Massachusetts Treasure Hunter Hits Pay Dirt

Em Unravelling
$46,000!Photo by Alexander Mils from Pexels

In my day job - as an attorney specializing in deceased estates - I've had more than my fair share of strange discoveries when dealing with people's empty houses. I've found a dusty handgun in a kitchen drawer next to the spoons and forks, handfuls of valuable jewelry in old handbags headed for the thrift shop, and I once even found $9,000 under the mattress of someone whose family didn't think they had enough money even for a funeral. These discoveries are relatively rare, though. Usually, I'm just going through paperwork looking for bank account numbers and maybe finding the occasional family photo.

Keith Wille, though, is a "treasure hunter" metal detectorist from Connecticut and he makes exciting discoveries all the time. Recently, he was hired by a Massachusetts family to help them finally solve the mystery of whether the rumors were true - whether, in fact, a long-ago grandfather had hidden a cash box in the house's innards. They were ready to sell the house and didn't want to do so without putting their own minds at rest about the potential for hidden cash.

They'd intermittently searched for the money over the years themselves, even hiring construction workers to help lift floorboards in various spots they thought it might be, but had drawn a blank at every turn. They believed it was hidden in insulation now, and Wille's treasure hunting skills were needed badly.

Wille is methodical and thorough, and in his YouTube video he can be seen re-opening locations where the cash had been searched for previously, before beginning his metal detecting in the house's attic, at the intersection of where two windows' light sources meet on the floorboards. There'd been previous talk of light glinting between boards at this intersection, and this made him think there might be metal hidden underneath.

When I dropped it into probably the second or third hole, I saw something weird. It had letters and numbers on it. I realized after I focused on it, 'oh man this is a keyhole.' So I zoomed out a little bit and realized oh this is a box, this is a lock box. - Keith Wille

Using his metal detector and an endoscopic camera, it took him about an hour to complete his hunt, and to locate what was indeed a cash box - stuffed with bank notes, still in the original 1950s bank bands and neatly stacked within the box. The total haul was $46,000 and Will describes it as his most exciting hunt to date. And best of all, it was easy to tell when the money was hidden.

All denominations were in the bundles, and individual bills were dated 1934, 1935, and 1950. The date 'December 19, 1958,' along with the teller number, was stamped on each currency strap - Keith Wille

There is no clue in the video as to why the money might have been hidden, and it seems the family doesn't know either - they're just pleased to have the treasure found. What is certain is that in 1958, when the cash box was stashed under the floorboards, it would have been worth the equivalent of more than $421,000 in today's money.

So, although they're delighted with their haul, the homeowning family whose grandfather stashed the cash in the first place have got to be asking: couldn't he have put it in a savings account instead?!

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A lover of horizons, hills, and words. Likes to write about uncomfortable things because too many people steer round those parts of life.


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