Construction workers unearthed a dramatic discovery while renovating a 19th century Water Street building last month, leading to a new mystery in Jordan.
Beneath the false floor of the building that abuts Water Street Antiques, workers found a pile of bones. They took photos of the findings and showed them to the antique store owner Kathy Lapic.
"One of my dealers said why don't you go down to Pekarna Meats because they do butchering down there," Lapic said.
Pekarnas inspected the bones and told Lapic and building owner Bob Behnke that the bones appeared to be from cattle or pigs. But the identification of the bones was just the start of the mystery.
"What I can't figure out is why?" antique store employee Katie Johnson said. "Why bones in a false floor? If it was a butcher shop or something you would have a way of disposing all that stuff."
'There's a body buried there'
When Lapic first saw the bones, the images stirred up a series of unusual memories at the store.
"My first thought was about all the things that had happened through the years here," she said. "People would tell us things that were creeping them out."
When Lapic took over the store four years ago, she was told about a back corner of the building, directly across from where the bones were discovered on the other side of the wall.
"A couple of the dealers that had that space back there were a little uncomfortable with it," Lapic said.
A year later a customer approached Lapic and told her there was something "weird" about the corner space, and that it felt "funny or wrong."
"He went and found his girlfriend and asked her to come to see if she'd experience anything and he said she wouldn't even go into the space," Lapic said.
One customer told shop employee Katie Johnson she picked up on a "weird feeling" in the store and that she felt like she was going to black out when she first entered the building.
"She took me back and it was the same space the young couple (identified). She said she's really sensitive to that stuff," Johnson said.
After hearing a few accounts, Lapic asked a frequent customer who purchases religious items if he ever noticed something about the corner. After he admitted he'd felt something in the past, Lapic asked him to walk around the vacant building where the bones were discovered.
"He came out and said there is something in the far corner of that building," Lapic said. After she revealed the basement has a dirt floor, the customer spoke up again.
"He said 'there's a body buried there ... I can't tell you if it's human, but there is something buried there,'" Lapic said.
The building has been empty for about a decade, Lapic said. In the past, however, it was occupied by the Red and White Grocery Store.
"But I just had cold meat. I didn't have fresh meat," former grocery store owner Faye Leibrand said.
Leibrand was baffled by the mystery too, since there was no butchering done in her store. She remembers the space was used as a hat shop prior to the grocery store moving in.
"They lived in the back," she said. "They had their hat shop in the front."
After the grocery store closed in 1967, Leibrand said it was used as a youth gathering place. Like most buildings on Water Street, countless businesses have filtered in and out of the space over the past 150 years.
And recent history, unfortunately, hasn't provided any promising leads.
"It's all very odd," Johnson said. "Another Jordan mystery, I suppose."