Family heirlooms can be incredible. Whether a piece of jewelry or a piece of furniture, heirlooms carry with them the story of your family. Sometimes, though, they may contain a little bit more than that, like secrets.
A European man for several years owned a beautiful armoire which formerly belonged to his grandfather. It was quite old, and for as long as the young man owned it, it had sat in his home mostly unused.
One day, he decided it was finally time to do something with it, but he found something he never would have expected to find.
Click ‘Start Slideshow‘ to follow this mystery!
Years after inheriting the armoire from his grandfather, imgur user ifeelwhiteboywasted decided one day that he had procrastinated long enough and it was time to clean up the old piece of furniture.
He approached the massive cabinet and began his work, starting with the left side. Upon opening it, he looked at the various pieces of glassware inside. There was nothing unusual at this point, just a slew of wine glasses in two sizes and several normal drinking glasses.
This is a fairly well-constructed cabinet! What else is hiding in there?
On the bottom shelf, below two drawers, he found what basically amounted to a bunch of junk which had been shoved inside. An old lamp, a plastic bag full of decorations and other assorted stuff.
He decided to start the cleaning process with the two drawers in the center of the thing. It was this decision that led to an absolutely wild discovery.
Was it something in the drawers? What could he have found? Go to the Next slide to find out!
A Strange Discovery
After surveying what was out in the open, he pulled open the two drawers located in the center of the armoire to see what was hiding inside. In the left drawer was a crumpled up piece of plastic, perhaps previously a wrapper for something. In the right drawer were stacks of papers.
I think it’s fair to see we’ve all got a couple of drawers like this in our homes. Mine is full of napkins, fast food condiments and instructions for our various appliances.
He didn’t find anything particularly special in the drawers and decided he would remove them to clean them out.
Just a couple of drawers with some junk inside, right? Nothing special.
He removed the right drawer, then set it aside and rifled through its contents. He then removed the left drawer and set it down, as well.
After closer inspection, he still found nothing of note in the drawers, just old papers and such. He turned back to the armoire to give it a harder look and stumbled upon something more than a little peculiar.
Did he find some sort of hidden panel? Maybe something taped inside? The reveal is next!
He again approached the cabinet after removing the drawers. The construction looked fairly solid, if not a little homemade. He looked around inside where the drawers were and found nothing. At this point, he figured there was nothing.
Then, like something out of Indiana Jones or National Treasure, he noticed something about the divider between the two drawers that seemed a little strange. The board wasn’t attached to the shelves above or below it.
Why would this board, of all things, be loose? Was it poor design or something else?
He reached in and grabbed the board by the end and wiggled it left and right. It was definitely loose in there, he found. So, he did what any reasonable treasure hunter would do, he began to pull it out.
With a bit of wiggling, it started to move. He soon realized that it wasn’t just the board he was pulling out. As he pulled, he realized it was attached to something toward the back of the cabinet and it was coming along for the ride.
A hidden compartment, perhaps? Or maybe just some odd construction? Find out next!
He continued to pull on the board, and whatever it was attached to, until he was able to free it from the cabinet. It appeared to be some sort of secret compartment which could only be accessed after removing the drawers and pulling out the board.
Now, if I were to find something like this, I’d likely get my hopes up pretty high. I would be expecting to find some gold or old cash or something. Maybe a map to a hidden treasure! You know, something like the location of Jimmy Hoffa’s body. That’s still missing, right?
He pulled it out, peeked inside and was surprised at what he found, something he hadn’t expected at all.
The compartment is out! The suspense is driving me crazy! What’s inside?
There was no gold, no silver, no cash. Inside the secret drawer were three items, each of which seemed very strange to have hidden away. These were small and very old, and he wasn’t really sure what they were.
He pulled out the items and set them on the table to get a better look.
Such strange things to find in an old piece of furniture! What are they? Find out next!
Inside he found a small black book, a leather pouch with a metal cap and an item which looked like giant nail clippers or some sort of old hole punch.
It was fairly obvious everything in here was quite old, but what exactly were they? And what was up with this strange black book?
A peculiar tool, a leather pouch and a mysterious black book. Were these his grandfather’s?
He started his investigation with the odd tool. He examined it and was unsure of its use, so when he posted it online, several people on the website offered some help in identifying it.
The general consensus appears to be that it is a tool for reloading early shotguns. I did a little research of my own and couldn’t find this exact tool, but I did find some which were similar, so it’s within the realm of possibility.
