This Woman Thought She Bought A Paperweight, Then She Looked Inside

When Jessica Roberts stopped by a yard sale with her son, she knew she had come across a unique item worth buying. Little did she know just how unusual her “paperweight” really was. It would be years before Jessica would discover what she had really purchased. As if by fate, she spotted almost the same item online, but this one was listed as something else entirely. Jessica decided to do some investigating, and before long, she was on a mission to find the true owner.

An Average Yard Sale

Getty Images
Getty Images

Jessica Roberts was out and about with her son when they stumbled upon a yard sale. They decided to take a moment to look through the items on sale in case anything jumped out at them.

There was one thing that appealed to Jessica’s son because he thought it would make a nice gift for his mother. He asked her if she would buy it for him, so he could give it to her later.

The Lovely Paperweight Was Only $1

paperweight
Jessica Roberts/Facebook
Jessica Roberts/Facebook

Jessica took a look at the item her son was talking about and saw it was a paperweight. It was in the shape of a heart and featured a gorgeous design with bird-shaped carvings in gold.

Even better was when Jessica talked to the person selling it, they quoted her $1. Jessica thought the paperweight was lovely and well worth a buck, so she bought it on the spot. The item would go on to live in their home for years.

Spotting Something On The Internet

woman-on-computer
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Years passed and the paperweight became just an ordinary knickknack in Jessica’s house. That all changed one day when she was online, browsing Amazon. Jessica told Bored Panda that she wasn’t looking for anything in particular.

She was merely window shopping, checking out “random items” on the popular shopping website. In a way, it’s like Jessica was looking at another yard sale, only this time it was through the internet. That’s when she spotted something that made her pause to take a closer look.

An Urn For Sale

small-urn
STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images
STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images

What Jessica had spotted for sale on Amazon was an urn. It made her pause because it looked similar to the paperweight she had purchased years ago. She went to retrieve the old yard sale item to compare it to what she had found online.

Jessica started to wonder if her assumptions had been wrong all this time. Was it possible that this wasn’t a paperweight at all, but an urn? If so, could there be ashes inside?

She Couldn’t Stop Thinking About It

morning
Unsplash/Zach Ramelan
Unsplash/Zach Ramelan

Jessica initially rejected the idea that her long-held paperweight was actually an urn. She told Bored Panda, “I thought to myself that there was no way there were remains inside.” She proceeded to put the paperweight away and tried to forget the whole thing.

It became obvious that she wasn’t very convinced, though, because she couldn’t get it out of her mind. Jessica said she “tossed and turned all night thinking about it.” The next day she decided to do something about it.

Turning To Social Media For Help

Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Jessica was torn about what to do. To find answers, she decided to share what happened on social media with the hopes that her online community would have some advice. She also noted that the similar-looking item being sold online was going for $30.

There was another intriguing detail Jessica shared on Facebook: the “paperweight” had screws and a cover on the bottom. She explained that she thought it was for sand, but now she didn’t know.

Unsure Of What To Do With It

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Unsplash/Kev Costello
Unsplash/Kev Costello

At the end of Jessica’s post, she joked that “this is how you get haunted.” Though she was being lighthearted, she did feel conflicted about how to best deal with the mysterious item.

She wondered if she should just get rid of it by tossing it in the trash. Another option would be to open up the bottom and look inside. Jessica’s history of watching thriller movies made her all the more conflicted about what to do.

People Had Some Suggestions

lawn
Unsplash/Martin Knize
Unsplash/Martin Knize

Jessica’s post drew some attention and before long people started commenting their two cents. The general consensus was to definitely avoid throwing it away. One person even joked that Jessica might already be being haunted!

A few people suggested burying it, and one even said she should use it as a lawn ornament. When it came to opening up the item, it was widely agreed that she should do it outside if at all. Jessica had a lot to think about.

Jessica Joked About Adopting It

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Unsplash/John Tuesday
Unsplash/John Tuesday

With all of the talk about ashes and urns, Jessica knew just how to lighten up the conversation. After everyone made their suggestions, she joked that she’ll “probably just end up giving it a nickname and adopting it as part of the family.”

She said she’d stop using it as a paperweight and put the newest addition to their household on the fireplace mantel. As humorous as her decision was, it wouldn’t stand the test of time. The next day, Jessica went ahead and opened it up.

