10 Famous and Fascinating Sealed Boxes Part 4

About 10 famous and fascinating sealed boxes in history including boxes of Pandora and Henry the Fifth.



In 1913, London was bombarded with announcements about a certain sealed box of prophecies left by Joanna Southcott, a farmer's daughter who had claimed to have prophetic powers. Miss Southcott, who had died in 1814, had stated that one of the many sealed boxes that contained her writings would release untold blessings if it were opened on the 100th anniversary of her death and in the presence of 24 bishops. As the appointed date drew near, those who believed in Southcott's claim exhorted the Archbishop of Canterbury to open this wondrous box. The archbishop refused, but Joanna Southcott's followers--now organized into the Panacea Society--continued to urge the opening of the box. On July 11, 1927, the bands around one of the boxes were broken in the presence of the Bishop of Grantham. The first two objects extracted by the bishop were a woman's nightcap and a book called The Surprises of Love. The remaining treasures included a 1793 calendar of the French court, a 1796 lottery ticket, a pistol, a dice box, and a few coins. The Panacea Society maintains to this day that the wrong box was opened, and still demands that it be discovered and opened in the presence of the required 24 bishops.


On Nov. 12, 1947, Mr. Hugh Dalton, chancellor of the exchequer, arrived at the House of Commons to reveal the contents of the new budget. The details of taxation for each new budget are contained in what is known as the budget box. Should any of the proposals "leak out" before they are officially revealed, speculation by the stock exchange and private individuals could take place with great gain. As Mr. Dalton was about to enter the chamber of the House of commons on this fateful afternoon, a journalist from the Star newspaper, John Carvel, caught his attention and asked about the contents of the budget. "Our conversation was very brief," Mr. Dalton said later. "I told him in a single sentence what the principal proposals for taxation would be." Dalton believed that Carvel was on his way to the press gallery in the House of Commons to listen to the budget speech, but Carvel had other plans. He hurried to the telephone and made public the major points of the budget in the 3:45 P.M. edition of the Star--before Dalton had announced the new taxes in the House of Commons. On the following day Dalton offered his resignation, stating that he deeply regretted his "grave indiscretion." So ended a distinguished career with the premature opening of the sealed budget box.

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