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A family legend has been proven true in Massachusetts, where a treasure hunter uncovered a trove of cash that was long-rumoured to be hidden inside an old home.

The home belonged to a couple who lived there for decades before dying and leaving it to a relative. The relative’s daughter planned to sell the house, but she didn’t want to let it go without investigating an old story about a cache of money hidden somewhere in the home.

Treasure hunter Keith Wille shows off the cash he found in a New England home.

The woman initially hired a string of carpenters to search the walls and floorboards but they came back empty-handed, broadcaster WFSB reports.

Then she heard about Keith Wille, a Connecticut-based treasure hunter and “detectorist” who specializes in finding lost valuables.

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Wille made the trip to western Massachusetts and pored over the home with his metal detector, in a visit that he documented on camera for his Rediscover Lost YouTube channel.

“The family was running out of time,” Wille says in his video. “They’d been wanting to sell the house for a few years, but this particular rumoured treasure was stopping them from doing so.”

Wille says the family had a few hints about the cash but those were largely useless. The only one that helped was a story about the cash being hidden in the attic. Keith Wille searches for hidden cash in the attic of a Massachusetts home. Keith Wille/YouTube

He searched the attic and found something that others had missed: a few strange metal pings coming from the floorboards.

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It was enough to pique Wille’s suspicions, so he stuck an endoscope camera under the floorboards and took a look around.

Keith Wille searches for hidden cash in the attic of a Massachusetts home.

“When I dropped it in the second or third hole, I saw something weird,” he said in a YouTube video. “It had letters and numbers on it. It was a small silver something … I realized, ‘Oh man, this is a keyhole.’”

Wille pulled up the floorboards and pulled out the long-lost treasure: a bank lockbox filled with US$46,000 worth of crisp bills from the 1930s and ’50s, stacked and wrapped in packets of $500 each. The dates on the bank straps indicated the money was packed up in 1958.

A cache of $46,000 in the ’50s would be equivalent to hiding more than $400,000 today, Wille said. He added that the banknotes might be worth even more to collectors because of their age.

The family now has closure on the cash,” Wille told MassLive. “They can sell the house.”

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He added that the family has asked for privacy.

“I’m just glad it was finally found,” the woman who hired Wille told WFSB. She identified herself only as Karen in the interview.

Karen said it was a relief to finally get to the bottom of the treasure hunt, and to finally get confirmation about a decades-old family legend.

“It’s true,” she said.

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