What’s Hiding in Your Walls?

Linoleum flooring installation

Renovating a house is always an exciting time for homeowners. By changing the look and layout of a home to suit the owners’ individual wants and needs, they are truly making the house theirs. Sometimes, home renovations are exciting for other reasons, such as when strange artifacts are recovered from the walls and floors of the house.

When thinking of things found in homes, people think of treasure under hardwood flooring or beer cans left behind the drywall by the original contractors. A surprisingly common find, however, is mummified babies.

In 1850, a couple renovating their apartment in Paris discovered the mummified remains of an infant in their walls. They were immediately suspects in the case of the infant’s death, but were exonerated when Dr. Marcel Bereget determined the time of death by studying flies. This was the first time entomology was used in a forensic capacity in France.

In 2007, a contractor was renovating a house in East Toronto, when he found a bundle of newspaper beneath the floorboards. Dated September 12, 1925, the newspapers were wrapped around the remains of a baby, who appeared to be about four months old. The contractor told the Toronto Star that paramedics observed that the infant appeared to have a crushed hip. As of 2012, no cause of death has been determined.

Not every home renovation discovery is so macabre, however. While renovating their attic, an English family noticed that the floor had been marked with city names. It turned out that their hardwood flooring wasn’t flooring at all! It had been made of antique railroad signs, which the family sold at auction for 18,000 pounds.

Occasionally, the things found in homes are neither financially beneficial nor particularly morbid. Sometimes, they’re just weird. In 2010, Nyeland Newell was removing carpeting from his bedroom in California when he discovered a giant Monopoly board painted on the hardwood flooring beneath it. Newell never learned the rules to giant Monopoly, in spite of contacting the former owner of the house, and soon his wife made him cover the Monopoly board with more traditional flooring options.

If you want to go looking for treasure in your house without springing for costly renovations, there are many ways to go about it. Experts recommend looking for loose corners in your carpeting installation, where valuable letters or money may be hidden. You can also look for loose floorboards or sections of tile flooring that may hide secret compartments.

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