Pennsylvania Man Discovers A Long-Lost Underground Secret In His Own Backyard

It was a regular Sunday when James heard a hissing noise coming from somewhere around his house. Following the sound to the backyard, James froze when he saw what looked like a bubble trying to break free from the ground.

After he poked the object, James stood in shock as he unearthed a long-lost secret.

It Started As A Typical Sunday

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James Callender/Facebook
James Callender/Facebook

It was a normal Sunday morning, with James Carlington and his wife Sarah coming back from a relaxing morning at church. A gardening buff, James would typically take the rest of the afternoon to head into the backyard.

This day was a bit different, though. This afternoon, James was about to discover something very out of the ordinary.

The Weather Was Perfect For Gardening

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Jonathan Kemper/Unsplash
Jonathan Kemper/Unsplash

James was excited to get home and into his garden. After a storm the previous night, the weather was gorgeous in his home of Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania.

The sun was shining, and there was a slight breeze, the perfect conditions to spend a relaxing day outside enjoying his favorite hobby.

They Got Up, Made Breakfast, And Went To Church

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James Callender/Facebook
James Callender/Facebook

James and his wife got up early that Sunday, made breakfast, and were out the door to make their 10 a.m. church service. After the service, the couple came back to the house to do chores—a very normal Sunday.

Little did James know, but his relaxing Sunday afternoon was about to turn into anything but. He was about to discover a very strange “bubble” located underneath his back lawn.

James Was Excited To Get Home To The Garden

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Noeonbrand/Unsplash
Noeonbrand/Unsplash

On his way back from the service, James was getting excited to start working in his garden. As a businessman, his weekends are his favorite, as he can hop into the yard and be there all day.

So, he began making a list in his head of what had to be accomplished in the flowerbeds that day.

A Strange Hissing Noise Was Coming From The Yard

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

Finally, the couple made it back to their home. But James never made it inside the front door. Right before he turned the knob, he heard a weird sound coming from somewhere around the house.

He asked Sarah if she heard the noise; she did. It was a strange hissing sound they’d never heard before.

The Sound Brought James To The Backyard

4-Facebook -James-Callender
James Cellender/Facebook
James Cellender/Facebook

James decided to search around the house to try and figure out what could possibly be making the weird noise. Neither he nor his wife had ever heard anything like it, so it probably wasn’t a leak of some kind.

Following the sound, James finally made his way to the backyard. There, he paused.

It Looked Like A Grass Was Breathing

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Peter Tonchev/Unsplash
Peter Tonchev/Unsplash

When James finally got into the backyard, he stopped. It looked as though his grass was breathing! There was a huge bump, and it was definitely moving right before James’s eyes.

He had no clue what it could possibly be. He knew one thing for sure, though. Whatever it was, it was not there the day before.

James Poked The Grass With His Foot

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

Even though James had no idea what the bubble was, curiosity got the better of him. He moved towards the patch of grass, carefully poking it with his foot. To his astonishment, the patch of grass moved under his foot!

On reflex, James jumped back. He and his wife had no idea what it was.

He Jumped On It

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

Even though it moved under his foot, James was more curious than afraid. He really wanted to know what made the bubble under the grass on his lawn. That’s when he came up with a plan.

He jumped on it! During an interview, James later said it felt like a waterbed.

The Mass Began To Grow

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Jonas Weckschmied/Unsplash
Jonas Weckschmied/Unsplash

James continued to jump on it. And while nothing happened at first, that was about to change. One last jump and James heard a horrible unhinged sound coming from beneath his feet.

All of a sudden, a loud pop filled the air, and the grass beneath James began to grow higher.

Sarah Began Filming Everything

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USA-Reiseblogger/Pixabay
USA-Reiseblogger/Pixabay

James told his wife to hurry and take her phone out to start filming what was happening. The mass under the grass just seemed to be getting bigger and bigger.

They still had no idea what would pop through the ground, but one thing was sure, James was about to burst the bubble.

Tools Got Involved

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

Very hopeful that whatever came out of the ground wasn’t dangerous, James ran to the side of the house to grab an umbrella while Sarah continued to film. Jabbing the mass with the umbrella, nothing happened.