The fact it’s for a gun is also given credence by what he discovered about the leather pouch.
What’s in the black pouch, and why were these things hidden? More coming up next!
He picked up the pouch with the metal cap and noticed it seemed to have something inside it. When he shook it, you could hear things bumping around inside, very small things.
He carefully removed the cap and began to pour the contents into his hand. Inside were a great many small metal beads, much like the sort of shot you might find in a shotgun shell. See? Now that tool makes sense.
Early shotguns didn’t use shells like modern models. You would load up the barrel with powder, put in a bit of cushion, then put in the kind of shot you wanted to use, in the amount you needed, and then you’d push it down and top it with an over-shot card to keep it from spilling out.
Guns aren’t as popular in Europe as they are in the States, so he had no idea what these were!
Then he got to the book. It looked very old, with frayed edges and areas where the black coloring on the cover had begun to fade away. What could it be? Should he open it?
This book definitely holds a sense of mystery. The idea of a little black book brings up thoughts of bachelors with their leather-bound tomes of names and phone numbers. Had he found his grandfather’s little black book?
I’m also reminded of another small book, but one with a little more adventure. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indy and his father (played expertly by Sean Connery) used a diary kept by the latter which included everything he could find about the location of the Holy Grail.
Or, when considering the gun-related items and the fact everything was hidden, maybe his grandfather was some sort of late 19th century assassin and this book contained all the names of the people he was tasked with eliminating.
Had this man stumbled upon some guide to a hidden treasure? Find out next!
The Good Book
With great care, he began to open the book. Since it was so old, the cover had begun to break loose from the spine. He gently turned to the very first page and noticed something interesting.
On the top left corner of the page was written “Carlsbad 1859.” What did this mean? Because of the European origins of the armoire, it is unlikely to be a reference to the cities of Carlsbad in New Mexico and California. Unless, of course, a treasure is hidden in Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico.
One imgur suggests it could be the city of Karlovy Vary, also known as Carlsbad, in the Bohemian region of the Czech Republic. This would account for the items being in Europe. Maybe the original owner of this book found it on a hotel while visiting the city. Thanks, Gideons!
This message, however, didn’t give any indication of what was actually inside the book, but we can assume now it’s at least 150 years old.
One thing is somewhat certain: This isn’t somebody’s name. Unless he’s a bad dude named Carl.
In truth, the contents of the book are actually quite common. As he turned the pages, he found it was a very, very old copy of The New Testament of the Bible.
Quite old and fragile, but fairly standard stuff. Multiple users asked if perhaps it was someone’s family bible, which were often used to keep track of the family geneology over time. Births and such were recorded in the blank pages and inside covers. This query was never answered.
Some also were quick to point out it could actually be quite valuable, considering the age. Even though the condition isn’t exactly perfect, it might still be worth a pretty penny.
Another interesting thing of note, considering the age of the book, the hidden items may not have actually belonged to this man’s grandfather. It’s entirely possible the grandfather purchased the armoire and never discovered the items hidden inside.
About that, why would somebody hide such normal items? I’ve got some theories up next.
I can think of several reasons for hiding the bible. The most reasonable is if it was something of great sentimental value, you might want to put it somewhere you would always be able to find it, but also a place where nobody else could find it and risk losing it. Religious persecution could also be a factor.
As far as hiding the other items, I can’t really think of a good reason. They seems so plain and simple, to me. One of the people who responded to the photo, however, has a pretty good theory.
This person suggests the items may have been placed there during the Austro-Prussian War in 1866 and forgotten. According to the user, the items may have been hidden away to keep the homeowners safe from accusations of being terrorists.
It’s not a bad theory, and the time period makes it possible. Still, it’s hard to know for sure.
Personally, I’m pretty sure the grandfather was a vampire slayer. It’s a well-known fact (in fiction) that vampires aren’t especially fond of the Bible. On top of that, I’m sure those lead pellets wouldn’t feel too good on their papery skin.
Okay, maybe that’s even less likely, but anything can happen, right? I suppose that’s actually not a very accurate statement, but I can’t help but let my imagination go a little wild when I see things like this.
While what the guy found didn’t turn out to be anything groundbreaking, I bet the discovery and initial look were very exciting. I’ve got my fingers crossed in hopes I might find something like this someday!
I’ve always wanted a piece of furniture with a hidden compartment. Let’s look at some!
