gems because the contents inside are frequently no longer available for purchase. They may also reveal historical information.
The land that a German woman received from her great aunt was full of hidden treasure. A big, rusted safe was one of the most common things. It begged to be opened, and the woman did just that. Continue reading to learn more about this fascinating discovery story.
An Unknown Inheritance.
Inheritances can be unexpected, and this one was no different. A German woman had no idea what was inside the rusting chest given for her by her great aunt. The huge piece of metal appeared to be questionable.
The woman had no idea why anyone, let alone her great aunt, would require such a large and tight box. The chest seems to have been around for a long period based on its state.
Experiencing World War II.
While the woman had no knowledge of the safe other than its bad state and the fact that she had inherited it, she did have some knowledge of her great aunt’s past. In the 1940s, the late woman had escaped Russia.
In the same decade that World War II was raging, she settled in Hamburg, Germany. It felt like a risky decision, but she couldn’t ask her great aunt why she’d gone ahead with it.
Her Past Is In Her Hands.
If the woman hoped to learn more about her great aunt’s past, she needed to first open the chest. It appeared that just breaking into the chest would be impossible. It might as well have been glued shut, given how much it had rusted over the years.
Clearly, her great aunt thought whatever was within needed to be carefully guarded. Despite this, she had given a key to her great-niece. Even yet, there was no way of knowing whether the key would work on such an antique box.
Prepare to be surprised by what the safe reveals!.
There appeared to be nothing within.
The woman fiddled with the key, seeking to open the enigmatic safe. The key worked even though the safe appeared to be decades old. Even more amazing, she was able to pry the door open.
Her interest was piqued further when she noticed that there appeared to be nothing within. Instead, all that was left was a shallow dish with no contents. Her great aunt could have left her an antique safe with nothing in it, for all she knew.
Taking a closer look.
Despite the fact that the tray appeared to be empty, the woman couldn’t help but examine the safe more thoroughly. It seemed strange that her aunt would have something so sturdy and yet refuse to use it.
As the woman examined it more thoroughly, she discovered a trap door. The tray rose, revealing a hidden compartment in the safe. It appeared to be a collection of oddities at first glance. They were taken out for additional scrutiny by the woman.
Treasures that have been hidden.
As the woman began to dig through the items in the chest, she discovered there were more family secrets in there than she’d first realized. Boxes and packages revealed heapings of family photographs that dated back decades.
There were also postcards with still-legible messages. Between the pictures and the writings, the woman could possibly piece together more information about her late ancestors than she previously knew. Additionally, there were a few books that might offer some clues.
Let’s take a closer look at the literature that was found in the safe.
This is a classic novel.
One of the items she found was the classic novel, Rob Roy . Written by Sir Walter Scott back in 1817, the historical work is based on a real person who has been considered the Scottish Robin Hood.
The tale of rebellion and courage was clearly one that her great aunt had valued since she had it locked away in a safe. Judging by the book’s appearance, it could be a vintage edition that might be worth something.
Another historical relic.
Another piece of literature that the woman found was Leipzig by Bernhard Tauchnitz. Bernhard was a German publisher who founded his firm in 1837. His company put out various texts such as classics and dictionaries.
Known for accuracy, the Tauchnitz books would often be used as a reference. Leipzig is a city in Germany where Tauchnitz ran his business. There would likely be some valuable information about the historical town in this book, which was published in 1846.
A well-known story.
One book she found that is still relevant today is a classic edition of Lady and the Tramp . Many of the Disney tales we’ve come to love were adaptations of stories written years prior by someone else.
Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid , and countless other Disney films were originally tales that came from various authors throughout history. The original Lady and the Tramp was ultimately discontinued.
The Classic Reveals a Few Things.
The Lady and the Tramp that the woman discovered in her great aunt’s safe in 1953 is not the same as the Disney version. The story, written by Ward Greene, has Lady significantly more indulged, then obviously abandoned once the baby arrives.
Tramp’s street persona becomes more prominent, and Trusty dies. It’s a fantastic find, despite the fact that it’s not kid-friendly. Her edition was also in German, making it much more unusual.
