People have found all sorts of amazing things hidden in their attics or basements. Finding an entire chest, though, is something particularly special. It’s not just the fact that these large containers bring up thoughts of the hidden treasure buried by pirates centuries ago. There’s also the mystery of what could be inside! That was the situation that one Imgur user came upon when he found a mysterious chest in his grandfather’s attic. What was inside was quite unexpected, to say the least…
On one otherwise ordinary, rainy day, an Imgur user named John was in his grandfather’s attic helping his parents clear out some junk. Alongside things that you’d typically find in an attic, like old photos and books, there was a weird wooden box with a medical symbol on it. John just had to take a look inside.
What could it have been? Since John’s grandfather fought in the Pacific theater during World War II, he may have brought some antiques back over to the United States. John also noticed characters that weren’t in English. In fact, they looked to be printed in an Asian language…
Indeed, the box belonged to an enemy Japanese soldier. John knew very little Japanese, so he used the Internet to help him translate the text. He discovered that it said something about natural gas—apparently, it had been used for medical supplies.
John shared his story online and immediately received a lot of attention. All sorts of people started to explain their ideas about what it could have been, including a World War II re-enactor whose specialty was field medicine. He even revealed that the box was dated March 1932, long before the U.S. got involved in the war!
Even Japan didn’t start participating in World War II until September 1940. Infamously, the United States didn’t join the Allied Powers until December 7, 1941, when Japanese armed forces bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
As for the medicine chest, it was a replica from Japan’s Showa Era, which lasted from 1926 to 1989 when the country was ruled by Emperor Hirohito. The box was a squad-level field medical kit, designed to be water- and airtight, so if anything was still in there, it should have been in great condition!
Sure enough, there were several boxes within the medical supply chest that remained perfectly organized as they were stacked together. Each bottle and box of pills inside was labeled with Japanese text that John couldn’t decipher.
Given the recommendations John found on the Internet, he thought it would be a good idea to put the medicine, old as it was, to the test. Needless to say, this was an extremely dangerous move. Who knows? It could have been poisonous!
John went through with testing the stuff anyway, and he began with a small container of some sort of purple liquid. Thankfully, it turned out to only be sugar water, as a translator revealed that the container listed “gum glucose liquid,” simply meant for raising blood sugar.
Most of the other bottles in the first layer of the box contained sodium salicylate, which was a pain reliever that predated aspirin. Other bottles simply contained caffeine, which was not only used to boost energy but to decrease inflammation.
It’s a good thing that he stopped there because the next container contained bromisoval, an over-the-counter Japanese compound that has powerful effects on the nervous system. It’s not only a sedative but sometimes even hypnotic. It was used to treat anxiety at the time, perhaps even for kamikaze pilots.
Another bottle was inscribed with Latin text that read “Liquor novocaine sterilizations,” or novocaine. This powerful substance would have been used for intensive field surgery like bullet removals and perhaps even amputations. There were other supplies, too…
There was a flashlight that would have come in handy for field medics, but by the time John found it, he had to handle it with gloves, as the batteries leaked acid. There was also medical carbon, a mask, and even two small kerosene bottles in the bottom layer of the chest.
John wore his gloves while investigating the intravenous kit that was deep within the box; it was covered in rust, as was the rubber tubing and plunger. There was also a small box in the mix, which contained something similar to adrenaline.
The box was labeled “Digitaminum,” and it contained a medicine called digitalis, which is extracted from foxglove flowers and dates back to the 1700s. It was used to treat arrhythmia, unusual heartbeats, and other heart issues.
Of course, interest in the chest eventually started to fade away. Even the person who helped John translate the labels didn’t seem to be available all that often. Still, John continued exploring the contents—and that’s when he discovered a mysterious note inside the box…
The note was in Japanese, but it translated to “adrenaline, novocaine, atropine.” It was clear that atropine, which had the potential to cause horrifying hallucinations, was still in the box. Why would something like that be in there?
Things became even weirder once John discovered small, empty glass bulbs. Some of the people John had become acquainted with on the Internet suspected they may have been used for cupping therapy, a Chinese practice that involves heated bulbs to promote blood flow by using suction on the skin.
John did some research, and he was disappointed to find that the medicine chest wasn’t actually worth much. The old, expired medicine was basically garbage, but there was something to be said for the fact that they were all in their original containers.
Whatever the case was for the medicine, the chest itself was a genuine antique. More importantly, even if he didn’t make much money off of it, the experience gave him amazing new insight into the life that his own grandfather once lived!
What John saw was so unforgettable that calling his findings priceless would not be an overstatement. His grandfather must have been a fascinating man!