When a young couple found a mysterious code inside a medicine cabinet in their new home, they initially thought nothing of it. Little did they know, however, that it was just the first in a series of twists and turns that would lead them to an incredible discovery.
Hidden underneath a kitchen island was a metal safe buried in the floor. What they discovered inside it will blow your mind – but is there more to this story than meets the eye?
The incredible tale came to light in August 2015 when a young couple from Phoenix, Arizona contacted entertainment website theCHIVE. Eddie, 29, and Angie, 26, didn’t wish to reveal their full names – and it’s easy to see why.
While carrying out renovations on their home, they tore down some furniture in the kitchen. Underneath, they found something that stopped them in their tracks.
Cemented into the kitchen floor was a sealed metal safe. Eddie and Angie didn’t think the previous owners seemed the type to own such a device, so they decided to investigate further.
Previously, the couple had discovered a code on a piece of paper located in a medicine cabinet. They tried it on the safe and, after a few attempts, it unlocked.
It took them six tries in total, but when the safe finally creaked open they realized they’d discovered every treasure hunter’s dream. In neat piles tied up with string were stacks of $100 bills totaling more than $50,000. Jackpot.
Alongside the money was a bottle of bourbon; James E. Pepper, to be exact. The whisky-loving couple were delighted with the still-sealed find, which dated from 1960.
Image: via The Positive Encourager
But there were more surprises to come. The safe also contained a copy of a book – A Guide for the Perplexed by E. F. Schumacher.
Inside the book they found a series of clues that led them to believe a secret message might be concealed within. On the back of a vintage photograph tucked inside the cover, for example, was a handwritten note.
“Alan,” it read, “I have a book you must read. I’ve underlined a few key passages. Your friend, Vincent.”
True to his words, the mysterious Vincent had underlined several sentences. The couple also found an old flash card with a map of Arizona hidden within the book’s pages.
The map featured a pencil-drawn X over the city of Mesa. Was this a hint as to the location of some buried treasure? Well, what the couple found next seemed to confirm their suspicions.
Placed in the book underneath the words “there yielded such fruitful results” was an old black-and-white photograph of a large house. On the back were the words “Where one tree becomes three” – a phrase that seemed to refer to the tree on the photo’s left.
Eddie and Angie even found a bingo card, with three digits circled in pencil, tucked inside the safe. Could these be the combination to another locked box; perhaps one that the clues would lead to?
Unsurprisingly, the story attracted plenty of attention online. With everyone from amateur treasure hunters to skeptical cynics giving their two cents, there were certainly plenty of theories being thrown around.
While many excited commenters noted the value of the old $100 bills, and even spoke of traveling to Arizona, others were a little more suspicious.
Image: via Reddit
When the story was posted to Reddit, one sharp-eyed user mentioned that the safe was a new model that could be purchased online. Another wondered why the code to a secret safe would be left in such an obvious place.
Image: via Amazon
A look at the history of theCHIVE led some news outlets to grow suspicious of the story. The website has been known to publish hoax stories in the past – like its 2007 piece that claimed Donald Trump had left a waiter a $10,000 tip.
In August 2015 the website did indeed confirm that the box-of-treasure story was fake. This admission, however, came too late for the world’s media, which had already run the story. Well, it did sound too good to be true.