Yet another instance of a strange discovery coming to us from the distant past. This time it involves a gold chain being found in a lump of coal believed to be 260-320 million years old. The story was first told by The Morrisonville Times on June 11, 1891. The paper said:

   A curious find was brought to light by Mrs. S. W. Culp last Tuesday morning. As she was breaking a lump of coal preparatory to putting it in the scuttle, she discovered, as the lump fell apart, embedded in a circular shape a small gold chain about ten inches in length of antique and quaint workmanship. At first Mrs. Culp thought the chain had been dropped accidentally in the coal, but as she undertook to lift the chain up, the idea of its having been recently dropped was at once made fallacious, for as the lump of coal broke it separated almost in the middle, and the circular position of the chain placed the two ends near to each other, and as the lump separated, the middle of the chain became loosened while each end remained fastened to the coal. This is a study for the students of archaeology who love to puzzle their brains over the geological construction of the earth from whose ancient depth the curious is always dropping out. The lump of coal from which this chain was taken is supposed to come from the Taylorville or Pana mines [southern Illinois] and almost hushes one's breath with mystery when it is thought for how many long ages the earth has been forming strata after strata which hid the golden links from view. The chain was an eight-carat gold and weighed eight penny-weights.

   The chain was passed on to an unknown family member after Mrs. Culp's death in 1959 and can not be traced. This leaves us with little conclusions since the object in question is no longer around to have modern verification. There's a strong tendency to disbelieve what comes to us before the late 20th century and our material minds require proof, although, even if it were provable, the geologists would find any excuse to dismiss the gold chain artifact as a forgery and would forget about it with a loud hush. So all we have is an ancient news article telling about an even more ancient mystery. If we're lucky, the chain's present possessor will come forth as the artifact gains more fame - providing us with a look into the distant past.

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