Friday, March 3, 2017

The Tale of the Haunted Treadmill and the Magic Box

Amy Floto submitted the winning entry to my #RootsTech free pass contest. Here is her tale of serendipity:

Treasures from the magic box. Photo provided by Amy Floto.One day, about two years ago, my sweet Mom and I were just watching TV while I was doing family history. All of the sudden, we heard a strange noise. “Thunk, thunk, thunk, …” We had no idea what it was. “Thunk, thunk, thunk,…” I thought perhaps a car had a loud bass, but Mom opened the door and it wasn't from outside. I stayed with my laptop on my lap (hey, it takes a lot for me to abandon my family history work!) while she went upstairs. We were worried something was amiss in the bonus room where a furnace is located in a closet.

I heard the door open. The noise got very loud. “Thunk, thunk, thunk, …” After a few seconds it stopped. Then my Mom came down the stairs and said, “You'll never guess what it was. The treadmill belt was running BY ITSELF WITH THE MACHINE TURNED OFF!” The safety key wasn't even inserted in it! She only got it to stop by pulling the plug out of the socket.

It really bugged us that the safety key wasn't in it and it spontaneously started, so we decided to look for the key. Eventually our search took us to a cabinet in the bonus room. We opened the cabinet and were greeted by an old box, now known in the family as the magic box.

We have lived in this house for 15 years and my parents have absolutely no memory of this box. Inside the box were large, colorized photos of my Dad as a kid, his mother as a child, and his dear sister who passed away when she was eight. My parents have no memory of these photos. Under those were pedigree charts. Under those were notebooks handwritten by my great-grandmother of genealogy she researched for years, 10 generation fan charts she created back in the 1950s, hand-drawings of manor homes and English county boundaries, pages and pages of stories and histories, names and dates, and certificates. Under the notebooks were important letters my Dad had received from LDS prophets and apostles, as well as key talks he and my mother had given. So precious to us, all of it. I wept.

The box seemed bottomless. It was AMAZING! Never-ending treasures and we would not have found it when we did if not for that dang treadmill deciding to start of its own accord. The notebooks actually had information on a line I was pursuing that very week. I like to joke that those ancestors were the ones running on that treadmill, alerting us to come find them in the magic box. I still can't tell the story without getting choked up and laughing at the same time!

The Ancestry Insider with RootsTech contest winner, Amy FlotoI thank Amy for sharing. That’s an amazing story. Amy approached me at RootsTech 2017 and personally thanked me for the free pass. It had allowed her to attend. She also sent a thank you note afterwards. The most gracious and grateful contest winner ever! No wonder treadmills treat her so kindly.

Thank you, Amy.


  1. Such an amazing story! I thank her for sharing it and you for choosing her story. That is a thing, finding the box, that we all hope to discover for our own families.

  2. I have been hoping for years that I will have a similar story to tell.

  3. Amy's story was wonderful!! What an amazing amount of information all there for her to find! That would thrill any of us who search for their ancestors.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Laura Adams

  4. Fantastic story and an amazing find! May we all experience something similar.

  5. I am honored to know this family. Amy has shared this story with her deep love of Family history and her familiar and beloved sense of humor. Oh, that we don't have experiences but miss the meaning!


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