The Mysterious Ancient Gold Necklace found in coal: Out-of-place Artifacts (OOPArt)

It is a known fact that coal is formed over thousands of years from fallen timber that has been charred and undergone immense pressure for many years beneath many tons of earth. A lump of coal therefore, by the simple nature of its own creation, is very ancient stuff. There is quite literally, no such thing as ‘new coal’. Yet one morning in June of 1891, a Mrs. S. W. Culp, of Morrisonville, Illinois was fragmenting coal into smaller pieces for her kitchen stove when she noticed that one of the lumps she had broken apart had a chain necklace stuck in it. The chain measured about 10 inches long and was later found to be made of eight-carat gold.

Unfortunately no photograph exists of the necklace and its whereabouts is presently unknown, however, the actual event is quite well documented.

As accounted by ‘the Morrisonville Times’ of June 11, 1891, investigators concluded that the chain, which was described as being "of antique and quaint workmanship" had not simply been accidentally dropped in with the coal by a worker, since an examination of the item clearly displayed some hard fragments of the coal that still clung on to the links of the chain, while the part of the coal that had broken apart also still bore the distinct impression of where the chain had been encased in it. The reporter of the day described it in this way:

"Mrs. Culp thought the chain had been dropped accidentally in the coal, but as she undertook to lift the chain up, the idea of its having been recently dropped was shown to be fallacious, for as the lump of coal broke, it separated almost in the middle, and the circular position of the chain placed the two ends near to each other; and as the lumps separated, the middle of the chain became loosened while each end remained fastened to the coal....."

How did a finely wrought gold chain come to be firmly encased in a lump of coal, an object that’s very existence requires it to be many thousands of years old? Obviously the chain wasn’t lost too recently.

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