A Florida man who went hunting for pythons in Florida’s Everglades returned instead with a mysterious treasure: an antique, diamond-studded gold medallion that could date back to the 17th century.
How the handmade, penny-sized amulet got there is a riddle. One theory is it could have been aboard a ValuJet plane that crashed nearby in May 1996 – or that perhaps it was part of the debris field from an Eastern Airlines crash in the same area in 1972. The fact that it is partially melted on one side could support that idea.
But wherever it came from, Mark Rubinstein, the eagle-eyed snake hunter who found it, is determined to get it back home.
“It looks like it belongs to somebody,” he told FoxNews.com. But if the rightful owner can’t be found, Rubinstein says he’ll donate the heirloom to the Archdiocese of Miami.
The saga of the mysterious medallion began last February when Rubinstein and two friends were participating in Florida’s state-run Python Challenge, an attempt to hunt down the invasive snakes that can reach lengths of 18 feet.
After a fruitless day, he said, “We were walking back along a levee and something in the ground just caught my eye. I walked back and forth to make sure. I walked over and dug it out of the dirt. ”