Discovering The Ashes

urn
Jessica Roberts/Facebook
Jessica Roberts/Facebook

Jessica spent another night thinking about the paperweight. When the time came to wake up and get ready for work, she couldn’t help but open it up first. She unscrewed one of the screws in the bottom and slid open the item.

Inside, she found the very thing she was so sure couldn’t be in there before. It was a bag full of ashes! Now Jessica knew for sure that it was an urn. The next question was what she would do about it.

One Person’s Hunch May Have Been Correct

facebook-comment
Jessica Roberts/Facebook
Jessica Roberts/Facebook

When Jessica first made a post about the urn, there was one person who made a suggestion that now stuck out. While some thought she should just bury the thing, one comment advised that she try to find who it belongs to.

They pointed out that it could have been accidentally sold or something that the original owners were just as stupified by. Either way, Jessica knew that the only person who would have answers would be the ones who had it first.

She Made Another Facebook Post

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Jessica Roberts/Facebook
Jessica Roberts/Facebook

As soon as Jessica opened up the paperweight and discovered it was, in fact, an urn, she knew what to do. She decided to follow the advice of the person who suggested finding the original owner.

To do so, Jessica would need to inform the public. Before she even left for work, Jessica snapped some photos of the urn and attached them to a Facebook post. Little did she knew how quickly her story would go viral.

Within Hours, People Were Sharing The News

Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Nowadays, news flies like never before thanks to the internet. Jessica posted about the urn before going to work, and by the time she got there, the news was already spreading like wildfire.

Within hours, her photos of the urn were all over the internet. Jessica described it as “an amazing outpour of people who wanted to help.” Even if all they could do was hit the “share” button, that was enough to bring Jessica closer to solving this mystery.

The Local Newspaper Even Stepped In

Neva79/Pixabay
Neva79/Pixabay

The news really did travel lightning fast when it came to Jessica’s mysterious urn. By the time she got to work the story was going viral, and by the time she got home she was contacted by the local newspaper.

They, too, wanted to help Jessica find the original owner. Plus, it made for a fascinating story that people were already showing an interest in. Between the newspaper and social media, Jessica had done all she could to get the word out.

The Next Day, Someone Contacted Jessica

Will Ireland/Future via Getty Images
Will Ireland/Future via Getty Images

It turns out that making a social media post and talking to the local news was enough to find the person Jessica was looking for. The very next morning, she was contacted by someone who claimed to know the person if belonged to.

He didn’t just know the owner; he was married to her! Jessica wanted to know more before she handed over the urn, though. She had to be sure that this was the rightful owner.

It All Started With An Ex

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Unsplash/Markus Spiske
Unsplash/Markus Spiske

The man explained to Jessica that the urn was a part of a larger set that contained the remains of his wife’s father. She had lost them years ago due to a breakup with an ex.

When the pair split, the man refused to give back her belongings. He must have sold them off in his own yard sale, because this little urn somehow ended up in the hands of Jessica’s neighbor, and now Jessica.

Regret Over The Lost Ashes

Robert Alexander/Getty Images
Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Though the woman ended up in a better relationship and is now married, she still regrets losing her father’s ashes. The husband told Jessica that it was especially hard for her when they welcomed their first child.

She felt like her father couldn’t be there in spirit because his ashes were somewhere else. It turns out that looking for the original owner was the right thing to do after all. Jessica had no idea how meaningful this “paperweight” had been all along.

Plans To Meet In Person

Jess Bailey/Unsplash
Jess Bailey/Unsplash

After speaking to the man at length, Jessica could tell that he was sincere. The new information made her that much more eager to return to urn to its rightful owner. They ended their conversation with plans to meet in person.

There was just one thing that seemed off. The man wasn’t going to bring his wife along to get the item she so desperately missed. It turns out he had a plan up his sleeve.

A Christmas Surprise

Bob Dmyt/Pixabay
Bob Dmyt/Pixabay

The husband wanted to go alone to get the urn from Jessica because he wanted it to be a surprise for his wife. As fate would have it, all of this happened less than two weeks before Christmas!

He hoped to surprise his wife with a present that would mean more to her than anything he could ever buy. Knowing how much joy the urn would bring this woman made Jessica that much happier to have been part of this process.