Let’s have a look at some of the images that were discovered.
A photograph of the family.
The woman thought the photograph she found was of her great-grandparents with her grandma. Long before “say cheese” became the standard, the family’s straight expressions were distinctive.
Given that the photographs were kept in a safe, it’s possible that this was the first time the woman had seen any of her older relatives. It’s remarkable merely to see a photograph of individuals from so long ago, but it’s much more remarkable when those people are relatives.
Grandpa Riding His Motorcycle.
The woman’s grandfather is riding a motorcycle on a country road in this shot. The photograph conveys how long ago it was to see cows grazing in the backdrop beside a man on a bicycle.
It must have been particularly eye-opening for the woman to encounter an older cousin who appeared to be so young and carefree. Images like these can help to bridge generations by reminding us that we were all once children.
The War’s Detriment.
This image depicts a house that was destroyed during WWII. It could have been treasured by the woman’s great aunt as a remembrance of her ordeal. She might have known the resident of the house.
This image was significant to the great aunt for whatever reason. At the very least, it transmits to younger generations the true meaning of a world war. It’s not a pleasant sight, but it’s something our forefathers had to deal with.
Let’s have a look at what else the woman discovered.
A postcard from World War I.
The woman also discovered a large number of postcards in the safe. This one, from 1916, depicts a soldier kissing his sweetheart. It’s possible that the woman’s great aunt lived to see both World Wars, or that she acquired this card from a relative.
In either case, it emphasizes the value of keeping things within the family. The note on the back of this card was most likely jam-packed with details about who sent it and why.
Another Insightful Postcard.
Another postcard, depicting a soldier and a nurse, was discovered in the safe. It’s likely that these postcards were sent to and received by the same individuals. Each item in the safe, like chapters in a book, adds to the plot.
Perhaps the woman’s great aunt worked as a nurse during one or both World Wars. Only the woman knows what was written on these cards, assuming that they are still readable.
Nivea has a long history.
These ancient Nivea Creme cans tell a lot more than you might expect. It’s not surprising that they’re inscribed in German, given that they were most likely purchased near the great aunt’s home, but it’s noteworthy.
This is due to the fact that Nivea was founded in Germany in 1882! Despite the fact that the brand is now ubiquitous, it is one that has likely outlasted many of the other products in most people’s cabinets. It only goes to show that you never know what tiny objects you have lying about will turn into riches in the future.
Up next, a mystery attic suitcase with even more antique relics.
The Attic’s Secrets.
Rudy is the elder gentleman in the orange sweater. When he was a young boy, he and his family fled from Czechoslovakia during WWII. He uncovered buried treasures in his attic 70 years later.
His father kept the goods in a safe place. Rudy knew that there was more to be seen, so he got in touch with experts in the area. Representatives from a nearby museum and even the mayor all joined in as Rudy made his great discovery.
A Trap Door Is Found.
Though many people had been in the attic over the decades, only Rudy had noticed a small but vital detail. There was a string emerging from one of the wooden boards. He pulled on it until two boards became loose enough to remove them.
Now that the boards were gone, Rudy could see that there was a hideout on the other side. The secret spot was full of items that had been tucked away for many years.
Items that have been cleverly hidden.
It was a good thing that Rudy had a team with him because there were far too many items for one man to tackle alone. Altogether, there were a whopping 70 packages hidden in his father’s secret compartment in the attic.
So many packages couldn’t just be shoved into a hole in the wall. Instead, they were carefully placed in a vault in the skylight. There still wasn’t very much room, but Rudy’s father somehow managed to jigsaw all of the items just so.
Now let’s see what sorts of items were in these mysterious packages.
The Packages Are Being Opened.
Rudy was true in that his father had left many secrets behind, but what was inside remained a mystery. When the team started opening the packages, they discovered a slew of WWII-era mementos.
Among the many objects unearthed were the dolls shown here. Some objects were left out in the open, despite the fact that the majority of them were wrapped in paper. They discovered hats, clothes hangers, and newspapers, among other things.
Inspection by a professional.
