Here are ten historic artifacts that were unexpectedly found years later in the most unexpected places. Do you remember these stories being broadcast?
10. Plane part from 9/11 found wedged between two buildings
It’s been over twelve years since Sept. 11, 2001, which, in comparison to other items on this list, isn’t that old. But considering that a majority of the plane wreckage was recovered in the first few years following the disaster, it’s amazing that a 5 foot long, 4 foot tall, 17 inch wide part went missing for 11 years. Especially when you factor in where it was found: an 18 inch wide alley/crawl space between two buildings. To reiterate, a 17 inch wide piece of plane was found in an 18 inch wide alley way.
9. The violin that was played when the Titanic sank found 101 years later
The sinking of the Titanic is one of the most famous, if not THE most famous tragedies at sea. As such, artifacts associated with it are high valued and collected. So imagine the surprise at Henry Aldrige and Son auction house when a man brought in a old leather bag which contained the violin that was played by Bandmaster Wallace Hartley during the ships final moments, from one of the more iconic stories of the sinking, the band playing the hymn “Nearer my God to thee.” Even more, the anonymous man who brought it in said he found it in his attic. Estimates of the instrument go as high as 6 figures, but it is possible that it could go into the millions.
8. Canadian Parliament Royal Coat Of Arms Found In New York Flea Market
Every burgeoning young nation has a rocky start, and Canada is no exception. It was under the Montreal Parliament that the idea of Responsible Government gained a strong foothold in the country, paving the way for the modern Canadian Parliament. In 1849, an angry mob burned down the Canadian Parliament in Montreal, only some 200 books and a painting of Queen Victoria were saved from the fire. The Royal Coat of Arms that hung above the speaker’s chair was thought to have been lost in the blaze. 130 years later, Canadian Member of Parliament, Robert Kaplan, was in a New York flea market, when he came across an old broken and burnt British Coat Of Arms, he bought it for $300 and brought it back to his apartment, where he and his family restored it, and by that we mean, his grandkids drew on it with crayon and stuffed putty in it.
7. Wreckage From The Worst Maritime Disaster In The U.S. Found In Arkansas Field
On the night of April 27, 1865, the riverboat steamer, Sultana, was making its way up the Mississippi River to the good ol’ Union with more than 2,000 people aboard, among them Union P.O.W.’s. It just made it north of Memphis, Tennessee when a boiler explosion caused the whole thing to go up in flames. Over 1,500 people died in the tragedy and it is still considered the worst maritime disaster in american history. Most of the wreck was recovered in the following months, but in 1982, Jerry Potter, a Memphis Lawyer, and Clive Cussler, Head of the National Underwater and Marine Agency, pinpointed an area they believed was the resting place of the remaining hull of the ship. Do to a century of droughts and floods, the river changed direction and left the remains under a soy bean field over 2 miles away from where the river flows now. When coring samples were taken, they found metal debris and charred planks of wood.
6. Piece of space station is discovered in a Massachusetts riverAmesbury, Massachusetts resident, Phil Green, was in his back yard one day in 2007, which sits along the Merrimack River, looking for arrowheads when a strange looking rock caught his attention. The bizarre softball sized stone was unlike any he had seen before. He took the rock and set it in his back yard next to a rusty anchor, where it sat for 6 years. One day, his sister in law suggested that it might be a meteorite, and she had it sent to a friend at NASA for examination. When he got it back with a letter from NASA, he was surprised to learn that it wasn’t a meteor, but instead a piece of the Russian Soviet Space Station MIR. The majority of MIR, which was assembled from the late 80’s into the early 90’s, burned up on reentry in 2001 and what was left crashed into the south pacific, but somehow this piece found its way to Phil’s backyard.
5. Credit card machine found with card still inside 40 years after earthquake
While walking in an open field outside the town of Valdez, Alaska in 2004, a couple found a odd metal object sticking out of the ground. When they dug it up it turned out to be an old credit card machine, with a credit card still stuck inside. So what is it doing in a open field in Alaska? For many, Valdez, Alaska will always be known for the oil spill that took place in 1989, but before that it was known for the 8.6 magnitude earthquake that hit the town in 1964, dragging half the town in to the sea. The army corps of engineers determined the ground beneath the town unstable and had the town moved 4 miles away to more solid soil. The card, who’s owner, May Jo Malachee, had been using it to get gas at a station and forgot the card after filling up. When she turned around to go back and get it, the gas station, and subsequently her card, was gone. But in 2004, she was reunited with the card and machine, both which now sit in the Valdez Museum.
4. Blitz bomb found in London Olympic venue
In the summer of 2008, the Beijing Olympic Games were gearing up while London was getting ready for their own Olympics four years later. At the proposed site for the London Olympic Park, workers were clearing the site for their brand new, shiny stadium, when they uncovered a 4 foot long, 2 foot wide, 2000 pound World War II Blitz bomb, the largest discovered since 1975. Before they knew what it was, construction workers had unearthed and removed the device from the ground, but when they finally figured it out, they got the hell out of there. Workers called the bomb disposal unit, who were trying to figure out a way to remove the weapon, when it suddenly began ticking, suggesting a time delay fuse. They placed large magnets around it and the ticking soon stopped. A week later the army got the go ahead to detonate the bomb, which threw sand and top soil in to the air but didn’t cause any damages or injuries.
3. Piece of Columbia found at the bottom of a Texas lake
Locals out on Lake Nacogdoches,Texas back in August 2011, reported a bizarre round object poking out from the shallow drought stricken body of water. When the police arrived they contacted NASA. NASA confirmed that it was indeed a 4 foot diameter aluminum tank from the shuttle, and then… they… did… nothing! NASA let the piece sit in the muddy lake bed instead, letting the local police take care of it. Even then, the police didn’t bother to guard it.
2. Guillotine used to kill Nazi-resistors found in storage room
In a storage room in the Bavarian National Museum, a guillotine sat covered ignored. In January 2014, German officials identified it as the guillotine used to execute those that opposed the Nazi government.
The use of the guillotine was a secretive affair. Worried about its association with the French Revolution, Hitler initially opposed using it. When he did turn to the device, he ordered 20 in secret and had them covertly delivered to prisons. Unlike hanging, which was done publicly to dissuade further rebellion, beheadings were done behind closed doors on “convicted” criminals. Although the death toll from the device under Hitler’s rule exceeded 16,000, it pales in comparison to those killed in concentration camps.
The group known as White Rose was a Nazi resistance movement that is held in high regard for their defiance of Hitler. 7 members of the group, including their leader Sophie School, were executed with the guillotine that sat ignored in a museum for 60 years. Johann Reichhart, who executed over 3,000 people, said she was the bravest.
The most shocking part of the discovery was the museum’s prior use of the artifact: it had chopped the heads off toys to demonstrate how the guillotine was used.
1. Civil War era bones found in an attic
When Bryant and Teasha McIntosh purchased their home, built in 1839, they new it was a historical marker. It had previously been owned by a blacksmith who had aided slaves on their escape in the Underground Railroad. Considering the history, it was not much of a surprise to find an old book hidden in a wall. Finding a good excuse for a treasure hunt, their teenaged daughters began searching for more artifacts and found bones, along with a corset, under the attic floor.
Several families lived in the home between the time of the Civil War and when the McIntosh’s purchased it. The collection of bones, determined to be from 4 different people and 100 or more years old, had sat undisturbed the entire time. Their origin is still a mystery, as the investigation was dropped once it was determined to not be a modern crime, so the homeowners will most likely never find out who was dead in their attic.