NEWS

Human bone mystifies heritage home buyer

03/13/2012 08:02 EDT | Updated 05/13/2012 05:12 EDT

A P.E.I. woman is looking for answers regarding a human bone found during renovations to her heritage home, across the road from where Anne of Green Gables author Lucy Maud Montgomery was born.

According to local folklore, the midwife who delivered Montgomery lived in the home, which was built in 1868.

"The house obviously has a story to tell," said new owner Annie Leroux.

The story turned out to be more intriguing than Leroux suspected. She had decided to take out the attic for cathedral ceilings on the upper floor, and was surprised to find three coffin plates in the attic, but that was only the beginning.

"They were taking the attic boards down and they were taking all the lath down, and in the process of gutting out the house, they did find some bones," she said.

"There was excitement, and there was curiosity, anticipation, and we have a mystery that we have to solve!"

Then, in the process of cleaning up debris, the bone got thrown out.

"I was a little disappointed because I was curious as to what this bone could have been," she said.

RCMP called in

But her disappointment did not last, because a few days later they found a second bone hidden away in the ceiling.

Leroux put the bone in her purse and took it to a veterinarian friend who told her it was a human bone.

"It scared me a little bit. Why would there be human bones in this house?" she said.

"My imagination got the best of me and I really had to find out what it was."

She alerted the RCMP, who sent the bone to St. Thomas University. Testing confirmed it was an arm bone from an adult male. An anthropologist determined that it was part of a skeleton used for teaching purposes. It's estimated to be about 100 years old.

"I was relieved that it was a specimen that a doctor could have used, or a university, and that it wasn't anything more serious," she said.

While it appears there is nothing nefarious about the bone, Leroux still wonders why it was in the house. She is tracing records of sale of the house back to when it was built in 1868 in the hopes of finding more clues about who might have put it in the ceiling.

Leroux hasn't decided what to do with the bone yet. She may enclose it in a shadowbox, or give it a proper burial.

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