This boy thought he was going out on the water for a normal day of fishing, but that wasn’t quite the case. His uncle heard someone yelling, so naturally, he turned to see what was going on. He was surprised to see that the fishing rod had already appeared to have caught something! It was bending in the way that always indicated there was something on the other end.
Catch Of The Day
The man noticed his nephew was struggling and tried to rush over to help him, but neither of them was expecting this to come attached to the hook. When he pulled the line out of the water, he was greeted with some sort of leathery bag, completely soaked with water. It was clear as day that this was not the fish he thought he’d caught.
Fishing With The Boys
Brodie Brooks, who was just 11 years old at the time, could not have been more excited to spend the day out on the water trying to catch some fish. He just celebrated his birthday, where he was gifted with a brand new fishing rod, and he couldn’t wait to put it to good use.
Out On The Lake
Of course, nobody who was joining Brodie on this fishing trip thought anything out of the ordinary would be going on during their adventure. They all went fishing together quite often and thought this would be just like any other day out on the lake, but when they found this purse, they knew their day wouldn’t be normal.
The guys took a journey out to Lake Hartwell in Anderson County in South Carolina, their favorite spot to go fishing, in hopes of finding their biggest fish ever today. When they arrived, they took their boat out to the water as usual and set everything up. They didn’t think anything weird would happen today.
While they waited for someone to get their first bite from a fish, they exchanged friendly jokes with one another, as they liked to do. They weren’t really expecting to get any catches today, let alone did they think they would be calling the police because of what they caught.
Getting A Bite
Ben Myers was the man that was closely watching over Brodie and keeping him safe on their fishing excursion. Ben was the one who taught Brodie how to fish, specifically, how to use his brand new fishing rod for the very first time. Despite this, Ben secretly was not intending for Brodie to actually be able to catch anything yet!
From Astonishment To Fear
Ben was shocked yet beyond excited when he heard Brodie start to yell that he had caught onto something! He ran over to help him reel in his best catch yet, but both of them were left speechless when they realized what exactly Brodie had caught. Their excitement and anticipation quickly turned to fear and confusion.
A Big Catch
“I felt like it was a big fish because it was bobbing my rod up and down,” Brodie exclaimed. He said, very clearly, that he remembers the day that it happened as if it were yesterday, “I’d just gotten an Ugly Stik, so I was scared I was gonna break my rod.”
But What Was It?
“…I was scared the line was going to snap.” When Brodie finished reeling in what he thought at first was just a gigantic fish, he pulled the bag out of the water and shrieked when he looked inside. He had no idea what to do with what he’d just found, so he yelled for Ben to come to help him immediately.
After Ben lifted the purse up and took a look at it, he could tell it was quite old. He couldn’t tell just from looking at the outside just how old it really was, though. He decided to open it and see what exactly was hiding inside, and a piece of the inner lining of the bag was able to give him some clues.
In Good Shape
Despite the fact that this brown leather bag was muddy and had signs of wear and tear from being in the water for so long, the bag was actually in surprisingly good condition. When they decided to open up the bag to do some searching, they found some interesting items. Most of the items left in the bag weren’t able to be recognized due to deterioration, but there was one item inside of the bag that left Ben absolutely dumbfounded.
At first, eleven-year-old Brodie was beyond disappointed that he didn’t actually catch the giant fish he thought he did. He said that it felt exactly like a fish because it was bobbing up and down on the rod; he had no doubt in his mind that it was anything else. He was so excited, but he also felt scared because he thought his rod might break from the weight!
What Was Inside
The two guys were so surprised by some of the contents that were found inside of this mysterious purse. One of the first handfuls of things that Ben and Brodie extracted from the bag were old photos. Just from looking at them, they couldn’t even begin to guess who this bag belonged to.
A Bag Full Of Things
They kept sifting through all of these soaking wet items trying to figure out who this bag might belong to. Some of the items that they stumbled upon were old lipsticks, photographs, a wallet, a set of keys, cash, and even some credit cards. The owner of this purse sure liked to keep a lot in there.
First Time For Everything
Ben said when asked about it, “We might catch a can here or something like that. But as far as a woman’s purse, that’s a first for me,” and he continued, “I’ve been fishing on this lake all my life, and that’s the first time I saw something be caught like this.”
