What could go wrong after you bring home a strange rock? When a man found on the beach an odd lump, he knew he had to take it home and add it to his collection. But what he didn’t know was that his house would end up being quarantined! How did this happen and what kind of rock was this?
Steven Whitten would soon get all the answers to these questions and later on, he even learns he just got rich after his discovery!
As he stood there, looking at the men in protective gear walking out if his house, Steven was still staring with his mouth hanging open at the experts, not knowing that to do next. What made that rock so dangerous?
It was spring when Steven Whitten and his wife Viola decided to go for a walk along Middleton Sands. The beach was beautiful, offering an incredible view to the Irish Sea. Plus, it was close to their home in the village of Overton.
Most people that wanted to go for a hike or walk their dogs would choose Middleton Sands. However, Steven and Viola chose a less crowded area to have the place for themselves and relax without other people around.
As they were walking and soaking the view, Steven began noticing a very strange smell in the air. He had no idea that this was the beginning of a very odd adventure that would completely change his life!
Although the air smelled like rotten fish, Steven knew he had never stumbled upon this kind of smell, so he and Viola decided to get closer to the source and learn what it was. That’s when he spotted it…
As they got closer, Steven and Viola spotted the source of the bad smell. It was a grey lump that was smaller than a rugby ball. The rock was indeed emanating the terrible smell, but it looked incredible!
Smooth and shiny from the years that it had been washed by the waves, this wasn’t like other rocks the couple have seen so far. Steven reached out to touch it since his curiosity had piqued by the unusual rock…
“It was like a cross between squid and farmyard manure,” said Steven in a later interview with the media after his story went viral. He had never seen such a thing before, and he pondered what to do with it.
Well, who would take home a very smelly rock? Although it looked amazing, the couple wasn’t exactly excited about taking home this stinky thing. So what did they do?
Steven thought that this was a one of a kind find, so no matter how smelly this rock was, he would take his chances. So, together with Viola, they went home and looked up more info on this rock. What if it was worth some good money?
Viola agreed to wrap the rock in her scarf and together, they went home. As he looked up the origin of this rock, his suspicions ended up being true. This rock was indeed worth quite a lot of money!
After placing the rock on a scale and seeing it was 3.5 pounds, Steven started looking for some information online. He turned to Facebook and posted a photo of the “rock” in a community group. His post instantly went viral!
Soon after posting the photo and details he had about his discovery, Steven saw that his post received hundreds of comments from people that guessed the origin of the rock. Here’s what happened next…
Some people thought this could have been a meteor, while others speculated that maybe it was a volcanic rock that came from the ocean. A meteorologist suggested Steven to use a magnet and see if the lump was indeed a meteor.
The magnet test revealed that the rock was not a meteorite. “It feels like a rock-hard rubber ball, its texture is like wax, like a candle. When you touch it, you get wax sticking to your fingers,” Steven explained. So what was this thing?
The couple was beginning to feel uneasy about this smelly and strange rock. They had no idea whether it was dangerous to have it in the house or not. So he made a quick call, and experts came to solve this mystery.
When the experts approached his house, Steven couldn’t believe his eyes. They were wearing protective suits, and they told him they had to quarantine the house during the investigation. So this is how Steven and Viola ended up waiting outside the house while the experts disposed of the smelly lump.
As the experts were inside and looking at the so-called “rock,” the couple was patiently waiting outside, waiting for an answer about that thing’s origin. The officials came out and delivered the news to the nervous couple…
Steven and Viola were shocked to see how things escalated from a walk to seeing their house quarantined! They had to wait and learn about this rock, and after the officials came out of the house, the couple was in shock!
The officials let the couple know that they hadn’t picked up anything hazardous. They were relieved to know that this was not harmful. In fact, this lump was not exactly a rock, and it was extremely rate! Moreover, it was also worth a lot of money! So what was it called and what was its origin?
It turns out this thing was called ambergris, known for its terrible smell that in time gets sweeter. This substance has actually been used in expensive perfumes and historians recorded that it actually was edible. So what’s its origin?
Ambergris is actually a substance that it is produced in the bile ducts of whales and it is regularly excreted. The by-product is rarely found in nature, which makes it very expensive. So Steven and Viola were in for a treat!
Only sperm whales can produce ambergris, and not all of them are able to produce it. Out of the entire population, only 1% of the sperm whales can produce ambergris, and it takes years to create it. Also, the substance can only be found in the Atlantic Ocean…
In the US and many countries, selling ambergris is illegal. However, in the UK, ambergris is considered to be a waste product. So how much was this smelly lump worth? There was one lucky person that sold his piece for $155,000! Were the Whittens as lucky as that man?
Steven’s ambergris weighed half the size of the $155,000 piece, which made this smelly lump worth $65,000! It’s incredible to know that these people got rich after taking their chances with the strange rock. So what did they do after finding out the value of the ambergris?
In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Steven agreed that if it will indeed sell for that kind of money, they’re planning to buy a static caravan, adding that “It would be a dream come true.”
Maybe the couple’s one of a kind discovery wasn’t going to help them pay a debt or their mortgage, but it was some extra thousands of dollars that they could use to turn their dream into reality. Who would have known a walk on the beach can make you rich?