Paperweights, umbrellas, school tables, badges, books, sewing kits, and other objects were included in the gifts. It may seem strange that someone would hide such commonplace objects, yet it isn’t unthinkable during a World War.
Each and every issue was taken seriously by the experts. They looked over everything to see how it was. The artifacts were not rundown in the manner you’d anticipate something of that age to be because they had not been touched for so long.
Because they were basically maintained in a time capsule, these uncommon finds are considered extremely precious. They are historically significant and can provide insight into the past.
Two participants in Rudy’s discovery hold up an excellent painting that was retrieved in this shot. It appears to be something you’d find in a modern art gallery. The things were clearly handled with great care by Rudy’s father, and they will continue to be kept with care.
What Will They Do Now?.
The artefacts will be donated to a Czech museum in Usti Nad Labem. The state has the legal right to keep what was left behind after the war because the goods are German property.
Two boxes on the left have the years “1939” and “1940” written on them, putting them in the middle of the WWII timeframe. The museum will be able to restore the artefacts properly so that visitors may get a sense of the past.
Continue reading to hear the incredible story of a fire department captain who received the biggest surprise of his life when he bought a house.
A Common Real Estate Transaction.
John Sims wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary when he bought his new home located in a midtown neighborhood of Tucson, Arizona. But buying the home turned into one of the most astonishing events of his life, thanks to a disturbing rumor about the house and a curiosity about it that just wouldn’t quit.
According to the previous owner of the house, there was something buried in the backyard. John just couldn’t rest knowing that there could be a secret buried somewhere out there, and he set out to find it. Continue reading to hear more about John’s search for answers to a decades-old mystery.
It’s Time To Hand Over The Keys.
John Sims purchased a home that had formerly belonged to a friend. John felt secure in his purchase knowing that this friend had already lived there and would have told him if there was anything wrong with the house.
But after John closed on the property, his friend said something unexpected. He told John that there were weird rumors about the house, rumors that involved a mystery surrounding something that was supposedly buried in the backyard years earlier.
What Should I Do With This Information?.
John’s friend, who had previously owned the house John just purchased, had told him an exciting, yet creepy, hint about the property. But it turns out that the friend had never invested the time to find out whether the rumors were true.
As John set about unpacking and the other routine tasks of settling into a new house, he couldn’t stop thinking about his friend’s words. He just had to find out for himself what was going on in his backyard.
It was up to him to solve the puzzle.
Now that he had become a bit obsessed with the hint of a mystery surrounding his new home, John realized that he was going to do whatever it took to get to the bottom of things. In fact, he’d been so intrigued when the friend first mentioned the home’s secret that he’d jokingly asked to borrow a shovel.
Soon he’d realize that it would take more equipment than a single shovel. And although John had no idea what exactly he was looking for, he decided to investigate.
I’m not sure where to begin.
John enjoyed thinking about the mystery encased in his backyard. What could it be? He knew it was possible that there was nothing to the rumor and that he might not find anything. But he also knew that he could end up finding something amazing.
Not able to stand the uncertainty anymore, John thought about what he was going to do next. He could fill in any holes and repair his lawn later. The task at hand was more important than his yard’s appearance. So he got out a shovel and started to dig.
A Triple-Digit Danger.
John was so determined to get to the bottom of these rumors that he was willing to overcome a lot of difficulties. Tucson, Arizona gets hot in the summer – as in triple digit hot. Those kind of conditions are dangerous to work in.
At this moment, many individuals would have given up. John, however, was unfazed and proceeded on with his quest. He dug with his shovel in hand. And then there was digging. He was hoping that all of his hard work would pay off.
The yard was littered with holes.
When John began his arduous digging, he had no plans in place. In his backyard, he simply began digging hole after hole. John had dug four different holes, destroying his yard in the process, but he still hadn’t discovered anything.
He began to be concerned that, if there was anything worth finding out there, he might have destroyed it with his digging. Disappointment set in, and John gave up hope of solving the mystery in his yard.
The light bulb goes off.
