A Mysterious Box In Grandfather’s Attic Unlocked A 200 Year-Old Secret.

When was the last time you cleaned out your attic? Most of the storage spaces in our homes are filled with pretty uninspiring things: Dusty decorations, suitcases, maybe an unused piece of furniture or two. The longer you live in a place, the more you collect — which is why our grandparent's places are treasure troves of ancient artifacts — some more so than others.

Take, for instance, the case of the Lopez family. For years, the Lopez grandchildren heard what they thought were tall tales from their grandfather, stories of his own father taking to the briny seas to find pirate's treasure. They assumed he was making it all up, until one day, they found something peculiar in his attic. What it was is truly mind-blowing, and will make you reconsider every seemingly far-fetched story that your granddad has ever told you. Sure, there might be figurative treasure in your family attic — but sometimes, that treasure is realer than you could have ever imagined.

A few weeks ago, the Lopez family decide to clean their grandfather's attic.

They expected to find some memories of the past, but they couldn’t have bargained for what they stumbled upon.

A few weeks ago, the Lopez family decide to clean their grandfather's attic.

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But to understand this story, you need a bit of context.

When they were children, the grandfather would tell them stories about his father, Ernesto Lopez. According to him, Ernesto had found the pirate Jose Gaspar’s treasure in the Hillsborough River.

But to understand this story, you need a bit of context.

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They'd always dismissed it as legend — until they found a box in the attic.

Jose Gaspar was a notorious (and very real) Spanish pirate. Though they knew he was an actual person, they could have never assumed their great-grandfather got ahold of his treasure — but then recently, they found the box.

They'd always dismissed it as legend -- until they found a box in the attic.

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So what was inside?

For starters, they found a crude map of Tampa, likely drawn years ago.

So what was inside?

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Here's a drawing of Jose Gaspar, taken from a 1900 brochure.

But the unearthed treasures were about to get even better.

Here's a drawing of Jose Gaspar, taken from a 1900 brochure.

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Yup: They found old Portuguese and Spanish coins, likely from the 1700s.

Visits to numerous antique stores in the area revealed that these coins are the real deal.

Yup: They found old Portuguese and Spanish coins, likely from the 1700s.

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Finding real, centuries-old treasure is exciting in and of itself.

But what’s that at the top of the box? Could it be what it actually looks like?

Finding real, centuries-old treasure is exciting in and of itself.

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That's right, it's a preserved human hand wearing a ring.

Why their great-grandfather would keep that, they may never know.

That's right, it's a preserved human hand wearing a ring.

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The Lopez family is still trying to make sense of it all.

“Either my great-grandfather made the best, most elaborate pirate hoax ever and never shared it with anyone or he really did find some treasure on the Hillsborough River. There’s really no way to know which is the case,” Maria Lopez said in an interview.

The Lopez family is still trying to make sense of it all.

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No matter the truth, it's a pretty amazing thing to find in an attic.

It also reminds us all that you never know what might be hiding in storage — so don’t just assume it’s all dusty Christmas decorations. You could be sitting on a literal treasure!

No matter the truth, it's a pretty amazing thing to find in an attic.

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