Sometimes, things spend ages covered in dust and spider webs, completely forgotten. And most of the time, this is not a problem at all.
Other times, it is a huge problem. From treasures to pure nightmares, people discover everything in their attics.
When you dare search for something in the attic, you sooner or later stumble over a giant box filled with an old slide projector and countless slides. Some photographs a little bit more valuable than your old holiday photos have been discovered in Peoria, Illinois, hidden inside a box in an abandoned house’s attic.
The boxes contained over 200 glass negatives, dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. The negatives were found just in time before the house was demolished, and they sold in a salvage shop to photo restoration expert Chris Traugott Coulter of the Peoria Historical Society. Coulter had to create special holders for the negatives (being in 11 different sizes) and started to restore and digitize them. He shares the photos online and asks people’s help to identify who or what exactly is on them.
The photos offer a truly unique glimpse into the past, showing soldiers training in the late 1890s, cowboys, a jumping dog, people looking uncomfortable into the camera, and much more.
Just like basements, attics can be pretty creepy sometimes. Imagine finding a dead mouse in there. Now think about finding a dead body in your attic—not just any dead body (how boring would that be?) but rather the body of someone you have known and loved.
This nightmare story happened to Zanobia Richmond, 65, from Erie, Pennsylvania. When the old lady heard a bang upstairs in her attic, she went to investigate and found the badly decomposed body of her own grandson, Dyquain Rogers. Dyquain Rogers was 21 years old when he suddenly disappeared in 2014. All searches had been without conclusion, and the family simply hoped he had left Erie. What exactly happened to Dyquain Rogers is still a mystery, but his final Facebook post, made one day before his disappearance, suggests his unhappiness about something, saying: “I have been having the worst luck lately.”
Four fully functioning grenades were found in the attic of a house in Oak Creek, Milwaukee. Can you imagine someone who thought it a good idea to place four bombs directly over people’s heads? Or who forgot where he had stored his bombs?
After the initial shock, the house owners called the police, and the four grenades were detonated under supervision. Surprisingly, surviving bombs seem to be found quite often in attics. In 2016, a builder discovered a World War II fire bomb hidden inside a house’s attic. Some timbers did already show some burned edges, but for some lucky reason, the bomb did not detonate.
7A Monarch’s Head
Stephane Gabet, a TV production company journalist, searched around the attic of Jacques Bellanger and found a skull. It turned out to be a 400-year-old preserved head, and not just some everyman’s peasant head. After scientists had examined it, they identified it as the head of Henry IV, who ruled France up to 1610.
How the monarch’s head ended up wrapped up in an attic is not completely clear. What is known is that royal revolutionaries ransacked Henry’s grave 183 years after his death and chopped the monarch’s head off. In the 1900s, a French couple then bought the head at an auction, and they finally sold it to Bellanger in 1955 for 5,000 francs.
6Unsigned Van Gogh
What have Picasso, Warhol, Caravaggio, and Van Gogh in common? Yes, they were all great artists, but they also painted paintings that got lost in time and made, when they were rediscovered, their finders immensely rich.
The Sunset at Montmajour was discovered by a Norwegian man in his attic in 2013, but he did not care much for the painting because he thought it to be a fake. By 1991, the owner had already asked experts in the Van Gogh museum for their expertise, and they had decided that the painting was a fake (due to the missing signature). However, several years later and with advanced technology, the painting was examined again. After chemical analysis, X-ray research, and examination of Van Gogh’s letters to his brother, they finally concluded that the painting was a real Van Gogh. They were even able to find out the exact date when it was finished: July 4, 1888.
Just for comparison, Van Gogh’s painting Portrait of Dr. Gachet was sold for $82.5 million.
5Hitler’s Record Collection
Lew Besymenski was captain in the Russian militia when World War II ended in 1945. He went to the captured Nazi headquarters, the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, and what he found was truly fascinating. Numbered boxes, filled with Hitler’s personal belongings, stood all over the place, and the Russians took some of them with them as souvenirs.
Years later, in 1991, Lew Besymenski’s daughter Alexandra went to the attic to search for a badminton racket. What she found was not the racket but a box labeled Fuhrerhauptquartier (Reich Chancellery). It contained Hitler’s personal record collection, including Wagner, Beethoven’s piano sonatas, and (surprisingly) Peter Tchaikovsky, Alexander Borodin, and Sergei Rachmaninoff—artists who had been labeled “subhuman” by the Nazis. Hitler had been a great lover of music, visiting the opera nearly daily when he lived in Vienna.
4$5 Million Faberge
Hidden over 70 years in an attic in New York was a small but very rare Faberge figurine. It sold for $5.2 million at an auction, partly because of its fascinating history.
The figure had originally been commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II for his wife Empress Alexandra in 1912. We know how the Russian monarchy ended, and with it disappeared the figurine. In 1934, it was found again and sold to George Davis, but for whatever reason, it disappeared again and was only found 70 years later, more or less by accident.
There are only 50 of these figurines in existence, but you could have mistaken it for a holiday decoration. We should probably look more careful at the things we decorate our Christmas trees with.
This story that sounds like straight out of a fairy tale. Or out of a comic—a Superman comic.
When a couple’s house had to be made ready to be taken over by a bank, the owner’s had to clean out the attic. They found over 50 boxes filled with comics, and most of them had little-to-no value. One comic was the exception.
They discovered a copy of Action Comics No. 1 from 1938, in very good condition. Only 99 books had been known to exist to this point. Originally bought for just 10 cents, the couple gave the holy grail of comic books to an auction, where it sold for breathtaking £1.5 million . They were now able to not just keep the house but buy a new villa on top.
Diamonds are not only a girl’s best friend. They’re are everyone’s friend, and they are even better when you get them for free inside a chair.
Angela Milner-Brown, 50, and her husband Angus, 47, live in Biggar, South Lanarkshire. Around 2006, they bought an old chair at an auction for £5. The couple recalls that the chair had been in very bad condition, and because they lacked the money for a restoration, the chair ended up in the attic.
The chair slept in the attic for six years, but one day, Angus Milner-Brown decided that it was time to finally upholster the old thing. He had to rip off the old cushion material, and after four layers, he suddenly saw a sparkle. Inside the chair, diamond jewelry had been hidden. Angus, a romantic guy, kept the find secret and surprised his wife over several occasions with the jewelry as a gift, before he finally revealed where it had come from. The couple decided to present their find to the BBC Antique Road show, where it was valued at around £5,000.
1Bags Of Cash
Josh Ferrin, a man from Bountiful in Utah, had just bought his first house. Of course he had checked every room, but what he found while searching a place for his tools in the garage, he could never have foreseen.
While searching, he discovered a slightly odd looking panel in the ceiling, with a little piece of carpet sticking out. Being a dad and thinking that there might be a nice place to play for his children behind the panel, he investigated further. He found an antique-looking ammunition case and seven more boxes. When he opened them, they were all stuffed with rolled cash.
The family started counting but gave up after $45,000. However, being probably the nicest guy in history, Josh Ferrin did not want to keep the money and handed everything of it back to the family of the deceased owner. He said he wanted to set a good example for his kids.
Marielle is student living in Scotland, interested in history, fashion, and everything that scares normal people.