The mass just began to move again. Sarah then joked about snakes coming out of the ground! Sadly, snakes were the least of their worries.

Gardening Tools Were The Next Idea

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

The umbrella was doing nothing but irritating whatever was inside the huge mass. So, James came up with a new plan. He went to his gardening shed and grabbed one of his tools.

He stood on top of the mass yet again, this time, poking at the ground with the sharp tool.

He Finally Pierced The Bubble

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

While the hissing sound began to fade, another loud pop happened, tilting James off-balance. Not long after, the pop James felt a big “whoosh” underneath his feet. He had no idea what was happening underneath him.

Finally, James was able to pierce the strange bubble that had grown in his yard.

Murky Water Erupted From The Bubble

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

After James pierced the large mass in his backyard, an endless stream of gross, murky water erupted. It almost looked like an underground water fountain. James and Sarah had no clue where it came from.

Unfortunately, the water wasn’t the only thing that was going to come out of that mass.

James Noticed Something Else In The Ground

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David Jennings/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images
David Jennings/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

For 15 minutes, the water kept streaming out of the ground. James had never seen anything like it. After the water finally stopped, the couple wasn’t sure what to do.

That’s when James spotted something else in the ground, something that wasn’t there before he burst the bubble from above.

James Spotted A Black Piece Of Plastic

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Jame Callender/YouTube
Jame Callender/YouTube

In the hole, James spotted what looked like a black piece of plastic. Reaching down, he tried to pull it out of the ground. It wouldn’t move. The plastic was really lodged in the ground.

Once again, James had no idea what was in his backyard. But there was little to do while his yard was completely flooded.

The Water Flowed Out Into The Street

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Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

James thought the plastic looked like a garbage bag. There was nothing to do until the water was drained from the yard. So, he watched as a river flowed from his backyard out and onto the street.

It was quite a sight! After the water was gone, James began to come up with a plan.

Digging Around The Plastic Wasn’t Working Either

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Andres Siimon/Unsplash
Andres Siimon/Unsplash

Since the plastic was stuck in the ground, James ran back to his gardening shed and grabbed a shovel. Digging into the grass, James thought he was making some progress.

So, he reached back down to try and pull the object from the ground once again. Still, it didn’t budge.

The Bag Was Way Bigger Than He Thought

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AdinaVoicu/Pixabay
AdinaVoicu/Pixabay

From the looks of it, the plastic looked as though it had been there for years. James was trying to be gentle digging around it, but the object just wasn’t budging.

James was very confused; he dug and followed the plastic bag to the edge of his lawn. Scratching his head, he then made his way down to the other side of the yard and began to dig.

The Plastic Sheet Covered The EntireYard

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STORMI GREENER/Star Tribune via Getty Images
STORMI GREENER/Star Tribune via Getty Images

After realizing the bag was way bigger than he initially anticipated, James walked to the far edge of his yard and began to dig. Maybe there would be some clue as to what the object was.

To his amazement, it looked as though the plastic wasn’t a garbage bag at all but a sheet that covered his entire yard.

James Pierced The Plastic With His Knife

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Andrej Lisakov/Unsplash
Andrej Lisakov/Unsplash

James had no clue why a black tarp would be underneath his entire lawn, but he was surely going to find out! Walking back to his initial dig site, James took his pocket knife out and pierced a part of the plastic.

He wasn’t sure what he was going to find, but a weird smell and wooden planks weren’t on the top of his list.

There Was A Strange Smell And Wooden Planks

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Joshua Newton/Unsplash
Joshua Newton/Unsplash

This Sunday was turning into quite a mystery for James. The last thing he thought would be hidden under their lawn was a black sheet of plastic. And when James went to pierce it, the weird smell and wooden planks just made them more confused.

The strange planks were not in the blueprint of the home when he purchased it decades ago.

Sarah Stared In Disbelief

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Jed Owen/Unsplash
Jed Owen/Unsplash

After James unearthed the planks, he called out to Sarah. Walking outside, she was astonished to see their yard in complete disarray. She was about to start yelling at James about ruining their lawn.

That’s when she caught a whiff of the strange smell and saw what James was staring at.

