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Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency Year Eight: Case File No. 06-370

Gus on the wide scoop of an excavator

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Where We Left Off:

The Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency had two cases in a row that involved the deaths of beloved little wildlife critters. The previous case to this one involved an attempted rescue that lasted for hours.

The Treasure of the Sierra Jersey:

It was early in June 2024 when Oliver and Gus came to me with a report from The Grumpy Old Man. All I could think was, “Oh no—what now?” With everyone in the family having health issues to manage, monitor, and fix, I did not expect good news. The Grumpy Old Man’s ticker doesn’t need surgery right now. The Cook is staying busy cooking and doing crossword puzzles. We try to allow anxiety demons alternating work schedules because this household can only handle one at a time. That doesn’t even include Oliver Winchester, who has been having his own struggles with agoraphobia—probably not the right word because he desperately wants to go outside, but gets into fights with Gus about who gets to be where.

This brings us to a surprise one morning. Gus and I went to the balcony for an initial breath of fresh air before beginning our day. I felt like Tom Hanks walking out his door in his bathrobe in The Burbs. Our neighbors also do suspicious activities at night. It turns out that I refer to that movie all the damn time because our lives are a combination of The Burbs and Funny Farm. Two movies that The Kids Today® don’t know.


“What’s that doing here?” I asked Gus. He had already turned around and was waiting for me to open the door to go back inside in order to get dressed to then go outside on patrol and find out what was happening.

After I got dressed (while Gus clawed at my pants and butt to hurry up), I put his day-glo orange harness on as usual trying to make him visible. When Gus wants to blend in or phase-shift or turn in an actual shadow, he can just do it. I still try. We were greeted by the morning birds, but Gus didn’t care about them. He was targeted on the incredibly long trench that had appeared. We’ve had a few of those and each time, I hoped The Grumpy Old Man was installing a proper moat with drawbridge. I’m constantly disappointed. 

Gus experienced a FLASHBACK! See if you spotted it in the video!

Milk glass has also been used for packaging commercial products. Especially during the 1910s-1950s huge quantities of containers were made of white milk glass, including cold cream jars, salve jars, bottles and jars for cosmetics, hair products, and medicines of various types as well as other products.   As diggers of old and forgotten dumpsites can attest, lots of these containers were discarded and are frequently found when searching for bottles, pottery and other artifacts. ~

I tried all kinds of tricks that I’ve seen used on artifacts to make old writing more visible. There are specific ways to raise fingerprints—there’s a handy example of this in the movie Beverly Hills Cop starring Eddie Murphy—involving CA glue (super glue). Even if skin is dehydrated, it can be moisturized through a careful process in order to get palm and finger prints. Many things can be seen with a simple black light, but investigators will often need to add other substances like luminol, for example, to make blood evidence glow.

As much as I love the lessons of Beverly Hills Cop, Murder, She Wrote, and Castle, let’s not forget about National Treasure for showing us how to decode secret messages in Colonial American artifacts. Have you personally tried invisible ink? What about making it visible again with lemon juice and heat

My first thoughts veered towards technology. I took photos and then began manipulating the light and dark aspects with tools like contrast, invert (making the negative), anti-aliasing, sharpening, and de-interlacing. Basically, I tried a ton of different effects in GIMP the way I have to fix nearly every photo I take because I seem incapable of taking a photo in focus.

After that, a switch in my brain flicked. I thought about tombstone rubbings! You can take paper and a piece of charcoal, graphite, or even an unwrapped crayon and make a grave marking rubbing. That same premise is often done in television mysteries when a sleuth finds a notepad with the top page ripped off. The sleuth will then find a pencil and gentle color over the next sheet of paper (or soft surface) and gets an important clue like a phone number or address. It’s supposed to be a huge surprise, but we’ve seen it in every single show that doesn’t rely heavily on high-tech.

This etsy listing claims to be a “rare” find from the 1990’s. Bottom Left: the bottom of jar as shown in the listing’s gallery. Bottom right: that image enhanced with contrast and rotated to see the embossed imprint. It might read “POND’S 13″ but still hard to tell.

collage: top left is item details as written on etsy listing; top right is a screen capture of the same listing showing in red "rare find" with original price $100 and "on sale" for $49.50; text box by Amber; bottom left is the bottom of the jar as shown in the listing; bottom right is Amber's version of that image rotated correctly and higher contrast to read characters better.

This etsy listing claims to be from the 1930’s. Bottom: I took that image into GIMP, selected the bottom of the jar; then I adjusted the contrast to see the embossed imprint. This one appears to have the “POND’S” text and also characters along the oval curve.

collage top: screen capture of an etsy listing showing the bottom of the milk glass jar, price is $34.83, and claims to be from the 1930's. Bottom is the same image with an oval shape selected and the contrast enhanced to try and make the characters more legible.

Top: This etsy listing clearly shows the registration mark on the bottom. “POND’S regd 1935 MADE IN CANADA. Bottom: I adjusted the contrast to see the embossed imprint. The “made in Canada” characters are along the inside of the oval curve.

Top: This etsy listing clearly shows the registration mark on the bottom. “POND’S regd 1935 MADE IN CANADA and priced at $21.75 (on sale from $29). Bottom: I adjusted the contrast to see the embossed imprint. The “made in Canada” characters are along the inside of the oval curve.

If you happen to define collecting things a hobby and not a disorder, there is a group specifically for milk glass collecting! The National Milk Glass Collectors Society has conventions in different cities annually.

I ended up crowd-sourcing opinions on what the imprint said and it was not a slam dunk. Most people agreed that it could read: “POND’S” and “15” but other numbers were suggested too.

Case Findings:

At the time of the investigation, there were extenuating circumstances that kept interrupting our research. Personally, I think the jar is between 1940 and 1980. I’m not a jar expert. Oliver will be able to continue researching while I drive up and down New Jersey for other reasons.

Case Status: Open

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