A Familiar Face
When the guys got back to the shore and started re-emptying the contents of the purse, they noticed something that they didn’t happen to notice before. Ben thought that he actually recognized someone in one of the photos! Could this be the owner of the purse that he knew? What are the chances of that happening?
He knew after looking at the photograph for a minute or two that he definitely knew her from his childhood, but he couldn’t quite place his finger on where he knew her from. After sitting and thinking about it for a few minutes, something clicked in his head. He went to school with her nephew! He hadn’t seen this woman in over 10 years, so it was interesting that he could recognize her so easily.
He was trying to wrap his head around what was happening here. He commented, “You fish up a purse for one, then you actually know whose it was. It was crazy.” Fishing up a purse is weird enough, but imagine how much weirder it was that he knew who it belonged to!
In Remarkable Shape
Despite the fact that these objects just spent years living 30 feet submerged in water, they were still in spectacular shape. When Ben was sifting through the bag to look for clues to see who it could belong to, he discovered store cards, tubes of lipstick, and a teasing comb.
Even though some of his questions had been answered, he still had a few, like where was the actual owner of the purse, how long had this bag been here, and how did it get to the bottom of the water, to begin with? There were many unanswered questions that needed to be addressed.
One of the main artifacts found inside the purse was a whole bunch of photos that had clearly been taken a long time ago. Even though the photos were old and had been in the water for so many years, they were still in great condition.
Impossible To Know
Even with all of these old photos and objects lying in the purse, they still could not really figure out who the bag belonged to–that is–until they opened up one compartment of the bag that had all of the answers they needed. They were able to see where the bag owner attended university and which state she lived in.
There was another group of photos found in the purse, but these ones were more solidly stuck together. Ben and Brodie tried to separate them to the best of their ability, but they had to be very careful. After separating all of the photos, they laid them out flat on the table to let them dry off. It was this one specific photo that caught the attention of both of them.
They Rang The Authorities
They saw a very familiar face in one of the photos, which was something they were definitely not expecting. The two of them yelled out in surprise and looked at each other, knowing it was time to get the police involved in this situation. Ben took out his phone to dial 911 immediately.
Ben knew for a fact that he knew who this woman was, and Brodie also thought that she looked familiar, as if he had seen her somewhere before. Ben explained to ABC News, “She was a friend of the family. I went to school with her nephew, but I haven’t seen her in ten years.”
How exactly did this woman’s purse get to the lake in the first place? How long has it been sitting in this murky water? The more Ben thought about it, the more nervous it made him that he may be tampering with evidence of some sort. If this turned out to be a criminal case, he could get in trouble.
Finding The Woman
Ben reported his purse finding to the police, and after this, he decided to take to Facebook to look for a relative to the owner of the bag. Not to his surprise, he found the woman’s nephew. When he reached out, the nephew was quite surprised that someone had found the bag so long after it had been lost!
Right after the nephew heard from Ben, you can imagine that he reached out to his aunt right away! We are sure you can only begin to imagine the surprise that this woman was feeling when her nephew called her. She thought that he was just joking around at first!
The Purse’s Owner
49-year-old April Bolt was the discovered owner of this long-lost purse. She was so excited to claim her belongings, but at the same time, she couldn’t believe it was real. In an interview, she said, “I couldn’t believe it. I was lost for words. You never think you’d see it again.”
The Test Of Time
Can you believe that she lost this purse all the way back in 1992? The bag was submerged in 30-feet deep water for 27 years! That is a really long time, and the fact that the bag was in such perfect condition was remarkable. The most fascinating part is that the photos that were made of paper didn’t even fall apart!
The purse was zippered closed, and even the contents inside of it were in their own little compartments, so despite the fact that the bag had been at the bottom of a very deep lake for quite some time now, not as much water got in to destroy these items as you’d think.
There was much more to this story, though. For one, April said that her purse went missing in a suspicious circumstance. What did she really mean by this? Ben and Brodie were a bit freaked out by this, and they didn’t know what to make of the comment. They figured she had accidentally tipped it over her boat or something of this sort.
