Amazing Things Found In People’s Backyards

December 31, 2018

You never know what you might fight out there, underneath the wood pile, next to the herb garden, or below the kids’ old swing-set.


In 2010, a New Orleans man named Vincent Marcello got to work on digging the big hole necessary to install a swimming pool in his backyard. While doing the work himself, he had to stop, because he hit wood. He kept digging around the wood and found a lot more wood. After calling in some archaeologists (as New Orleans has a lot of history), Marcello fully uncovered 15 caskets, each full of the remains of New Orleans residents who died in the mid-1700s. Apparently Marcello’s property sits on the former home of the once bustling but then abandoned St. Peter Cemetery.


In 1987, Stephen Davis started to do research on the history of the area where his house sat in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, and he read about something called the Horestone, a “standing stone” and relic from the Bronze Age, which indicated a burial site dating to 2500 B.C. Local authorities had lost track of exactly where the Horestone was located for more than 300 years, so Davis teamed up with a friend, Clare Forbes (who just so happened to be a historian), and together they analyzed documents and charts and, after 14 years, they figured out where it was. After a little actual digging, their theory was confirmed: the Horestone resided in Davis’s own backyard.


A man unnamed in contemporary news reports in 2013 needed in install some pipes in his backyard in the Czech Republic, and so he did some preliminary digging work. Instead of empty space where he could install that hardware, he found that hardware had already been installed. There was lead in the ground — and they were church bells made of lead. Some historical records proved that they were the very bells that had gone missing from a local church in the early 1600s.


Years ago, the Emanuel family spotted a silver metal box slightly buried under a small cluster of trees in their Staten Island yard. They didn’t think much of it, figuring it was an old, disused cable box. In 2018, when they went to replace the trees, the box had come up out of the ground (deer had eaten away a lot of foliage), and revealed itself to be not a box, but a safe. Matthew Emanuel managed to get it open, and inside were thousands of dollars’ worth of wet dollar bills, along with bags of jewelry, including diamond rings. It also included a slip of paper with an address: their neighbors. The Emanuels proceeded, and learned that the neighbors had been robbed of a safe with about $52,000 worth of stuff in it back in 2011. (The safe and its grateful, rightful owners were immediately reunited.)