Woman is Baffled by Thrift-Shop Purchase When She Spots Movement Inside
It’s the holiday season when we spend lots of time and money shopping. So, whether it’s a gift for a loved one, home decoration, or food for special family meals, we always look for bargains.
This lady picked up a $2 tree ornament at a local thrift store. And there was quite a surprise inside.
Loving a Good Bargain
Priscilla Bailey of Plymouth, Massachusetts, loves to shop for bargains. She stops by the local thrift store as often as possible and has uncovered great buys there. Of course, one never knows what the store will have that day, so she often stops in to check out the newest items.
Priscilla had found some real treasures at thrift stores, some truly beautiful and unique. So she made it a practice to look for unusual items. This time, however, she had no idea what she had stumbled upon.
The Search for Something Special
Priscilla loves to peruse the shelves in thrift stores. Unlike department stores, thrift store shopping requires patience since each item on the shelves and racks is different. She takes her time, always searching for items in her favorite color, blue.
Another of Priscilla’s favorites was blown glass. She loved how it shone in different light settings and the rich look of the material. So when she found an ornament made of blue-colored blown glass, she grabbed it.
Perfect for the Holidays
The price tag for the blown glass ornament was a shocker; it cost only two dollars, but it seemed worth much more. Priscilla was doubly excited to have found this unique item for her home.
She returned home and couldn’t wait to hang up the gorgeous ornament. On her drive home, she decided that the perfect place was in the window so that it could catch the sunlight. Indeed, it looked magnificent hanging in the window, and everyone admired her purchase.
How Could the Price be Real?
As Priscilla gazed at the ornament, she wondered about the price. The piece was clearly well-made and of excellent quality. How could the thrift store sell it for two dollars? Was there a catch?
She carefully inspected the ornament, looking for flaws or cracks. It was not brittle or fragile but sturdy. Also, it was heavier than expected. After her inspection, she wondered again why this quality item cost just two dollars. That thought stuck with her; she thought something was odd about the ornament.
Taking an Even Closer Look
The ornament was on Priscilla’s mind; she couldn’t stop thinking something wasn’t right. Then, taking a closer look, she realized that the design embedded in it looked like angels, but she wasn’t sure. One thing she did know was that it was simply breathtaking.
She was enchanted with the piece, perhaps more so because it had a bit of mystery. Having heard stories about other people’s surprise purchases at thrift stores, she thought her ornament might have a fascinating history.
Weighty, but Why?
The weight of the ornament puzzled Priscilla, too. She had held many blown glass items; the material was one of her favorites. However, this one was heavier than the others she had handled. She could not imagine why.
At this point, Priscilla decided to stop fretting over the gorgeous ornament and just hang it in her kitchen and admire it. So she got busy with holiday preparation. Later that day, her daughter Kat visited and also admired the purchase. But her daughter noticed something that Priscilla had overlooked.
Priscilla’s daughter Kat loved blown glass and was excited to see the thrift store purchase. She took the ornament down and held it, inspecting it and admiring its gorgeous color and artistry.
Kat was more experienced with blown glass than her mother; in fact, her dream was to open her own blown glass store one day. She held the ornament in her hands. Noticing the odd heftiness of the item, she decided not to say anything to her mother just yet.
A Closer Look
After examining the ornament for a bit longer, Kat mentioned the odd weight of the blown glass to her mother. The two agreed that something was strange about the weight of the piece. Kat decided to investigate; she was intrigued.
Kat wondered if there was something inside the glass; maybe that was why the item was so heavy. Her mother agreed it was worth investigating, so Kat got a flashlight and shone it into the blown glass. The two gasped when they saw what was inside.
No One Could Ever Have Expected This
Looking inside the blown glass, mother and daughter almost screamed. At first, it looked like a tiny sculpture that had been fit inside, but as they kept looking, the item moved. Both screamed in horror. What was that?
Horrified, the two stood there watching the squirming “creature” inside the blown glass. All sorts of thoughts ran through their minds, none of them positive. The two looked at each other as if to say, “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?”
Looking even more closely with the flashlight, Priscilla discovered there were two secret compartments inside the blown glass ornament. She and Kat could not stop staring at the weird sight.
They saw that something was moving in one of the compartments. As the item moved, whatever it was, was pushing against the walls of the ornament. This was too weird and frightening. It was time to call someone to check this out.
Is it Dangerous? Illegal?
It was definitely time to call in the authorities. The house was soon full of officials checking out the ornament and trying to decipher the mystery. Most important was to determine if what was inside the blown glass was dangerous or illegal.
Priscilla invited the Boston Globe, hoping the reporters would figure out this item and how it came to be in a thrift shop. Between the authorities and the police, Priscilla and Kat hoped the mystery would finally be solved.
The In-Depth Investigation
Priscilla told the group gathered at her house all the details she knew about the ornament. She told them it was hanging in her kitchen, and she loved to look at it shining in the light. But, unfortunately, there was not much more she could say.
Priscilla took the ornament down and handed it around to the authorities and the reporters. They each held it, and all commented on how surprisingly heavy it was. Now everyone was intrigued and wanted to solve the mystery.
The First Clue
Kat showed the crowd the two compartments she’d found inside the ornament. Kata shone the flashlight on it as everyone gathered around to see. They could see how the item shifted but were at a loss as to what was inside. Then Kat had something of a revelation.