There Were Door Handles On The Planks

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Antranias/Pixabay
Antranias/Pixabay

The two of them stared at the wooden planks, unsure what to do or think about them. That’s when Sarah spoke, telling James that there seemed to be door handles on the planks.

Startled to see that his wife was correct, James went over and started to bank on the planks.

Neither Had Seen Anything Like It Before

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luzeran/Pixabay
luzeran/Pixabay

During an interview, James recalls asking his wife if there was anything about wooden planks buried underneath the yard in the blueprints to their house. To his astonishment, Sarah had never seen anything like it before in her life.

She was just as in the dark as James. They weren’t going to stop until they figured out the mystery in their garden.

James Got Back To Digging

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Goumbik/Pixabay
Goumbik/Pixabay

James took his shovel and began digging around the planks. He also ripped more of the plastic covering away, trying to clear the space to eventually open the planks.

His mind was racing with different scenarios of what could possibly be under the wood. Was it an old bunker? Or maybe a crypt of some kind?

There Was A Staircase

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reddit
reddit

Finally, James broke through, and the door opened. Underneath the planks of wood was an old staircase that was pretty much falling apart.

Having no clue what was on the other end of the stairs and not willing to walk down, James asked Sarah to hold his ankles while he peered over the side.

It Looked Like A Wine Cellar

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Boxer/Pixabay
Boxer/Pixabay

James grabbed his flashlight and laid down on his stomach. With Sarah holding his ankles, James looked over the side of the hole where the planks of woods used to be.

What James saw shocked him; it looked to be an old wine cellar with some funky-smelling bottles lying around.

Why Was There No Mention Of It On The Blueprint?

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Daniel McCullough/Unsplash
Daniel McCullough/Unsplash

The cellar smelled like sour milk and looked as though it had been buried for quite some time. There were even old bottles on the floor collecting dust. How did the house’s blueprint have zero mention of an underground wine cellar?

Reaching down into the cellar, James grabbed one of the bottles, and his eyes popped out of his head when he read the date.

The Bottle Dated Back To The 20th Century

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Hunt_On_Photos_Studio/Pixabay
Hunt_On_Photos_Studio/Pixabay

The bottle dated back to the early 20th century! And, after some digging (this time in the books!), James and his wife learned that the wine cellar was built without planning permission.

Because the structure was technically illegal, the people who built it had to shut its doors and bury it.

They Still Didn’t Know What The Black Sheet Was For

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Annie Wells/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Annie Wells/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

While the wine cellar made sense, James and Sarah still had no clue what the giant black plastic tarp and the original bubble were. The bubble spewed water and flooded their yard, after all!

After some more research, they learned what everything was and what happened in their yard that Sunday afternoon.

The Tarp Had A Purpose

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Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images

After some research, James and Sarah learned why there was a black plastic sheet under their lawn. It was so the owners who built the illegal structure wouldn’t have to pay a hefty fine to demolish it entirely and re-plant grass in its place.

Instead, they did a little workaround.

The Tarp Created A “New Lawn”

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I do nothing but love/Unsplash
I do nothing but love/Unsplash

Instead of demolishing the structure and re-planting grass, the previous owners decided the lie a black plastic tarp over the entire lawn. This way, they could easily pour soil on top of it and plant grass seeds.

It was the easiest and cheapest way to keep the appearance of the lawn flat.

It Is Called A Lawn Blister

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

They then learned that the bubble that started everything was called a “lawn blister.” This phenomenon typically happens in lawns that have a plastic sheet over the “old” yard.

It’s a rare occurrence, but water can sometimes become trapped between the plastic sheet and the grass, resulting in a bubble or blister.

James Was Never In Danger

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

In James and Sarah’s case, the huge storm the previous night definitely played a part in the excessive amount of water that built up under the plastic. Thankfully, James was in no danger when he was poking, prodding, and jumping on the lawn blister!

The worst thing a blister can do is flood the yard.

A Lawn Blister And An Underground Wine Cellar

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James Callender/YouTube
James Callender/YouTube

What started out as a normal Sunday for James and Sarah turned into a whirlwind of mystery surrounding their home.

Not only did they deal with a rare lawn blister, but they also uncovered a long-lost secret underneath their yard — a wine cellar dating back to the early 20th century!