For four decades, a Canadian museum offered anyone who wanted to take a crack at it, the chance to open up an old safe, and for four decades, no one could. That is, until a tourist got it on his very first try.
As CNN reports, the Vermilion Heritage Museum in Alberta, Canada, kept a safe tucked away in its basement, unsure of what was inside, but unable to get it open. But the 40-year mystery was solved thanks to a visitor whose lucky guess put the decades-old mystery to rest.
The safe had originally belonged to Vermillion’s Brunswick Hotel, but after the hotel closed down, the safe was destined for the trash until it somehow made its way to the museum. However, a safe is hardly an important or rare historical artifact, the fact that it was a part of Vermillion’s history notwithstanding, so it was tucked away in a basement.
The museum’s managers tried everything to get the safe open. Blacksmiths and professional safecrackers were no help. Neither were any living employees of the hotel. The safe’s manufacturer was no help, either. Lacking any better ideas, the museum offered visitors the opportunity to take a shot at it.
The dials ran from zero to 60, which means that there would have been 216,000 possible combinations. That means that if every combination were tried once, allowing 30 seconds per attempt, and a team of people worked around the clock trying each combination in numerical order, it could have taken just over two months (75 days, to be specific) to crack the safe.
Or, if you’re like tourist Stephen Mills, you can just take a lucky guess and get it on the first try.
Mills almost didn’t get the chance to go to the museum, owing to it being closed on the day he was in town. However, he was able to track down a volunteer who gave him and his family a private tour. And when it came time to take a shot at opening the safe, he chose the numbers that made the most sense to him.
“I looked at the dial and I saw the numbers were running from 0 to 60. So I thought in my head 20-40-60. I did a particular combination which is three on the right, two on the left, and 1 on the right, tried the handle… and it opened!,” he said. Wowed by his unbelievable luck, he vowed to buy a lottery ticket that night; as of this writing, there’s no word on whether or not he won.
As for the contents of the safe, prepare to be disappointed. Other than some random papers, such as receipts or a hotel worker’s notebook, there was absolutely nothing of any interest inside.