Molly Rodden was cleaning up dirt from a sink after repotting a plant when she felt a sudden pain in one of her fingers. "Something stabbed me and went under my middle fingernail," she told Yahoo News Australia.
The 43-year-old from Washington in the US couldn't believe her eyes when she saw there was a "human tooth sticking out" from under her nail.
"I've been a nurse for a long time and I didn't think anything could surprise me anymore but that surprised me," she said.
Ms Rodden, who had purchased the potting mix from a discount store months earlier, immediately jumped to the conclusion she was holding the tooth of a murder victim. "My one thought was murder, that someone had been mulched," she said.
But she claims the police were "not interested" in her unsettling find so she turned to social media for answers.
Internet loses it over tooth mystery
"It's 2022, I took a picture and put it on the internet," Ms Rodden said.
"Yes, that's a human tooth," she posted to a Facebook group dedicated to unusual finds, alongside a close-up image of the mystery tooth between her fingers.
Ms Rodden was stunned at the response, as she was bombarded with hundreds of theories, accusations and opinions. "I had no idea everyone would be so fascinated by this tooth," she said. "Many were adamant I had to find a law enforcement body to take it to. A small but vocal group wanted me to send it to them. Some thought I was trying to alibi myself for murder. Many questioned why I was touching it with my bare hands. Those in the dental field were arguing about what tooth it is."
At the time of publication, more than 9,000 people had engaged with Ms Rodden's "spooky" post, many demanding answers. "Get the DNA on it... track them down... I need to know," someone pleaded.
Others offered somewhat less gritty explanations. "They make compost out of human remains in some states now. It's a thing, you can Google it," one man suggested. Another wondered whether the tooth was from relatives who had been buried on an old farm, where grave markings had faded away and the soil later "bagged up then sold off".
Real or fake?
Many questioned whether the image was even real. "Horrible Photoshop job," one person snapped, while another wrote, "I can tell it's a Photoshop by looking at the pixels."
But Ms Rodden insisted the tooth is "real, pointy and gross" and began answering odd requests for more photos to prove she was telling the truth, such as putting the tooth on her head and her dog's head. She even took a "proof of life" shot with her husband.
"It was entertaining. The tooth is famous. Even a patient told me they saw the post," Ms Rodden said.
Ms Rodden said two groups searching for missing loved ones reached out and urged her to get the tooth x-rayed. "I don't even know how to do that," she said, adding the tooth mystery would likely go unsolved.
"It's a mystery to me why it is so interesting to people," she said. "Shady things happen all the time. It was either murder or garbage that got mixed in."
Either way, Ms Rodden said she would not be purchasing potting mix from that same store again. "What if I end up with more body parts?" she questioned.
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