Mark can feel the panic building like an unstoppable snowball in the pit of his stomach. He stares inside the trunk and his hands start to tremble. How was this possible? His grandfather was a kind man; a gentleman. He was goofy, childish and he loved nothing more than making others smile.
None of this made any sense. But then suddenly, Mark saw something else inside the trunk. A shiver crept up his spine and he knew right there and then his grandfather wasn’t the man he thought he was.
As kids, Mark and his sister, Maria, idolized their grandfather Alec. He was kind, funny, a real gentleman and he always showered his grandkids with love and affection.
But despite his goofy and shameless behavior, there was something about their grandfather that didn’t sit right with the two grandkids.
For as long as they could remember Mark and Maria were told plenty of outlandish stories from their grandfather. Whether he was tucking them into their bed or babysitting them on their summer break, their grandfather loved to tell wild and crazy stories about his past.
Still, it never crossed their minds that he was telling the truth. He was just entertaining them, right?
For instance, when Mark and Maria were young, their grandfather used to claim that he’d located the treasure of José Gaspar, a notorious and infamous Spanish pirate, many years ago.
The children ravished the story, sometimes it was the only story they’d ever let him tell, but they never took it seriously. Until now.
After their grandfather passed away, Mark and Maria were tasked with cleaning his attic. Maria was hesitant at first, but she soon agreed, hoping to find some sentimental pieces.
The two grandkids figured they’d find nothing of value until they made a startling discovery inside a trunk that changed everything they thought they knew about their grandfather!
Mark and Maria arrived at their grandfather’s home and nostalgia hit them like a ton of bricks. Walking around the empty house memories came flooding back. Mark saw the backyard where his grandfather taught him how to ride a bike, while Maria saw the kitchen where her grandfather taught her how to make his ‘world-famous’ nachos.
Mark and Maria smiled at each other and made their way to the attic to start the cleanup. But they had no idea what was coming.
Climbing inside the attic, Mark felt a shiver in his spine. He looked around and reaches for the light switch and pulls it. The attic lights up and Mark lets out a sigh seeing all the boxes up there. This was going to be a tough job.
Maria climbed into the attic and the two started the cleanup. But then they saw something across the room. And for a strange reason, it left an uneasy feeling in the pits of their stomachs.
It was an unmarked trunk. Maria noticed how it was completely covered in dust. Dirt and grime clung to it, just like how she once clung to her grandfather’s chest.
Something about this box didn’t sit right with Mark and Maria. Something was telling them to look inside. But they were not prepared to find what they did.
They opened the trunk and among the items that Mark and Maria found was a picture of two people on their wedding day. While they had no proof, the siblings assumed it was likely a photograph of their great-grandparents.
Also inside the box was a crude map of Tampa, Florida, from the 1930s. Why would their grandfather keep such a strange item seemingly drawn by hand? Mark and Maria thought they had seen it all, but they were not prepared for what they would find next.
Mark and Maria also found an array of what they believed to be Portuguese and Spanish coins dating all the way back to the 16th century. Perhaps there really was some truth to their grandfather’s stories?
“Maybe they were pirates,” Mark joked to Maria. While the truth can sometimes be unnerving, Mark and Maria still hadn’t seen anything yet! What they found next left a terrible feeling in the pits of their stomachs.
Quite disturbingly, the chest also contained a preserved human hand! Both Mark and Maria let out a gasp at their discovery.
They felt like they were in some sort of Hollywood horror movie, and a masked villain was just about to jump out and chase them. But that didn’t happen. Instead, silence lingered in the air. The two grandkids looked at each other. What was their grandfather doing with a hand?
Hundreds of questions ran through Mark and Maria’s mind. Why would their grandfather keep a preserved human hand for so long? And why would he keep it all a secret from his family?
Mark and Maria knew they had to do some more digging if they ever wanted to know the truth. But they had to be quick. Time was running out.
While every thought imaginable stirred in their minds, Mark and Maria decided they had to get to the bottom of their discovery, once and for all. They had to find out the truth.
So, they brought the box and the items inside of it to a professional to look over. But little did the grandkids know what was coming next.
Tampa Bay History Centre curator Rodney Kite-Powell took a look at the coins and stated that they were a little too thin to be Spanish Coins. Next, Rodney wanted to give the crude map of Tampa a close examination. After a while, he determined it dated back to either the 1920s or 1930s.
Rodney concluded that any of the items having belonged to José Gaspar were starting to dwindle. “It’s probably not José Gaspar’s hand, and these probably aren’t Spanish coins,” Rodney explained to Mark and Maria. The two grandkids were left heartbroken. They still needed to find out the truth about their grandfather.
Of course, the hand might not have belonged to José Gaspar, but that didn’t do anything to take away from its mystery.
Mark and Maria still have no idea of its origins— or if it was all even real, to begin with. And still, to this day, the two grandkids have no information about the rest of their discovery.