Man's 'grave concern' after ripping up floor
WHEN Tropical Cyclone Debbie destroyed his shed two years ago, Bowen man Tom O'Donnell knew it was only a matter of time before the floors had to be ripped up and the walls torn down.
Not that it mattered however.
A self-confessed amateur archaeologist, digging things up and ripping them apart is among the favourite pastimes of the former security guard.
Which is why it was fitting that it was he of all people who found a 70-year-old gravestone buried beneath the floor.
"A friend came to help me rip the walls off and as I was dragging the timber out I noticed some of the floor was very unstable,” Mr O'Donnell said.
"At first I thought it was a big old marble tile they used in old hospitals and courthouses ... but then I fully uncovered it and realised it was a gravestone and I thought ... 'Oh crap.”
It wasn't hard to predict what his next thought was.
And after several minutes of frantic digging he was able to lay his mind to rest knowing that he hadn't disturbed someone else's.
But the question still begged of how a 60 year old gravestone came to be buried there in the first place.
So he turned to the talents of a local psychic who, through the help of a spirit box and pendulum, detected a spirit that needed to be let free.
But not before sharing his discovery on social media.
"I put it up on social media within the hour and the response was chaotic,” Mr O'Donnell said.
Twenty-four hours (and more than 100 comments) later, a friend put him in touch with the descendants of the mysterious gravestone's owner.
They informed Mr O'Donnell that the headstone had been replaced many years ago in the Proserpine cemetery where the owner still (thankfully) sleeps.
Despite the incident's unique nature, the discovery doesn't even top the list of wacky finds for Mr O'Donnell.
That honour goes to the fossilised wombat tooth, as well an array of antique knives and swords he's managed to dig up over the years.
"This is pretty much on the normal for me,” Mr O'Donnell said.
"Growing up if I saw a piece of metal sticking out of the ground I'd go and dig it out and play archaeologist as a child.”
Mr O'Donnell said he was happy to return the stone to its rightful place.
"I very strongly believe in family history, and if I was to throw it away that would be wrong,” he said.
"I feel morally impelled to give something like that back to the family.”