LANSING, Mich. — Have you ever cleaned out a house and found a torpedo tucked deep in a closet?
Didn't think so.
A Lansing woman cannot respond by saying, 'No," when asked that question because it happened to her this past weekend.
Something that many expected to be explosive actually turned out to be quite expensive.
On Saturday, Oct. 23, Melody Atwood and her sister were at her aunt's Lansing-area home cleaning it out.
"My aunt has dementia and we've moved her into a nursing home where she will be from now on," Melody said. "The lady was a collector."
While Melody was collecting items downstairs, her sister was upstairs working inside a bedroom closet.
"She called down to me and said, 'Mel, we got a problem,'" Melody said.
Melody said she made her way upstairs, was escorted by her sister to the closet, and asked to look inside.
"Tucked way in the back was what looked like a torpedo," said Melody.
The ladies didn't touch it and immediately called Lansing Police, who raced to the home. The officer examined the item closely then told the ladies it was in fact a torpedo from World War I.
"The police didn't know if the mortar shell was live or not so they called the Bomb Squad in and asked us to leave the home," Melody said.
The Michigan State Police Bomb Squad managed to get the torpedo out of the home and took it back with them for further inspection.
"They photographed and did x-rays of it," Melody said. "Later Saturday evening, MSP called me back and said, 'You won't believe what's inside [of the mortar].'"
The MSP Lieutenant told Melody that instead of finding gunpowder or any other kind of explosive charge, they discovered a massive stash of cash, which he brought back and gave to Melody later that same evening.
'Shell' shocked: Lansing woman discovers WWI torpedo serving as a 'Bomb Bank'
"There were several Silver Certificate banknotes, many dating back to the early 1900s," Melody said. "Many silver dollars, Buffalo Nickels and old dimes."
A couple of the Morgan Dollars that were inside of Melody's newly-found 'Torpedo Treasure' were dated as far back as the 1880s.
"I've seen old money before, but nothing like this," added Melody. "It's just fun looking at it all."
Melody says she's hoping to connect soon with a coin buyer who can offer an honest appraisal of her collection.
Her plan, she hopes, is to sell it to help pay for her aunt's nursing home expenses.
"I think the moral of this story is while cleaning out old homes, be patient and always look in dark places," Melody said.
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