John’s brief dissatisfaction with his status and break from digging caused him to reconsider his position. He had a fresh notion, one that would ultimately lead him to the location of his home’s enigmatic treasure.
He went through Tucson’s city records, page by page, until he found information about his own house. For all of his hard work, John was handsomely rewarded. He got some further information about what might be hiding beneath his yard.
Clues have been added to the game.
The Tucson municipal records confirmed what John previously knew, such as the year his house was built. However, John discovered something new thanks to a sketchy sketch in the paperwork.
According to the records, Whitaker Pools sought for a permit to work on the land in 1961, which is more than 50 years ago. However, John’s house lacked a pool. So, in 1961, what precisely did the pool company do there? Everyone was taken aback by the answer to that inquiry.
The mystery grows much more engrossing.
Now that he had a sketch and additional information, John understood he needed to be more cautious in his search. No more hasty digging with his shovel based solely on instinct! It was time to get serious, not jokes.
As a result, John engaged a team of consultants, who arrived with all of the necessary equipment, including metal detectors. Hopefully, they would be able to solve this enigma once and for all.
Is There Anything The Metal Detectors Can Find?.
John hoped to find out soon whether those old, enigmatic whispers about his new residence were real as the search became more measured and focused. The metal detectors, however, remained silent as the team of consultants went over different portions of his lawn.
As it appeared that the consultants would also come up empty-handed in their quest, the tension rose. The detectors, on the other hand, began to go off. John was enthralled by the sound.
What were the results of the metal detectors?.
There are a number of sites to look into further.
John was ecstatic to hear the metal detectors of the specialists pinging in the hot Arizona air. And there’s more good news: the machines found not one, but two potential hotspots! After carefully marking both the locations in his backyard, John was able to briefly rest as he planned the next step of his search.
Now John’s efforts would be focused and he wouldn’t have to expend his efforts haphazardly. He could barely wait to discover what it was under his backyard.
The Shovel is brought out once more.
John grabbed his shovel and got back to the hot and difficult task of digging. This time, however, he knew exactly where to focus his efforts. With anticipation, he began to dig at the two spots that the metal detectors had located.
His work paid off quickly at the second site pinpointed by the consultants. It wasn’t long at all before he felt his shovel hit something hard, and he heard the tell-tale scrape of metal against metal. John was so close to solving his backyard mystery.
Down three feet.
John had been digging about three feet down into the earth when he first felt his shovel hit the metal object. While he was glad to finally discover something, he began to worry that it was a septic tank that he’d found.
Not only would a septic tank be a disappointing find after all this time and work, but it also meant that John had to be extra careful when he continued to dig around it. Damaging a septic tank or breaking a pipe would be very bad news, indeed.
Would John be rewarded for his efforts?.
There are more questions to be answered.
John had finally determined that the thing buried under his new home’s backyard wasn’t a septic tank. But now that he had uncovered a substantial part of the structure and could visually examine it, there seemed to be even more questions to answer than when he started his journey.
The concrete form that John had unearthed appeared to be something resembling an entryway. But where did it lead, and how did you get into it?.
We’re getting closer to getting in.
John was astonished to see that his backyard contained an entryway or portal of some sort, buried deep under the ground. He was so close to getting to the bottom of the mystery!.
He began to clear the ground and uncovered a hatch with a lid at the entrance. He cautiously pulled the lid off, but his experience as a fire department captain taught him that entering the opening was not yet safe.
It’s been a long day of waiting.
You can easily imagine John’s delight at finally learning the truth about his backyard’s buried mystery. But it was required to wait a day. He had learned about the perils of restricted areas from his fire department training.
Mold or hazardous vapors could be present in the region, making it dangerous to breathe. When John eventually went underground, he realized he’d need several people to help him if the structure collapsed or if he became stuck in any way.
John’s “Moment Of Truth” has arrived.
It was finally time for John to access the concealed space beyond the hatch after what must have felt like an eternity of waiting. This backyard explorer’s moment of truth has arrived: he was going to find out what was beneath there.
John sat down and peered inside the opening bordered by the metal hatch with caution. The scene that greeted his enquiring gaze was totally unexpected! So, what exactly was it?.
