Moving to a new home can be pretty exciting. You get to meet new people, explore a new neighborhood and make new memories. Sometimes, moving into someone’s old home can come with hidden secrets. Secrets that were meant to be kept beneath the surface forever.
As they pushed the bushes and branches aside, they realized that it didn’t matter how hard they pushed, they weren’t getting through. It was as if mother nature wanted to keep them out. The thorns and twigs dug deep, stinging and burning their hands. Eventually, they were able to clear everything out, but they never expected what happened next.
Ken Zwick didn’t exactly jump at the opportunity to take the new job offer. Alongside his wife, Carol, they weighed out their options. They would have to move to a brand new city, leaving their family home behind. They had put a lot of work in creating a loving home for their children, so for obvious reasons, they were a bit hesitant to leave it. But they couldn’t continue to avoid change, either.
Carol and Ken knew that it wasn’t going to be easy explaining to their children that they were making a drastic change. They were going to have to say farewell to everything that they had spent many years building. They were about to face their three young children. They assumed that the kids would be shocked at first, but it would be a pretty smooth transition, but they never could have expected the impact that the move would have on all of them.
Ken couldn’t wait forever to accept the job offer, especially since it paid more, and there were three kids that he needed to get through college. They would understand one day. And even though they put up a fight, Ken asked them to try to see the bigger scheme of things. They would still be able to see their friends, but this move would help guarantee a college education. Unfortunately, Ken underestimated how difficult things would be.
The Zwick family packed up everything they owned and waved goodbye to their home in New Jersey. They would soon find adventure in Neenah, Wisconsin. They were able to find the perfect home in a quiet neighborhood, complete with a massive garden. The owner offered to settle for less than value. The Zwicks took it as a sign, but years later they would find out why they were given such a generous offer.
All of a sudden, Carol’s days were chaotic. Every morning, she would get the kids ready and bring them to school. Then, she would clean up the house, go grocery shopping, pick up the kids and drop them off at one of their activities. Finally, she would make dinner and then rush to pick the kids up again. Time was flying by, and Carol rarely had time for herself. Then, Carol’s daughter found something unusual.
Mother Nature has the incredible ability to take back what was once hers. After humans stop caring for something, Mother Nature swoops in and takes back her claim. The Zwicks would soon realize that Mother Nature is extremely good at playing hide-and-seek.
Carol’s home was always active. Often, her kid’s friends would spend the weekends at Carol’s house, playing hide and seek outside. One day, the kids returned home with a discovery! Under layers of plants and wood, there was a hidden steel latch. How were they just hearing about this? What was down there? Carol would soon find out that her husband was hiding something, as well.
Carol’s husband wasn’t surprised when she told him about the strange latch. Actually, he laughed about it and said, “How have you only noticed that thing now?” Ken had learned about the garden’s storage cellar when they finalized the sale. It didn’t bother him, so he signed the papers. He knew that it would take a lot of effort to get that hatch open, and it wasn’t like they needed the space. But Carol had different plans.
Carol went to investigate the door on her own. She realized that even if she could get through the overgrown greenery, there was no way that she was going to be able to open that door. Ken just didn’t have the time to help her, and they couldn’t afford to hire someone, so Carol told the kids to stay away. Ken promised to help when he could, but the universe had something different in mind.
Ken’s new job was going great and he was excelling. Soon enough, Carol was going to bed alone and waking up the same way. Ken wanted his children to have a nice future, so he worked and he worked. Before they even knew it, the years had passed and they were celebrating their ten year anniversary in Neenah. Since the kids were more independent, Carol had a lot more time on her hands, but she couldn’t stop thinking about the latch. All of a sudden, the unimaginable occurred!
It took ten years in Wisconsin, but Ken finally suggested opening the hatch. Carol couldn’t believe it. She had spent years begging him to help and he was finally agreeing! Carol just knew something good had to be down there, and she was excited to find out what it was. Ken figured they’d only find rust and dirt. But in the end, they would both be surprised.
