Woman Finds Hidden Door in Her Home, Discovers a Secret Room Full of Long-Lost Letters behind It
While spring cleaning her house, a woman stumbled upon something extremely unusual. Interestingly, she discovered a secret door that she thought might lead to a treasure trove, but instead, it held something far more valuable.
Many people love the prospect of taking on new challenges and embarking on exciting adventures. You might be familiar with the childhood classic novel "Treasure Island," where a young boy, Jim, searched for buried treasure after finding a treasure map.
Despite the odds, Jim persevered, and the one thing that kept him going was his determination and adventure-loving spirit to accomplish his goal. We might have a Jim hiding in us somewhere deep down, which was true for a Virginia resident.
A LOVELY HOME
Anna Prillaman lived on Monument Avenue in Henrico County, Virginia. Her definition of happiness was relaxing in her Near West End house with her adorable dog, Alfie. Prillaman's sweet home occupied a special place in her heart. She expressed:
"It is like my passion project. When I first saw it I fell in love with it. I care about the house similar to the people I love. I love this place."
Even though she was fond of the place, she didn't know that it hid a vast mystery within — one that would change Prillaman's life most unexpectedly.
A HIDDEN PASSAGE
One day in January 2022, the woman decided to spring clean the house, hoping to see a sparkling clean place as the final product. During the early cleaning round, she stumbled upon a hidden panel that led to a part of the attic.
After chipping through the wall, Sarah revealed she was sure there was a room behind but decided to wait until her husband finished work and returned.
Upon closer look, Prillaman realized it was a door that had no key but was simply latched at the top. Out of sheer curiosity, she decided to go through the door, and it was then that she found a fortune, most probably left behind by the previous owner.
AN INTERESTING FIND
Calling herself "an 80s baby who watched Goonies," Prillaman said she rummaged through the attic, looking to find anything from treasure, a map, gold coins, or even a bag of money. But instead, she came across two boxes containing gems from a bygone era.
It turned out that the boxes were stuffed with hundreds of hand-written letters addressed to a young lady named Betty Sue in Richmond. The correspondence in cursive was a massive throwback to how people communicated in ancient times. Prillaman explained:
"There are no SMHs or OMGs or LOLs. It's full sentences. Grammatically correct sentences. Isn't that funny how that works."
A HEARTWARMING LOVE STORY
A young man, Vance, wrote the letters, and Prillaman said she couldn't help reading them. Per the conversation, Vance was in love with Betty, who he met at John Marshall High School. One of the letters read:
"Hi Honey. How is my Baby getting along? When we're not together I know just the right words that I would use in telling you everything. But when we're together all I can think of is 'I love you.' Vance."
Prillaman, who reportedly came across the love letters seventy years later, expressed she felt like she was invading Betty and Vance's privacy. She also added:
"I think the reason it felt intrusive is that a letter written is between two people and two people only. I thought I'm not sure I need to be the third party that puts my head and my eyes on that because it wasn't meant for me to read."
However, the Virginia woman admitted she couldn't ignore the letters or simply toss them away because the moment she found them, she felt they needed to be in the right hands. What was left then was for Prillaman to figure out a way to find their rightful owner.
SHARING THE STORY ON SOCIAL MEDIA
After much thought, she turned to the modern-day way of interaction — social media. Astonishingly, she was overwhelmed by the response her post received. She described:
"People love the story. Everywhere I go in town people are stopping me like, 'Hey you wrote that post about the letters have you found the family yet?'"
Several days later, Prillaman said she had a lead and contacted someone named Dalton Long, who lived 3,000 miles away in Portland, Oregon. Long told her that he knew Betty and Vance and revealed that they went from writing to each other to getting married.
FINDING THE COUPLE'S FAMILY
Per Long, the couple's marriage lasted for 50 years. He also introduced himself as their grandson. Further, he recalled:
"To me they were 'B' and Pop. But to the rest of the world they were Betty McGhee Long and Vance Herschel Long. To add words to that time in their life is going to be incredible."
The 30-year-old videographer stated he was delighted to find out about the love letters and would forever keep them safe, like his grandparents' many cherished memories and few keepsakes.
Prillaman reciprocated Long's sentiments and said that if she ever found letters from her grandparents, she would sit crying her heart out as she read them. She hoped Long's family would find the same closure once they went through the love notes.
The woman confessed that finding the romantic correspondence reminded her of the times when hand-written letters were considered art and happened to be the only means of communication.
Dalton also extended heartfelt gratitude to Prillaman for finding the letters and going the extra mile to reach out to him. He also said that he couldn't wait to read all of them.
A STRANGE DISCOVERY
Like Prillaman, a couple from Brighton, England, discovered something strange in 2021 while painting their house. Sarah and her husband, Toby King, said they came across a faint doorway outline and knew it led to something more. According to Sarah:
"We were prepping and sanding the walls of the dining room, ready to paint. We took off some lining paper and sanded, which revealed a very faint outline of a doorway. Once we had seen the outline, we couldn't not know."
While Toby worked as a technical support engineer, Sarah decided to dig deeper and unravel the mystery. She said she started chipping away at the surface to find out more and shared the photos with her husband.
A SECRET ROOM
The then-32-year-old woman stated that when she uncovered the lintel, she realized it was not resting on the breeze blocks that blocked the door. The interior designer said she kept her friends and family updated, and they cheered her on while she worked.
After chipping through the wall, Sarah revealed she was sure there was a room behind it but decided to wait until her husband finished work and returned. When Toby came back, the couple witnessed the final discovery together. Sarah added:
"It [the room] was a tiny room with just a pull-out shelf/desk, some knee pads and a car battery. It had electricity to it and believe it or not, hardly any cobwebs and thankfully no spiders."
CHANGING IT INTO A STYLISH BAR
After finding the room, the Kings decided to turn it into a bar area, given that it was situated off the dining room and by the breakfast bar. The couple hoped that the new setting would serve as a special place for hosting guests.
They completed the project themselves for only £45 ( about $55) by mainly using materials they already had. The Kings also transformed their dining room and breakfast bar to make the space more comfortable and spacious. Sarah also expressed:
"We love it! We are so pleased with it and we love the story behind it of uncovering the space."
Indeed, Prillaman and the Brighton couple's remarkable stories show that sometimes, a little wandering might lead us to the most awe-inspiring places filled with intriguing secrets and holding endless adventures waiting to be unraveled.
If you've ever had a similar experience before or liked reading these exciting stories, please share them with your loved ones.