Original Published on Sep 22, 2022 at 08:32
By Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
A group of local treasure hunters has brought about a happy ending for a story that was 27 years in the making, with the uncovering of a time capsule in Onanole that was buried in the 1990s.
Jennifer Kelly, who grew up in Onanole and lives there now, said she and a group of her friends, along with her sister and her friend, buried the time capsule on her 12th birthday in 1995.
Kelly and her family were moving from the home where the capsule was buried, and the group originally intended to dig it up for their high school graduation in 2001. Unfortunately, Kelly said, when the group set out to find the time capsule, they couldn’t find it.
“We did a search of the ground the day before graduation. We went to try to dig, but we couldn’t find it. My dad and the current property owner went out to try and find it as well, with no success.”
Kelly said she thought about the time capsule over the years, the contents of which she couldn’t recall. But it wasn’t until last month, when she saw a social media post about the metal detecting group Westman Treasure Hunters, that she thought about trying to find it again.
“I had read a Facebook post in regards to … a couple who were reaching out to try and find someone to locate their wedding ring that they had lost at Riding Mountain National Park, and someone had responded, [telling them] to reach out to Westman Treasure Hunters,” Kelly said.
Kelly reached out to the club and got in touch with Robin Burnett-Klyzub, a member of the group, to see if they’d help her out.
Burnett-Klyzub said that, with the help of a carefully-drawn map Kelly had made in 1995, she and fellow treasure-hunters Johnny Klyzub, her husband, and James Cochrane, found the time capsule within 10 minutes on Sept.10.
The group’s metal detectors gave out numeric readings, and Burnett-Klyzub said the equipment made a faint sound because the capsule was buried about 20 inches underground.
Kelly, her husband and her six-year-old son were there to witness the excitement and help with the search.
“We took a look for a general location and we had a few hits … but they weren’t strong enough to indicate what we were looking for. Then we had a bigger hit, so my husband and I started digging, and my son Mason … started digging as well to help us out, and we found the bucket!”
The bucket was an old Electrosol dishwashing detergent container with a metal handle. Once it was found, Kelly said she refrained from looking inside, wanting instead to do that with the original group of friends she began the adventure with in 1995.
“My husband, and my son, and Robin and her crew took a peek in the bucket, just to see what they had found, and looked in and saw our treasures.”
Kelly said the time capsule was closed again. As soon as she got home, she got in touch with all her old friends to let them know about the find. Thrilled that it had finally been located, the group quickly made plans to open it next summer.
“The majority were my friends from school … and they turn 40 next year, so we decided to attempt a reunion in the summer and open it then.”
For Burnett-Klyzub, Kelly’s excitement is the part about metal detecting she likes the most. Burnett-Klyzub started Westman Treasure Hunters in 2019 and the group has helped many people reclaim their valuables at no cost since then.
“Just reuniting people with their treasure, and [seeing] the joy on their faces is payment enough,” Burnett-Klyzub said.