What exactly is it?.
When John gazed down through the hatch for the first time, he was absolutely taken aback by what he saw. It looked like a tangle of razor-sharp metal blades. What may be their goal?.
It didn’t take long for his eyes to adjust and he was able to see what he was truly looking at. The metal blades, which appeared to be random, were actually part of a spiral staircase that led further deeper into the dirt beneath John’s home.
A Dangerous Proposal.
John may have rushed down the spiral staircase he’d just discovered in his backyard in his excitement. After all, the answer to the enigma was so close to him that he could almost feel it.
He, on the other hand, did not. John’s skills as a fire captain, as well as his common sense, kept him from accessing the underground chamber he’d discovered directly on his own property. There were simply too many dangers.
What were the dangers of merely strolling down the spiral staircase that led down into the ground? To begin with, the construction was just not stable. It had been erected more than 50 years before John discovered it, and he had no idea how bad it was.
Second, John realized it would be ideal if he had company when he ultimately went down the hatch. If he were stuck or the structure fell, they could assist him. As a result, he gathered a group of pals to assist him in making the structure safe to enter.
He devised a strategy.
The pieces of a plan start to fall into place.
With his backyard find, John was being cautious. Even though he was giddy with anticipation at the thought of finally completing the puzzle, he realized that his safety came first.
John devised a plan to safely enter the underground space with the help of his closest friends. Their long-term strategy was about to pay off in a big, unexpected way. Fortunately, they documented their discovery along the way so that they could share the details of their research with others.
The Passageway is being prepared.
After sitting abandoned for decades, John had no idea what state the structure might be in. As a result, he and his friends recognized they needed to reinforce and repair the entire concrete entrance.
The spiral staircase that led down into the underground chamber was also in desperate need of repair. The metal steps were nearly rusted through and were not yet safe to stand on. If they were to be used in their current state, they might potentially collapse.
Despite these unavoidable delays, John was coming closer to solving the puzzle!.
As stable as a rock.
With new rebar and many layers of concrete, John Sims and his friends enlarged and reinforced the doorway surrounding the stairs. This procedure was very important to safeguard the safety of the contestants. Otherwise, the danger of a structural collapse was too significant.
Their curiosity and excitement kept them going as they poured layer after layer of concrete. And their task was made all the more unbearable in the Arizona heat. They put up a tent to help block the sun and keep the temperature relatively cool.
There are a few more tasks to complete.
John is obviously the type of person who thinks ahead. He knew that when he was finally, at long last, able to enter the mystery structure in his backyard he needed to be able to see. Many people would just rush ahead with a flashlight, but not John.
So he installed an electrical line that would allow for the space to be illuminated. He and his friends could also use power tools down there if necessary, once the electrical line was complete.
It’s Like Taking A Breath Of Fresh Air.
As we’ve read, John’s work as a firefighter made him very aware of the danger of tight, enclosed spaces. Mold and gas leaks were a major concern in the 50-year-old structure he was about to enter.
A pipe was planted in the entryway by John and his companions. It would force fresh air into the room, making things safer if they were finally allowed in. It was almost time for everyone to see what had been hidden in John’s backyard for so long.
One final step.
Unfortunately, John and his pals were unable to repair the rusted spiral staircase; it would have to be repaired from the inside. It was too dangerous to put any weight on the steps because no one knew how durable they were. So, how would individuals safely enter the space?.
John had the answer. He went out and got a tall ladder, which he secured at the entryway. He was about to find out what was down there for the first time.
The wait was finally over.
Finally, John learned the secret that he’d overheard his friend discuss. He’d been almost obsessed with discovering the truth behind the story, and he’d put in a lot of effort to get to this point.
He was ready to descend the ladder and into the enigmatic hole in his garden, the first person to do so in 50 years! John’s mind raced wild as he descended. What was he about to witness?.
Taking a Step Into Space.
As his enthusiasm rose, John lowered himself down the ladder, rung by rung. He took a step down the ladder and was ultimately rewarded for his efforts.
