If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably remodeled or at least considered it. And why not? Professional home remodeling allows you to put personal touches, install improvements, and improve your quality of life. But major remodels almost always involve tearing down or digging up a part of your house.
And sometimes, you might find surprises long hidden in the walls or beneath the floorboards. And, like all surprises, not all of them will make you happy. Sometimes they’re upsetting or downright scary.
Here are some of the things that contractors and owners have unearthed over the years.
An unexpected windfall is the stuff of movies or games of Monopoly. Sometimes the discoverer can get rich quick or they could face some legal complications.
A Cleveland couple renovating their basement found a suitcase filled with bills worth thousands of dollars. The bills, dating back to the 1920s, were wrapped in old newspaper, the latest being from 1951. Appraisers estimate that the trove was worth $23,000, on account of several rare bills.
A Minnesota resident found a comic book in a wall of his house. Lucky for him, the comics was the first issue of Action Comics, which featured the debut appearance of Superman. He sold the comic for a whopping $175,000, over seventeen times what he paid for the house.
Contractors remodeling a home in Arizona had a legal dispute with the homeowners after they found half a million dollars inside the walls. The original resident, the president of an engineering firm, had hidden the money before he passed away. The court decided that the money be returned to the decedent’s legal heirs.
A regular house can already be pretty perilous to the clumsy or unwary, but some houses can be packing heat. Just ask the Welsh builder who found an arsenal of 30 shotguns, assorted handguns, and over 200 live ammunition. Local police believe that the weapons were unregistered and the owner had hidden them to avoid confiscation.
The house of an English spinster hid her impressive secret for 60 years. Contractors renovating her suburban home after her death 2014 found a fully-working Sten sub-machine gun hidden in the house. Files and photographs also found revealed that the quiet, elderly woman had been an operative for British intelligence during World War II.
Not everything you might find while renovating will be profitable or historic. Sometimes they can be downright terrifying.
A Pennsylvania family adding insulation to their walls found the corpses of dozens of animals between the panels. The individuals who put them there had wrapped them in newspapers, dating from the ‘30s to the ‘40s. Local historians say this practice was part of folk magic to heal ailments.
A renovator in Montreal uncovered a sad and macabre secret when he opened the basement ceiling of the home he was working on. The man found the skeletal remains of a child, estimated to have been in the house for at least 58 years. Homicide investigators say that the child was likely the product of a hidden pregnancy.
Our homes can surprise us, and sometimes we might not like what we find. No matter what you find, you could take comfort in thinking that your house has more than a few stories to tell. And possibly, some skeletons in its closet.