A haunted medieval well

For nearly two decades, Colin Steer wondered why his living room floor dipped a little near the sofa. We all have that spot in our house — that weird bump by the bathroom, the divot in the kitchen — and we never really thought to question what that’s all about. Well, a few years ago, Colin Steer found the answer. While replacing floor joists, Steer discovered a dirt-filled brick shaft underneath his home in Plymouth, England. Curious, he dug down about a foot, but his wife made him fill the hole back in, since he was, you know, digging a mysterious hole into the earth through their living room.

Women! They just don’t understand the siren call of a mystery hole.


Upon retiring at the end of last year, and clearly ignorant of an entire genre of horror movies, Steer and some friends poked, prodded, dug, and excavated, toiling away in the brutal and unforgiving land of That Spot in Front of the sofa. They eventually unearthed a 17-foot-deep medieval well. Since it appears on the 16th century plans, Steer knows it’s at least that old, but he’s still hoping to establish an actual construction date. That’s not even the disturbing part: Amid all the “unearthing of things that should stay buried,” Steer also found an old rusted sword stuck between bricks in the well’s shaft. As though somebody had fallen down there. As though somebody had tried to climb back out …


But rather than filling that clearly cursed hole with concrete, burning all of his clothes, and then moving to another continent, as would be prudent, Steer installed a trap door in his living room that opens right into the ancient, almost-certainly-haunted-by-fallen-knights well. He really likes that hole for some reason …


Love letters

“We found these 31 love letters written by a soldier while he was in Europe in World War I. The soldier built the house in 1920. In March 2011 my brother cut a hole in the lath and plaster wall to add an electrical socket and found the wall cavity stuffed with these. They were all to the girl he married when he got home. Some were written from the trenches in France. I traced his family, and they were so happy. The letters are now at Dalhousie University being copied and preserved.”



Goonies‘ style treasure

In 1985, the town of Sroda in Poland decided to demolish an old building. Instead of the more common asbestos-and-body-of-missing-caretaker rubble that typically accompanies commercial demolition, the townspeople were pleasantly surprised to find a cache of gold and silver coins. Sadly, The Goonies had lied to us all about property law regarding ancient booty; the authorities promptly confiscated the loot.


Fast forward to 1988, and another demolition spat out an even larger cache of valuable coins. So either there was a treasure trove hidden somewhere in the town, or Sroda, Poland, is set in the Mario Bros. universe. In addition to the coins, Srodans(?) also found ancient jewelry, such as an ornate ring of dragon heads, gold pendants, and one particularly intricate carved crown.
He crown dated the collection back to the 14th century and tied it all to emperor Charles IV, who was the first king to become Holy Roman Emperor. So how much was it all worth? Well, the entire collection together has been valued at up to $100 million U.S.
Multi-million dollar painting
Believe it or not, this actually happened to the Trachte brothers, whose porn search was pure conjecture on our part, but the results were real enough. The pair discovered, among several other valuable works, a famous Norman Rockwell painting hidden behind a false wall in their deceased father’s Sandgate, Vermont, home. The painting, entitled “Breaking Home Ties,” netted $15.4 million at Sotheby’s Auction House. Don Trachte Jr., the father of the brothers who found the painting, had made a copy of the piece to prevent his wife from taking possession of it in their divorce. He managed to hold on to the painting through the split, but for some reason went on displaying the fake. Even on his deathbed, Don never told anyone about the forgery, or the real multimillion-dollar piece of artwork rotting in the walls. Presumably because he enjoyed picturing their faces if someday somebody accidentally knocked their head through the drywall and found $15 million sitting there.


Not to be outdone in the game of Just Plain Forgetting About a Fortune, Martin Kober of Buffalo, New York, recently recalled that he had a $300 million Michelangelo painting behind his couch, which had been sitting there for 27 years.

The painting depicts the Pieta, Michelangelo’s famous marble sculpture housed in St. Peter’s Basilica. The absurdly valuable patch of canvas used to hang prominently in the Kobers’ home until it was knocked off by a rogue tennis ball. After the incident, the Kobers wrapped up the painting, stuffed it behind the couch like a broken phone charger, and went about their other business, which was presumably strangling unicorns just to feel something again.

painting 2