While renovating the historical Circle Theatre, workers stumbled across a mysterious object. As soon as they looked inside, they were caught off guard by its contents. They gathered that the object must’ve been laying there, between the floorboards, for a very long time.
But these workers had no idea what repercussions their strange discovery would have.
As soon as the workers started tearing apart the walls and floors for the reconstruction, they quickly took note of something sticking out from under the floorboard. They all thought that the discovery was quite odd, but this didn’t stop them from going on with their work.
As time passed, and they tore more floorboards from the ground, the unknown object was slowly coming into full view. One worker decided to reach out and grab ahold of it.
It was a brown, plastic object, and although they didn’t know what it was, they could tell that it was in pristine condition. But as they stepped forward to take a closer look, they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. It was a plastic wallet!
When they opened it and took a look inside, the contents told them everything they had to know. But these workers had no idea of the impact that would derive from their findings.
The Talent Factory, which was a popular comedy club in Nevada, Iowa, had been around for many years. Over the decades, this picturesque building saw its fair share of renovations, but none of them had ever solved a mystery, until now.
Larry Sloan was the owner of The Talent Factory, and he was gobsmacked when he discovered the old wallet. It was an impressive 71 years old! But who did it belong to?
When Larry and the construction workers found the wallet under the floorboards, they were all taken aback because of the condition it was in. It appeared that being wedges tightly between the floorboards had left it in perfect condition.
But what was odd was the fact that the wallet was made out of plastic. Because of this fact, Larry thought that the wallet might’ve belonged to a child, but this all changed when he was what was inside.
Larry worked hard to transform the once-old movie theater into a comedy establishment. Built in the 1920s, many generations of people had stepped through its doors and walked over its floors
The place had seen its fair share of first kisses, first dates, etc. Although Larry knew the place like the back of his hand, nothing could ever prepare him for finding the 71-year-old wallet and its contents intact.
As he looked down at the wallet in his hands, he knew that the object was old, but he had no idea how old it really was until he saw one piece inside of it that gave the mystery away. It was in pristine condition. Its brown leather was faded and it was wrapped tightly in plastic.
When they opened it up, they discovered that there were a few items inside. Some were unrecognizable but others made the men freeze and stare in astonishment.
Every day, live performance comedians act their comedy routine on stage, making their audiences cry from laughter. But Larry and his staff never thought that they would find such a valuable piece of historic treasure right inside of their building.
But they had no idea what journey their odd discovery would take them on.
While the men were busy with renovations, they discovered the old, brown wallet wedges between the floorboards on the third floor of the building. “It was sitting right up on that ledge right there,” a worker remembers.
When they removed the wallets from the boards, they first assumed that someone had lost it recently, but when they opened it up and had a look inside, shivers immediately went up and down their spines.
“The wallet was plastic, the first thing that came into my mind was ‘This must be a child’s wallet’ I had no idea how old it would be,” Larry said in an interview with KCI News 8 when they asked him about his story.
As he was holding the wallet, he had no idea that as soon as he opened it, he would discover something truly incredible.
As he cradled the wallet in his hands, he knew this item must have been old, but he never expected how old it was until one piece inside of it, in particular, gave the mystery away. The wallet was in remarkably good shape, the brown leather was faded, and it was wrapped in some plastic.
They opened it up, and there were some items inside, some unrecognizable, but others made the men’s jaws hit the floor.
They were surprised by the contents the wallet held. It was a medium-sized wallet, but inside, it contained many things. After a few trinkets, tickets, and old coins, the first thing Larry and his workers pulled out were some old and faded photographs.
Still, they had no idea who that might be, so they kept searching.
Then, they couldn’t believe what they had just found! Ration stamps from World War II. The stamps were in excellent condition, but this confronted them with an intriguing question.
How long had the wallet been hiding for? Surely it could not have been from so far back, could it? They were in for a surprise.
The next item they pulled out was an old Boy Scout card. The edges of the card were torn, but still, it was in pretty good condition. Larry and his men knew by this card that the wallet had been lost a long time ago, but they had no idea exactly how long.
Whoever this wallet belonged to must have been in the Scouts! They could at least find the owner that way, or so they thought.
Among the contents, there were a lot of pictures of people that were taken a long time ago, but still, they seemed in great shape despite having been secreted away in a wallet for such a long time. The photographs ranged from men, women, children, to older people.
But it was impossible to pinpoint whom the wallet belonged to, then they opened up one part of the wallet where all the secrets were stored.
They came across a faded pocket calendar, but to their disbelief, the date on the calendar was 1944! Larry and the other men could not believe what they were looking at; this meant the wallet had been missing and wedged inside the floorboards for over 70 years!
They had found some historical treasure while renovating but still, one question persisted, who did this wallet belong to? And why was it here?
Next, the pair found an ID card which luckily meant that they could finally discover who it belonged to. The name “Clare McIntosh” was written in smudged blue ink on the top of the card. They finally had a name! But no one knew if this Clare McIntosh was even still alive.
Luckily, Larry had a background in investigating, so he put his skills to the test.
With all the contents out on display, the last one to emerge was a black and white photograph of Clare McIntosh himself. He was young and dressed in a neat way; with a suit and tie.