He was taken aback when he discovered a large area beneath his garden! It was also in good condition, with a firm floor. That wasn’t all, though. There was an extensive network of tunnels that formed a complex down there!.
The Rumors Were Correct.
John’s friend, the previous owner of the house he had just bought, had told him of a secret hidden deep in the rear. John had discovered via his investigation that the facility in question had been built by Whitaker Pools.
This deep cavern, on the other hand, was plainly not a pool. The structure’s intended use was revealed by the year it was built, 1961. And as soon as John saw the space, he knew exactly what it was for.
Years have taken their toll on him.
Although the structure seemed to be in pretty good shape given its age, one thing was a giveaway to John that he still had some work to make the space safe. The fiberglass ceiling held the key.
Fiberglass can be extremely toxic to people if they breathe it in, and is an irritant to bare skin. And the fiberglass in the ceiling was coming apart – not a good thing at all. But it was something that could be repaired, fortunately. And John wasn’t ready to give up on his new find anyway, after all the work he had put in.
It’s a Cold War relic.
The structure below John Sims’ house, although huge, was empty of furnishings or any other décor. It became obvious immediately that the underground bunker was built as a nuclear fallout shelter.
Many people had grown fearful, even paranoid, during the period of Cold War hostilities between the Soviet Union and the U.S., and had built backyard bomb shelters as a result. But why had a company called Whitaker Pools built a nuclear bunker?.
Working two jobs at once.
It turns out that Whitaker Pools had responded to consumer demand during the Cold War and had added building backyard bomb shelters to its list of services. In fact, this was pretty common across the country.
As pool builders realized that building fallout shelters wasn’t all that different from building inground pool shells, many of them expanded their operations accordingly. By 1961, one Los Angeles company called Catalina Pools had built 500 shelters! .
A Brand-New Underground Business Opportunity.
What would you do if you discovered that you had an enormous maze of rooms buried right in your own backyard? How would you use the space? John’s friends had some fun ideas for him, including a cigar bar, wine cellar, or “man cave.”.
Other people around the world have converted old bunkers into beautiful modern homes, hotels, art galleries, and recording studios. But John had something different in mind for his backyard treasure.
With backyard bomb shelters, John was able to connect with others.
After posting about his bomb shelter online, John Sims learned that he was in good company. His post on Reddit went viral, and he began connecting to others who have backyard fallout shelters.
His interest in these shelters, and the Cold War era, has grown. In fact, he has special plans to turn his own historical bunker into a museum of sorts – meaning he has a lot of work ahead of him. So what was the next step for John?.
It all began with a GoFundMe campaign.
John’s next step in restoring his bunker to its former glory was setting up a GoFundMe page. He wrote, “Hi, I’m John and I need some help restoring a vintage Fallout Shelter that I have uncovered in my back yard.”.
He was searching for help repairing and improving the shelter’s doorway, which he needed to complete before he could start working on the repairs and renovations downstairs. “The upper entry requires a massive concrete pour to secure the doorway, and the metal circular staircase must be replaced,” he explained. The project is expected to cost roughly $2,000, according to John.
The Staircase Has Been Completed!.
Despite the fact that John’s GoFundMe campaign gained a lot of attention and several hundred dollars in donations, his aim of obtaining $2,000 for the stairs rebuild fell short. Of course, none of this deterred John from carrying out his intentions! He even took time away from work to work on the crucial stairwell.
Following a succession of project updates, John reported that the entry area was finally completed: “The stairwell is now complete! Climbing in and out is now simple and safe.” He also shared a picture of the finished stairs, which are a lovely shade of blue.
Now that the stairwell is finished.
Now that the stairs and doorway are complete, John updated his GoFundMe page with more information on his refuge. “I want to clean up the inside, repaint it, and transform it into a pretty cool man cave, HAM shack, and Civil Defense Museum.”.
“Once I started this project, I did a lot of study regarding the Cold War period and how civilian worries motivated many individuals to create these bunkers,” he continued. The discovery of this bunker has obviously had a significant impact on John’s life!.
Leave a Reply