Curious Things and People

Have you gone through your attic lately? Some of the most interesting stories revolve around the unusual. Sometimes enormously valuable things that can turn up in a dark corner of an attic or basement. For example, those paintings that turned up in California some time back, priceless masterpieces, hiding their glory under the dust of years.

Of course, sometimes we think things are valuable when they aren’t.

For example, did you ever meet someone who told you that he knew someone who owned a Stradivarius violin? If everyone who claims to own one of these collector’s items, Stradivarius would have had to have had a mass production line like a ball-bearing factory.

How about the case of the little man from Texas who once followed a touring carnival for weeks, eager to sell the unusual objects he owned? He was persistent and sincere. He refused to take “no” for an answer. What were the “items” he held? A piece of wood from the cross of Christ and silver used at the Last Supper. The carnival owner finally convinced the man that he was not interested in buying the possessions. So, the little Texan sold his ranch and headed for New York City.

He was confident that he could find somebody intelligent enough to see the value of his treasures.

He hammered away at the curators of the Metropolitan Museum of Art until they finally had the wood and the silver examined to determine their age, and so on. The test quickly revealed that the wood was not more than fifty years old, and the silver service was of modern design. The little man from Texas was so disappointed and embarrassed. He had been asking three thousand dollars for the items. No one knows where he obtained the wood and silver service. It remains a mystery to this day.

One man actually tried to sell Ringling Bros. Circus the original apple with which Eve is supposed to have tempted Adam. What was his so-called proof that this was the original and famous apple? He pointed out that precisely two bites were missing from it, and he felt that this was sufficient proof. Another item you can buy just about any time you want is the authentic gun used by Jesse James, or Billy the Kid and so on.

It would seem that these men lost an astonishing number of firearms back then, all of which are for sale.

But of all the curious things offered for sale, first prize will have to go to the lady who wrote to a museum, “My husband is petrified. He died three years ago and has turned to stone. If your museum doesn’t want this specimen, I shall sell it as phosphate. He was of no use to me in life, and I intend to convert him into cash, either as a curiosity or as fertilizer.”

You should rummage through the attic or basement next time you have a chance.

Who knows what exciting things might turn up? They could be valuable. But if not, at least they’re always entertaining!

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