April and her family attended a cookout at Lake Hartwell in 1992. She went on to say, “We were on the boat and my parents had a condo there and we were grilling burgers and we parked the boat in the slip.” What happened next?
My Bag Is Gone!
“…There were two guys there fishing and – I hate to accuse anybody – but when we got back I was like, ‘My pocketbook is gone!’” It only made sense to April that they were the reason her pocketbook was missing. After all, there was no one else around, so who else possibly could’ve taken it?
April recalled feeling more upset than ever before when this happened. “I was crying… It wasn’t a whole lot of cash – maybe like $60. But a woman fits her whole life in her purse. It was devastating,” she explained. Thinking about having to replace your credit cards is a stressful enough thought, but imagine replacing your entire purse.
It was actually the little things that you wouldn’t think someone would be caught up on, that April said she missed the most when her bag went missing. She continued, “My favorite lipstick was in there and the color was discontinued.” Though this lipstick looks just as pretty as it probably did 27 years ago, we don’t recommend that she puts it on her lips!
What Was Hiding In There?
At the end of the day, it wasn’t the money or the cosmetics that April was most upset about losing. There was something inside of her purse that she felt a deep connection to and couldn’t stand the thought of never seeing again. What was it?
One of the items that April cherished the most in her purse was a few baby photos of her son. Back in 1992 photos were not digitized like they are today, and it wasn’t just as easy as printing out a new copy. Many times people had one copy of a photo and if they lost it there was nothing to do about it, which is why these photos were so cherished.
A very teary-eyed April explained, “My son is 26 now, but he was 15 months then, and I had all his photos that were professionally taken in my wallet. They have water damage but you can still make him out.”
When Ben and Brodie got approached to give their side of the story from this bizarre day, they said that they’re still processing what happened. Ben explained to ABC News, “It was pretty wild,” and he added, “You fish up a purse – for one – then you actually know whose it was…”
Not As Thrilled
Brodie didn’t find it quite as thrilling to have caught some random old purse instead of a giant fish as he had hoped he was catching at the time. He’s only 11 years old, after all, so we can’t really blame him for feeling this way; he was so excited and then let down by what was really waiting for him. We bet he still felt pretty good returning such a beloved possession to someone, though.
There was no hiding Brodie’s disappointment as he locked eyes with this leather purse instead of a live fish, but what was he going to do? Instead of getting frustrated with Brodie, Ben took his reaction with a grain of salt. Ben said that when he saw what happened, “I told him, ‘You ain’t got no fish, you got a treasure!’”
Over 2 Decades
Losing such a valuable and personal item is never easy, and we can’t even begin to imagine how April felt on the inside after being reunited with her purse after it had been mysteriously missing for 27 years! We bet she was over the moon with excitement.
April explained very excitedly that when her purse was found and returned it “meant the world to her,” but this doesn’t change the fact that April still has a list of unanswered questions that she has looming around her head. Since it had been nearly 30 years since her bag went missing, April sort of just assumed she would never see her bag again.
Before anything else, let’s take a step back and examen this situation. Was it a true story that April’s purse was stolen? Perhaps it really had just gone overboard and she didn’t realize. After all, why would someone steal her purse and then dump it back into the same lake that they had just stolen it from, still full of personal items?
Who Stole It?
If it really was stolen, April really wondered who possibly would have stolen it. It was a nice bag, but not something so worthy of stealing, let alone stealing and then dumping into the lake shortly after! She knew she would likely never know who did this to her bag, but she still wondered.
April couldn’t help but think about why this bag ended up making its way back to her after so many years. April strongly believed that the universe, something bigger than her, had a reason to be bringing this bag back into her life after 27 years, but she just didn’t know why that could be.
“Everyone keeps telling me, ‘There’s got to be a meaning to why you’re finding this so many years later,’” she stated. “I’m sure God will reveal that in time.” Until she gets a bigger sign from the world as to why her purse was suddenly delivered to her, she promised herself she wouldn’t think about it too much, but rather, she’d enjoy these memories she thought she would never see again. She ended with, “It’s just so precious to have it back.”
Since April’s son was just a young child, a baby, when these photos were taken, we bet he had never even seen them before. We can’t begin to imagine how excited he must have been to be able to look at photos of himself as a baby. Who do you think was more thrilled, April or her son?