The 5 Most WTF Things Found While Working on an Old House

#2. A Clearly Haunted 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. Right, guys? They just don't understand the siren call of a mystery hole.

"With God as my witness, I'll never leave the couch to pee AGAIN!"

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 Couch. 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 ...

We'd drop a grenade down there every night, just in case.

But rather than filling that clearly cursed hole with sanctified 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. Man, he really likes that hole for some reason ...

#1. Multimillion-Dollar Paintings Like It Ain't No Thing


Remember when your dad left the house and you and your brother would go snooping through his stuff looking for porn? And then one time you couldn't find any porn, but you found a false wall with $15 million hidden behind it instead?! Haha, classic Your Dad!

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images
"Joke's on you. Most of my porn has your mom in it."

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.

"This kitsch crap is worth yacht money? I thought it was just a stupid heirloom."

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.
"I took it down to make room for my print of dogs playing poker."

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.

Jeff Sloan would like to follow you on his Twitter machine and will also thoroughly consider being your friend on Facebook. Keep Calm, Chive On. Visit Robert's Apex Enterprise: The Freelancer Blog.

For more priceless discoveries, check out 5 Pieces of Junk That Turned Out to be Invaluable Artifacts and The 6 Stupidest Things Ever Done With Historic Treasures.

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