“Mom,” Kat said, “it looks like ashes.” This explanation stunned everyone, but it explained the weight of the blown glass and the movement inside as the ashes would shift when the ornament was moved.
Once they began to think about the ornament being filled with someone’s ashes, Kat and Priscilla felt uncomfortable. They had been admiring the gorgeous piece but also moving it around, hanging it up, and inspecting it.
They felt that perhaps they were disrespecting the ashes. Another concern was that someone had given this to the thrift store by accident and might be looking for it. And finally, did they want someone else’s family member’s ashes in their home?
Now, What Do We Do?
Patricia and Kat had a lot to think about. Was this meant to be a Christmas ornament or a creative urn for a loved one’s ashes? Was it given to the thrift store in error? Was someone desperately looking to retrieve it?
The mother and daughter discussed this subject at length. Both loved the beauty and delicacy of the workmanship in the blown glass, but neither would be comfortable with the ashes of someone else’s dead relative in their home.
A Decision has to be Made
Priscilla could not stop thinking about the poor person whose ashes these were and the family members who had probably given the item to the thrift store by mistake. Had they gone to the thrift store to track down the urn?
The time for deliberation was over, and now it was time for action. Priscilla knew she’d never feel right until she did something about the ornament. So she was on a mission to find out more.
It Needs to Go Home
Priscilla just had to find out to whom the ornament belonged and get it back to them. She knew how she’d feel in this situation; how awful to have given something so important away by accident.
Since the reporters had been in her home when the discovery was made, she hoped that they’d share the story and the owner of the ornament would come forward. But, if that didn’t work, she was determined to find another way.
Not Finding Answers
Priscilla had done a great deal of work trying to find the owners of the ornament. But unfortunately, after engaging the police and the press, nothing had happened so far, and she was becoming frustrated.
She wondered what her next step should be. She became increasingly anxious to find this precious item’s owners. But she felt that she’d run out of ideas. She imagined the other family wondering who had their urn and worrying they’d never get it back.
Spreading the Word
Kat and Priscilla considered how they could get the word out to a broader audience. They needed the news about this extraordinary creation to get to as many people as possible, as quickly as possible.
The one avenue they hadn’t tried was social media. Although neither woman was an expert at Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, they knew enough to realize that millions of people would see their post and may someone would respond. At least they could try.
The Wonders of Social Media
Kat shared a photo of the ornament on Facebook and the story of how her mother had purchased it for only two dollars. She wrote, “It breaks my heart that this was tossed away and just sitting on a shelf at Savers for $2.”
Kat kept checking her post for responses. Some people wrote, sympathizing with her or commenting on the item’s beauty, but she waited for something more concrete. Finally, she got her wish – someone actually replied with helpful information
Back to the Thrift Store
Priscilla, trying to cover all bases, had also contacted the thrift store owner, asking if he remembered who’d brought in the ornament. She was hoping that he’d remember the donor with an item this special.
The store manager didn’t remember the donor but gave Pat some valuable information to help her search. Most donors, he said, came from the local area. So there’s a good chance that the owner was someone living in or around Plymouth.
Priscilla was not Alone
The post on Facebook got lots of comments, but some were intriguing. For example, a local woman, Connie Whiteman, commented that she had found something similar in a thrift shop. This was way too much of a coincidence. Kat was on to something.
She begged Kat to share whatever she learned since the ornament she had bought was also very heavy and seemed to have something inside. Finally, Kat heard something concrete, but that wasn’t the end.
Are There More of These?
The Facebook conversation continued, with a third person commenting that she also had an ornament with something heavy inside. She had purchased hers in a thrift store, but not in Massachusetts – in the Pacific Northwest.
She described that her ornament had the same heart shape as Kat’s and was also iridescent but designed like a suncatcher. Kat and Priscilla had started a country-wide conversation about these beautiful ornaments. Now they wondered how many more would show up.
An Intriguing Suggestion
The woman from the Pacific Northwest had an interesting theory. She’d heard that there were many ornaments like this and knew where they came from. These were facts that Kat didn’t know. And she was astounded.
“It was made from the ashes of Mt. Saint Helens,” the woman said. Kat vaguely knew about Mt. Saint Helens, which had happened 30 years earlier but was not entirely familiar with the story. Now she was really excited because the connection was becoming clearer.
The Volcano Eruption in 1980
The volcano in Washington State erupted in March of 1980 and killed about 50 people. Considered the worst volcanic eruption in U.S. history, ash from the volcano covered over 22,000 square miles and caused devastation.
The column of smoke rose 80,000 feet, and the blast shook the entire area. It was estimated that ash fell in 11 U.S. states and areas of Canada. That certainly makes it possible that ash could have been collected from the blast and kept as a memento.
Will We Ever Know?
The people who wrote on Kat’s Facebook post suggested that the ashes could indeed have come from the volcano, but no one has proven that to be true. Or could the ornament be what Kat and Priscilla initially thought, the ashes of a loved one stored inside a beautiful ornament?
And a third possibility exists – the ashes are not from a volcano or a person but from something else. There are so many possibilities, and no answers are forthcoming. In any event, the Facebook posts continue to go viral, so perhaps we’ll have an answer one day.