Much More Than A Paperweight

Free-Photos/Pixabay
Free-Photos/Pixabay

Though Jessica didn’t get to meet the woman or see the look on her face when she was surprised with the urn, the thought made her just as happy. She told Bored Panda that she felt “truly honored to be able to bring someone a little bit of joy for the Christmas season.

What started out as a finding that Jessica was leery to discover ended up being one of the most meaningful events of her year.

This Woman Never Expected To Find Something Inside A $2 Thrift Store Ornament

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

This is Priscilla Bailey, a woman who was living in Plymouth, Massachusetts when she found an ornament that caught her eye at a local thrift store. She noticed that the ornament was being sold for the low, low price of two American dollars.

Priscilla thought that was a pretty good deal, so she decided to buy the ornament right there and then. It wasn’t until she got it home that she noticed that there was something unusual about it.

Something Strange Inside

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

Priscilla had been shopping at that thrift store before. She liked thrift shopping because she would almost always find unique, beautiful items for a fraction of the price that they would be in a normal retail store. She would often pop into thrift stores in her area whenever she was out and about running errands.

Even though Priscilla was a veteran thrift shopper, she had no idea that she had stumbled across something really special.

How She Found Her Ornament

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

The ornament that Priscilla bought was just sitting on a thrift store shelf alongside other blown glass items that were for sale. Priscilla really likes glass ornaments and this particular ornament was in her favorite color— blue.

When Priscilla picked up the item, she noticed the price tag stuck to the bottom of it that indicated that the ornament would only cost her $2. Priscilla jumped at the chance to own the gorgeous ornament for such a low price.

Was The Price Too Low?

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

Thrift stores are known to have very good prices, but $2 for a blown glass ornament seems like a very low price even for a thrift store. What was the catch? Priscilla inspected the ornament to see if there was anything wrong with it, but as far as she could tell, it seemed perfectly fine.

It also had quite a bit of weight to it, made with care and plenty of glass so it wasn’t brittle or extremely fragile.

Taking Her Treasure Home

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

When Priscilla got home with her new ornament, she unwrapped her found treasure and started to examine it more closely.

Taking a closer look at the metalwork, Priscilla wondered if the design was angels or something else. There must be a story to this piece. All previously owned items come with such great stories. Priscilla held the item in hands, flipped it around, and admired the blue glass. it really was a beautiful and enchanting piece.

Heavier Than She Expected

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

While Priscilla was holding the ornament in her hands, she noticed that it was heavier than she expected it to be. She was no ornament expert, but she had held a fair amount of glass ornaments in her life. She could tell that this particular ornament had a bit more weight to it.

Priscilla ignored the surprising heaviness of the ornament fo the time being and decided to display her find in her kitchen. It wasn’t until later, when her daughter came over, that she realized she had overlooked an important detail.

Her Daughter’s Discovery

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

This is a photo of Priscilla’s daughter, Kat. Kat also loved blown glass ornaments, so she was excited when her mother showed her the ornament she had found at the thrift store. Kat loved blown glass so much that she dreamed of opening her own blown glass store in Massachusetts.

Priscilla didn’t mention the strange weight of the ornament to Kat, but even so, Kat noticed that there was something strange about this particular glass ornament.

What Was Different About It?

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

Kat thought that the heart-shaped ornament was absolutely beautiful. She gently took the ornament off the wall to take a closer look. She too, noticed that it was heavier than she expected. She mentioned this observation to her mother, who admitted that she also thought that the ornament was abnormally heavy.

Kat had an idea. She went to find a flashlight so that she could see if there was anything inside the ornament. That light would soon reveal something incredible.

What Was Inside?

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

Priscilla thought that using a flashlight to look inside of the ornament was an excellent idea. When they first shone the flashlight through the ornament, they didn’t see anything unusual, but then, they saw that there was something inside the ornament that was moving around.

Using the light, Priscilla and Kat discovered that there were actually two secret compartments inside the ornament. Something was moving in the smaller compartment. Priscilla desperately wanted to know what was inside.

Reaching Out For Help

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

Pricilla and Kat decided that they needed an expert to help them get to the bottom of this mystery. Priscilla decided to call the local authorities and let them inspect her item. Maybe whatever was inside was dangerous or illegal.