You never know what’s hidden inside of a home that was previously owned by another person. Take this brother and sister, for example. After moving into a new home, these siblings found an old box full of letters. These letters were from a soldier in love during World War I. After a bit of investigating, they were able to return the letters to their rightful owner, and her husband, the soldier. Would this family find love letters from the past, or would they discover something else entirely?
Carol and Ken got to work on taking down the enormous bush that was hiding the entrance to the hidden room. Out of all of the places the bush could have grown, it chose to grow right over the hatch. They spent hours breaking, pulling, and snipping leaves and vines, but the managed to clear away enough of the plant. They were finally able to grab the latch. As they pulled on the heavy metal, they realized it wasn’t going to be easy. Was it a storm shelter? The couple was shocked when they finally got it open.
The entire chamber was flooded with water. Using flashlights, they crouched down to look inside. Unfortunately, the water was way too dirty to see anything at all. The couple ran to get hoses to attempt to drain out all of the water. Finally, they were able to climb into the chamber, only to discover that it wasn’t empty.
Ken and Carol looked around the dark chamber. They quickly understood that it most definitely wasn’t a storm shelter. Not only did the chamber have a telephone line, but it also had electricity and the necessary ventilation system to properly circulate the air. The couple realized that they were standing inside of a fallout bunker. This was a safe place to go in the event of a nuclear explosion, but there were even more treasures to explore.
The bunker also had lanterns, folding toilets, and bunk beds. There was also enough food supplies to last a family for many weeks. The couple began to look through the tin boxes and shelves, and they discovered even more supplies! That’s when the couple found an ammunition box.
Old ammunition can still pack quite the punch, just ask the homeowners who moved onto an old bomb range in Orlando, Florida. The government ended up paying $10 million to clean up LIVE bombs out of people’s backyards. And even though they did their best, there’s still a chance that there are more bombs out there. Was this family about to find out that they had been living on top of something dangerous for the past ten years?
Ken and Carol went to the surface to investigate the tins. The contents gave the couple a peek into the typical grocery list of the 1960s – chocolate chip cookies, Flavor Kist Saltines, and Kellogg’s Cornflakes. On the other hand, there was one box the couple was afraid to open. They were unsure of what was inside, so they called the Bureau of Firearms and Explosives. Soon enough, a special team was standing at their front door to look at the box. Not one person expected to find this, though.
Luckily, this particular box was completely harmless. Even though they made the proper precautions, there was only Hawaiian Punch in the box! They also found a Geiger counter, which was used to measure and detect ionizing radiation. The couple also found first aid supplies and hunting equipment. It appeared that the previous owner was well prepared! But who created all of this?
The house that they lived in was built in 1951 by a physician named Frank Pansch. As it turns out, the fallout shelter was constructed in 1960. But why did Pansch feel that he needed to build a safe hiding spot in the garden of this home? The Cold War was at its peak during this time, and Pansch was concerned about the future. Not long after he completed his shelter, Pansch learned that all of his precautions were needed.
Pansch knew that he needed to be careful after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. But most likely, Neenah wasn’t going to be targeted by the Soviet’s nuclear weapons. The Soviets would be more likely to hit a bigger city like Chicago or Minneapolis, which put Neenah in the fallout area. So Pansch wanted to make sure that his family was protected. After years of waiting, Carol finally had her answers.
“It’s interesting that you can open up something and find 1960 inside of it,” explained Carol. They were tempted to keep their findings a secret, but they decided to share the fallout shelter with the Neenah Historical Society. The fallout shelter became an attraction for the whole town to experience, and it only took Carol ten years of begging her husband to find! What would he learn from this?
This story just goes to show that you never know what’s hidden beneath the surface. This is why it’s so important to explore whenever you get the chance. Go for hikes. Go to new places and meet new people. There’s adventure around every corner, you just have to look for it!