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Man Thinks he Found a Stone – But Then he Found Out What it Really Was

Steven Whitten certainly hadn’t been thinking of bad that day when he went for a walk on the beach. Just a stone’s throw away from home, he took a leisurely run with his wife Viola. Suddenly, however, something caught his eye that caught his attention.

It was a rather strange looking stone, which the elderly gentleman picked up and took home. At that time, too, the good citizen had no idea that some time later he would find a special task force in his garden and that his house would be completely quarantined.

A Strange Smell

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Usually Steven and Viola Whitten preferred to walk in areas that weren’t too busy. However, this could not really be said of her favorite spot, the Middleton Sands in Lancashire, England. This place is usually very heavily frequented by various people who go for a walk there or take their dogs out.

Despite everything, the couple took heart again and visited the endless, wide sand dunes for a regular run. After some time, however, both of them got a very distinctive smell, which both had never noticed before. What could that be?

A Strange Stone

After looking around for a while, the couple noticed a strange-looking stone that was not much larger than a rugby ball. Obviously, this strange smell, which smelled like a kind of cross between “farm dung and squid”, came from this strange stone.

Steven wondered if that find might be something very special. Maybe it was even valuable? He and his wife Viola had always dreamed of stumbling upon gold one day on the beach, with which they wanted to fulfill their lifelong dream in the form of a mobile home. Could it possibly be a special treasure?

Take away or leave?

At first, the couple was a little unsure whether it would be wise to even touch this strange smelly stone, let alone take it home. In the end, Steven wanted to get to the bottom of the whole thing and find out what had “drawn ashore” the two of them during their regular walks.

But if you don’t dare, you won’t win! That’s what Steven said to himself and carefully wrapped the stone in Viola’s scarf to be absolutely sure that it would arrive home safe and sound. Once they got there, Steven decided to begin an extensive investigation and research to determine as soon as possible whether the curious find was indeed of greater value.


In the last few days that Steven is free, the origin of the strange stone is given. He even posted a public ad on Facebook with our friends and public friends asking if they knew a specific answer to the origin of the stone.

In the last few days there have been, although all possible and ideas, however different from these. A magnet test can completely remove that this stone should be gold. There was also no other connection to iron. But Steven didn’t give up hope and turned to an expert.

No Clear Results

After no one could provide a hot lead on the origin of the 3.5 pound stone and it wasn’t a meteor or volcanic rock, Steven made a few calls. By now he wasn’t sure if it was something very dangerous.

After he had described the property in more detail and contacted experts, they soon came to see him in his home. Could these men finally provide the decisive clue? Could Steven and his wife be in great danger? It could no longer be acceptable that nobody really could say anything exactly.


After two officers had finally arrived at Steven’s house, they didn’t waste much time and cordoned off the whole house. Then they went in to examine the mysterious object and dispose of it immediately if necessary. Steven and Viola were shocked by the precautionary measures and hoped they hadn’t made a fatal mistake by taking the stone with them.

While the two were waiting outside their own house, they received instructions from the officers, who were still in the process of analyzing the mysterious object. And so Steven and Viola’s discovery ended up in a box on their dining room table, where it was explicitly examined again.


Did the officials deliberately make it so exciting, was there something quite astonishing to expect or was there really danger ahead? Steven and his wife Viola had a thousand questions when they had to wait outside their house for some time. Could it have been a highly toxic or radioactive element?

Had they possibly even risked their domestic situation and, even worse, both their lives by taking it with them? Was there possibly already radioactive radiation inside their house? Would they ever be allowed to enter their house again? The agonizing uncertainty cost them endless nerves and patience. But what happened then?


Photo by H Shaw on Unsplash

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, the officers came back outside to finally explain to Steven and Viola what they had brought home from the beach. The expression on the officers’ faces spoke a clear language. At least that is what it seemed to the worried couple at that moment.

But when the officers finally came out with the message that the stinking something was not dangerous, the couple could finally breathe again after hours of fear and paranoia. What an unspeakable feeling of relief it was to have the certainty of not having done anything reckless. But that still did not answer all questions completely…

What was it then?

But also the final question, what it was, should no longer remain open. This strangely musty lump was in fact a piece of ambergris, a very rare substance that comes from the bile of sperm whales. This substance has been used as an ingredient in perfumes for many hundreds of years.

Since only about 1% of all sperm whales possess this substance, it is extremely rare and therefore valuable. In addition, an international ban on whaling was imposed in the eighties, and ambergris had become even more valuable since then. In the past, however, it was tapped off en masse. Unfortunately, however, significantly more whales died as a result.

Rare Excretion of Sperm Whales

Photo by Dorothea OLDANI on Unsplash

Another factor why this substance is so incredibly valuable is the fact that it takes years to complete the production process. And although there are sperm whales in almost all 7 oceans, the largest distribution is mainly in the Atlantic Ocean. Why this is so, is still unclear today.

The trade with the rare substance ambergris is punishable in many countries, including the United States. However, this does not change the fact that there are many smugglers worldwide who regularly enrich themselves with this substance through illegal whaling and sell it at a high price.
In Great Britain, on the other hand, the product is much more likely to be regarded as waste.

Proud Finder

But this so-called “waste” from the ocean is still quite valuable. Steven and Viola still could not quite believe that they had actually succeeded in discovering such a rare substance. Now, after all the fears they had overcome, it was finally time to find out how much such a piece of ambergris was actually worth.

The two found out that another lucky guy, who had also found a piece of ambergris on Morecambe beach, had received an impressive 155,000 dollars for his specimen. This piece, however, at about 6 pounds, was almost twice as heavy as that of Steven and Viola.

65.000 Dollar

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

For their own copy, the couple received an impressive $65,000. What should they do with it? Pay off the remaining installments for their house? Possibly retire a little earlier? There were plenty of ideas and suggestions – $65,000 is a considerable amount of pocket money for a walk on the beach. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

After a lot of consideration and the sale of the rare object, Steven and Viola finally came to their final decision and fulfilled their big life dream in the form of a mobile home, for which they finally had enough money. What a beautiful story. Thanks to the sperm whale!

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