artillery shell
Carlisle Police Dept.

Live Civil War-Era Artillery Shells Unexpectedly Found in Massachusetts Library

Few people can say they've had a first day on the job quite like Gleason Public Library director Abby Noland.

That's because the Carlisle, Massachusetts library where she works ended up evacuated for three hours after she came across Civil War-era munitions, still live, in her office!

The Boston Globe reports Noland had come into work early on her first day to tidy up her new office when she came across a small box in the closet. Labels on the box indicated the contents were artillery shells.

Because the label also indicated these shells might still be live, she notified police who evacuated the building. A bomb squad arrived about two hours later. A closer inspection by the squad revealed the shells were indeed still live. They were later taken to a nearby public works building and safely detonated in some sand dunes.

Amazingly, Noland kind of brushed the incident off when talking to reporters.

"I've been a director of libraries for a long time, and this kind of strange stuff just happens," Noland told the Boston Globe.

It turns out the shells were part of a collection of Civil War artifacts from Gettysburg that were donated to the town of Carlisle in 1916. No one is quite sure how they ended up in the closet. But the collection was moved several times and authorities believe the shells simply got lost and forgotten in the shuffle of one of those moves.

As strange as it sounds, finding unexploded munitions isn't entirely uncommon. Last month a woman in Idaho unexpectedly found a live, World War II-era Nazi artillery shell while cleaning a shed at her parents' Idaho home.

Two years ago, a WWII-era bomb was also unexpectedly found and detonated by a bomb squad on a Florida beach.

If you ever run across something of this nature, it seems the safe thing to do is to alert local authorities.

"The librarian did exactly the right thing by notifying us of these antique military shells once they were located," Carlisle Police Chief John Fisher said.