Putting The “Trap” In Contraption

Inspecting the latest stage in the demolition work continuing up on the second floor, I made something of a gruesome discovery this morning while getting a closer look at the space between the kitchen and the dining room that had been revealed beneath the floorboards that had been ripped up from inside the closet that had been sealed for somewhere around the last 58 years.

As I was peering down into the wide gap trying to figure out if i was looking at what had been the original fireplace box, I  noticed old walnut shells among the lathe and plaster and then spied a piece of wood between the floor joists and recognized it as an overturned rodent trap. As Susan looked on I flipped it over, surprised to find the skull of a rat was included, held firm by the trap’s arm that lay across a portion of the poor creature’s neck.


Susan was like “Gross!” and of course I was like “Awesome!” and afterward repaired downstairs with it to snap some pix of the newest addition to my Gallery of Backyarchaelogy. PS. Any other remains of the rat were nowhere to be found, and I’m not bummed about that in the slightest.

There are a few other photos of the find in this small set on Flickr, and one thing notable is the remarkable vibrancy of the trap’s colors. It threw me at first and left me thinking the trap might not have been set at a minimum way back in 1950 when among other things:

  • the first modern credit card was introduced
  • the first organ transplant was performed
  • the first Peanuts cartoon strip was released
  • the Korean War began
  • Senator Joseph McCarthy started witchhunting communists
  • Harry Truman was president and ordered the construction of the hydrogen bomb
  • the average income was $3,216
  • milk cost 82 cents,
  • five gallons of gas was a dollar
  • buying three first class postage stamps would leave you with a penny left over for some candy.

But then I remembered the trap as I found it was overturned most likely by  the rat in its death throes, so the face of the trap was left down and protected a bit from the dulling dust and stuff. On top of that, like I said earlier, this trap was set in a corner of the upstairs beneath floorboards and between joists below a closet space that has been walled off and pretty much inaccessible to humans for 58 years, at minimum.

So it’s no real surprise to find the rat so bare and its killing machine so relatively pristine.