Never Gonna Find It
While the armoire which contained these interesting items is nice, I can’t say I’m an armoire guy. They’re big and bulky and take up a lot of space without providing a good function. I’d rather just store stuff in my kitchen cabinets.
For me, I would need something a bit more practical. Something I can put in the living room or as an accent somewhere, but which nobody would suspect hid incredible things. I’m thinking about something like this Automaton Mechanical Table made by a guy named Craig Thibodeau.
This table took the grand prize in the 2016 Craftsman’s Challenge contest, deservedly so. Because even though on its surface it just looks like a well-crafted end table, it’s so much more than that.
It looks simple enough, but there are quite a few interesting hiding spots on this thing.
There are several parts that go into finding each of the hidden things on this beauty. First is the slideout puzzle, seen at the top left. It uses several rings which can be rotated and aligned to create an interesting cube pattern. Unfortunately, this doesn’t unlock anything else, but it’s beautifully done.
Next, if you press down on the top the center column will rise up which releases the mirrored shelf and the cube shelf seen in the picture. Hidden within the lip of the table is a piece of ebony with a magnet embedded. Using it allows you to pull out all of the drawers seen above.
The craftsmanship on this is amazing. According to the creator, something like this could run upwards of $35,000! It makes sense when you consider his inspiration for this design is from centuries-old carpenters who made similar items for kings and queens.
Speaking of, let’s take a look at a desk made for royalty! Find out what’s hidden, next!
The Royal Treatment
Say hello to the Berlin cabinet built by Abraham and David Roentgen, and owned by King Frederick William II of Prussia. This is arguably the most intricate piece the Roentgen brothers ever made, and it’s made even more incredible when you consider it was all done by hand.
On the surface, the secretary desk looks like an extremely ornate cabinet with a fold-out desk. When the desk is opened, a beautiful design is revealed on its surface and the background looks like a stage, complete with actors.
Atop it is more fine carpentry and a clock, as well as a golden figure. The images engraved into nearly every panel are all so well done it’s hard to imagine this being done by hand.
As beautiful as the outside is, much more lies hidden within. So much more.
Built in the late 1700s, every part of this piece was built by hand. Keep reading to learn its secrets!
There is way too much going on with this thing to even begin to describe every single moving part, so I’ll just go over my favorites.
The very first thing you do with the desk is use a key in the center panel to open two secret areas on either side of the desk. Turning the key clockwise opens the right side, and turning the opposite way opens the left. These areas each contain a number of drawers.
A second keyhole is used to open the center panel, which houses a small area which looks like a sitting room and shelves pop out which hold several drawers and something like an easel. This is all automated, with each item unfolding on its own.
There is actually quite a bit of automation on this cabinet, which only adds to the sense of awe you feel when you consider it was made by hand. Drawers pop out and fold to the sides, revealing additional storage space and the actors in the desk background move to reveal more hiding spots.
Every hidden button and keyhole works to reveal more and more of this fine example of human skill and creativity.
Neither of the previous two are likely to end up in my home, but our next items might!
Down to Earth
I can appreciate a good coffee table. My wife and I actually have one now that can lift up and reveal a couple storage spots underneath it, but the mechanics aren’t exactly hidden. We mostly make use of the lifting table for messing with LEGO stuff.
This coffee table, however, has a hidden compartment which is completely inconspicuous. The location of the cut in the wood is camouflaged perfectly by the metal from the legs which wraps around the top. It’s a simple design, but it works. I really want this thing.
This is actually a handmade item I found on Etsy, but when looking at the overall design, this might even be something you could build yourself at home. All you would need are some slides from a desk keyboard tray, some nice wood and a little bit of patience.
Not only could you hide valuables in here, this is a great spot for the remote!
Here’s a piece which is relatively inexpensive and serves a great purpose. We’ve seen plenty of mirrors which open up to reveal space behind them. It’s a pretty standard thing in bathroom mirrors and the like.
This one, however, has hidden compartments on the side which are designed to hold various pieces of jewelry. I think this is really quite neat as it not only works as a nice mirror, it clears up space by giving you a spot for your valuables.
Unfortunately, I can’t speak to how hidden the compartments are when they are closed, but I know if I were a sneaky burglar looking for jewelry, I certainly wouldn’t think to look in the mirror!
There is something really special about finding secret things. Houses with secret passageways and furniture with hidden compartments have always fascinated me. I think a little mystery gives more character to things, as well as being a convenient way to keep your things safe.