Still, this did not give them much to go by as the person to whom this wallet belonged to must have been in their 80’s by now. Larry knew exactly what to do.
The hand-written ID stated ‘In the event of an emergency contact R.E McIntosh, Iowa, Telephone number “8”‘. Larry immediately thought “Wow, that is old.” When Larry started his investigation, he did not know how to begin.
“When you’re doing something like that, 71 years later, the hopes of finding him alive and well were kind of small,” Larry told KCI News.
But with Larry’s perseverance he finally found and contacted the Clare McIntosh he was looking for. McIntosh arrived at the Talent Factory and was immediately introduced to Larry. “So you’re the famous Clare McIntosh,” said Larry, and McIntosh responded, “Yeah, I guess so.”
While both of them laughed, McIntosh could not believe his wallet had been found after so many years. He was itching to see what he had once lost.
85-year-old Clare McIntosh couldn’t believe his eyes when he scanned through his possessions. But when Larry called him that day to tell him they had found his wallet, he was confused.
He had his wallet with him, but when Larry told him he had found his 1944 wallet, shivers immediately went up and down McIntosh’s spine.90
McIntosh got to see his wallet for the first time since he was 15, making the moment so very special. He pointed out everyone in the photographs with tears in his eyes.
“It is unreal; this is my sister, this is my boy scout card…” McIntosh said, visibly delighted, as he pointed to every single item.
“I thought at first it must be some kind of a joke, and I thought it couldn’t be!” McIntosh said when he received the call from Larry.
Luckily enough, he lived pretty close by and when asked what he was going to do with his newly found wallet he said he would cherish it forever. However, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.
If you have ever lost your wallet, you know how frustrating the experience can be. Usually, when this happens, it’s quite unlikely that you’ll find it again, so you can say goodbye.
However, in some cases these lost wallets can be found again, even after many decades, bringing a blast from the past; that’s what happened to Clare McIntosh, but also to the protagonist of the next story.
Ester French, a 85-year-old woman from Connecticut, barely had any memories about her childhood, good or bad. She remembered a few disconnected moments here and there, but that was it.
All her life until she turned 17 or 18 was kind of blurry in her mind; and the few moments she remembered had a dream-like quality to them, like they were someone else’s memories.
If anyone had asked her how her childhood was, she would have had a hard time giving an elaborate answer; she would have had to stick to merely factual information, like where she was born, how many siblings she had, and her parent’s occupations.
But she couldn’t give an account of her childhood that she could associate with any emotion or feeling. In short, she felt kind of estranged from her own childhood; until that day.
That old high school in Virginia had been abandoned and derelict since at least the 60s. But recently, the state government had made great promises about renewing and building up Virginia’s public schooling structures.
The former high school was one of the buildings looking forward to being renovated so that they could be used again. That day, contractor James Vario, aged 47, was on the site.
It wasn’t Vario’s first day on the side; however, to practical effects, it was almost like it was. The building’s renovation had just begun, and there was a lot for the workers to do and Vario to oversee and handle.
After all, the building had been abandoned since the 60s and suffered a big deal of deterioration since then. Walking amongst its ruins felt like getting into a time capsule.
The abandoned high school also had some kind of creepy feeling to it. The noise and bustle of the construction workers and machinery filled almost every area of the building.
But in some rooms, particularly that one abandoned classroom that still kept some corroded wooden desks and tables, there was some sort of eerie peace and quiet that made Vario uneasy.
Still, this room in particular exerted some sort of fascination over Vario. Usually, he would have gotten down to business; there was a lot to do and there was no time to waste in contemplating the old ruins, as awe-inspiring as they may be.
But this time was different. However, nothing in the world could have prepared Vario for what he was about to find that day.
At one point of the day, Vario found himself pacing around that old classroom, strolling between the dusty and corroded desks.
He even reached into the compartments under the desks, wondering if he would find some old books and trinkets from when the school was in use. Most of the desks’ compartments were empty, except for one.
Reaching under one of the desks, Vario’s hand touched something; he grabbed it and brought it out. Then, he examined it in the dim light filtering through the windows of the derelict classroom.
It was a leather wallet! The leather was dusty and wrinkly from all those years. When Vario opened it and looked at its contents, he immediately knew he had to act fast.
A few days later, the original owner of the wallet, Ester French, had been traced and found by Vario, who informed her about his discovery with a trembling voice.
In a matter of days, Vario had sent her the wallet so she could examine it by herself. When she saw the contents, instantly a stream of memories hit her like a brick.
“It was absolutely shocking when I learned about it. Just very surprising, but interesting,” she said to the media later when asked about the story.“When I heard about it I couldn’t believe it.”
“There’s a calendar from 1951; some wonderful stamps of Santa Claus from 1951. There’s two pictures of people that were important to her; there’s some silver coins.” But that wasn’t all.
There was also a small newspaper clipping asking God to protect all the Navy Sailors during the Korean War, and a little blue book with names and addresses. “I’m not sure why I had that,” French says. “Hey, we’re talking about a lot of years, you know?”
“There was nothing to do about it when I lost it,” she also said. “I perhaps reported it at the time, but I knew that I couldn’t get it and I was feeling bad about it at the time.”
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.