Priscilla also called the Boston Globe and invited news reporters over to her house to see what they thought about the mysterious two-dollar thrift store ornament. Even though Priscilla didn’t know what was inside the ornament yet, she had a feeling it was going to be interesting.

Not An Ordinary Ornament

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

The news reporters showed up at Priscilla’s house first, and she told them everything that she knew about it. Sitting around her kitchen table, Priscilla told the reporters, “Right now, it’s hanging up there when I do my dishes. I sometimes stare at it.”

Not knowing what to expect, the reporters were just as intrigued as Priscilla when she handed over the ornament for them to inspect themselves. It was immediately clear that this held much more meaning than a simple Christmas tree ornament.

Something Powdery?

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

Then, Priscilla and Kat showed the reporters how they noticed that there were two hidden compartments inside of the glass ornament. As they had before, Priscilla held up the ornament while Kat shined a light on it, revealing the contents inside.

Kat explained to the reporters what she thought it was. “I said to her, ‘it looks like it’s ashes, Mom.'” But even if it were, the mystery remains as to whose they were, and how they ended up at a thrift store.

What If It Was Ashes?

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

There was no doubt that the ornament was beautiful. And if they contained ashes inside, it would make sense why it was so carefully made with stunning detail. But the two women had also been shaking the ornament, not knowing it was ashes inside.

They wondered if they were disrespecting the ashes, or even if she wanted this in her home if they were in fact ashes of someone’s relative.

What To Do

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

At first, she was weirded out by the concept that she had someone else’s ashes in her home, and that she had been handling the ornament that contained them so many times. That was a bit unsettling.

But thinking about it further, she had empathy for the person whose ashes they were, and the family members that would want to hold onto such a precious item. How did it end up at the thrift store? Priscilla knew that she had to do something about it.

Giving It Back To Its Rightful Owner

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

Priscilla decided that she would do whatever she could in order to find the proper person to hand off the ornament to. She was hoping that the news media could help her find the relatives who mistakenly gave the item away to the thrift store. If not, she had to find another way.

She told the reporters, “It’s beautiful. It must have a story. So that’s my goal: to find out where and who this belongs to.” She had also notified the police, but still, she didn’t feel like she was any closer to finding any answers.

Getting The Word Out

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

After the news media left her Plymouth home, Priscilla and Kat decided that they should hold onto the glass ornament until they figured out who to return it to. They hoped that the news story would pick up steam, and someone would know who to return it to.

The women also had another idea: share the story on Facebook and see if they could reach anyone who might know something through social media.

Using Social Media

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

Along with a close-up photo of the blue glass ornament, Kat shared the story of how she and her mother ended up with it. She shared, “It breaks my heart that this was tossed away and just sitting on a shelf at Savers for $2.”

She asked for anyone who might know anything about it to get a hold of her so that the mother and daughter could properly return it in safe care.

Another Special Ornament

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YouTube/CBS News
YouTube/CBS News

Priscilla had also contacted the store she purchased it from, Savers, and let them know of her find. The store’s manager said that the majority of their donations were from residents in the area, so there was a good chance whoever donated the ornament lived around Plymouth.

That’s when a local woman named Connie Whiteman Slate commented on Kat’s post, “Please let me know what you find out as I have one also. Found mine at a thrift shop too! It’s heavy in weight.”

Could There Be Two?

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Facebook/Connie Whiteman Slatt
Facebook/Connie Whiteman Slatt

The conversation on the Facebook post continued, as someone else commented that she had one too. A woman replied that she had found a similar ornament at a thrift store, but in the Pacific Northwest. She described it, “Mine was iridescent and heart-shaped like this one, but much less ornament and more suncatcher-like.”

Then, she included some information about the contents of the ornament that the women hadn’t heard before. She said, “It was made from the ash of Mt. Saint Helen.”

Theories Started To Emerge

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Facebook/Connie Whiteman Slatt
Facebook/Connie Whiteman Slatt

The woman who knew the origins of the ashes within her ornament replied back, “This could also explain what appears to be ashes enclosed within… could be a possibility.”

All this time, Priscilla and Kat believed that the ornament held a person’s ashes like an urn. They hadn’t considered the possibility that the ashes originated from something else. The two women didn’t receive a confirmed answer, but with the Facebook post still going viral, there’s a chance the truth will reveal itself.