Paul Humphreys, Author at The Ring Finders

Lost Wedding-Ring Found! – Lake Okauchee, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

While relaxing on their friend’s boat dock Father’s Day weekend, Iowa resident Matt (last name) felt his titanium wedding ring slip off his finger. He watched helplessly as it landed on the wooden planks, bounced and then rolled through a large crack out of sight into the murky water beneath.

Matt and his friend, Jad, searched for a number of hours that evening, diving and sifting through the mud, weeds, stones and zebra shells, all to no avail. It had to be there under the dock, but try as they might, they couldn’t find it. Did a fish swallow it? Stranger things have happened.

I received a text from Matt the next morning. He and his wife were leaving to drive home to Iowa. Would I be willing to search for his ring?

After contacting Jad, I arranged a search early that afternoon. Once on location in the neck-deep water under the boat dock, I encountered a cacophony of signals. The lake bottom under and around the dock was full of metallic debris. Metal cans, fishing lures, bolts, nails, coins, bottle caps, pull tabs… But no ring! To make matters worse, the remains of old dock moorings, re-bar and metal pipes kept overwhelming the non-ferrous targets, making it almost impossible to discriminate the iron. Chad’s ring, being made of titanium, added another challenge; the unique metal can act in strange ways when other metal is present.

It was a small search area and so the only option was to systematically remove every metallic object under the dock. Eventually, using this strategy, Chad’s wedding ring found its way into my scoop and into the light of day! Mission accomplished once again. In Chad’s absence his friend, Jad, posed with the ring for posterity.

So glad to have found your ring, Matt! May its story continue for many years to come.

Wedding Ring Lost and Found! – Delavan Lake, WI.

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

On June 15 I received a phone call from Illinois resident, Hugh Rider. He was adjusting a boat cover on his dock at his cottage on Delavan Lake, Wisconsin, when a bee stung his hand. Instinctively, he shook his arm away from the offending pest, only to see his gold wedding ring fly and bounce off the dock into the lake. It was like adding insult to injury—a bad dream in slow motion.

After a 45-minute drive, I arrived at the picturesque lake. The area has been a vacation destination since 1878. Today, cottages dot its shoreline. Hugh arrived shortly after I did and together, we made our way to the boat dock. Once in the neck-deep water I first encountered aquatic plants. Such plants can be problematic for a detectorist as the foliage wraps itself around the coil and stem. But it was the historical evidence of cottagers going back over 100 years that presented the bigger challenge. There were the remains of concrete moorings with reinforcing iron, pipes, chain, bolts, screws and cans. But somewhere amongst all the ferrous metal was a precious gold wedding band. It would require all of my 40-plus years of metal-detecting experience to decipher that signal amidst the ferrous “roar.”

After what seemed like a lot of trial and error, Hugh’s ring finally gave up its hiding place and appeared in my scoop! Mission accomplished!

Hugh was delighted, of course, to have his wedding band back on his hand. And his smile tells the rest of the story.

Lost Wedding-Ring Found – Lake Geneva, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Engaged two years to the day and married last December 2019, Bangladeshi university student, Hasan Aziz, lost his gold wedding ring in the water at Big Foot Beach State Park on Lake Geneva. It happened June 21, 2020 while receiving a swimming lesson in chest-deep water.

The next morning, I received a text message from Hasan asking for help. We arranged to meet on location that evening. On arrival, I was met by an entourage of college friends, all eager to be part of the search experience. Donning my Excalibur SCUBA detector and a couple marker buoy’s I began a systematic grid search. Happily, it didn’t take long to locate Hasan’s precious ring. When we did, a chorus of cheers erupted from his friends on shore. Then after a fun photo session, it was mission accomplished once again. Hasan’s smile tells the rest of the story.

Lost Wedding-Ring Found! – Kenosha, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Kenosha, WI boasts several gorgeous parks along the shores of Lake Michigan. On Sunday, June 28, 2020, Darren and his wife, Jennifer drove up from West Chicago for a relaxing get-away at Pennoyer Park. But a picture-perfect day turned to despair when on their drive home, Jennifer realized her diamond-wedding ring was missing. I received a desperate email the next morning requesting my assistance. Her son found me on The Ring Finder’s online directory.

It was an hour’s drive for each way for both of us and so we arranged to meet on location that afternoon. Upon arrival, I disappointed to discover my otherwise trusty metal detector was not functioning. I always pack an extra machine for just such a possibility, but somehow failed to load it before I left. Despite my best efforts to remedy the problem on site, it became necessary to drive an hour back home to Waukesha to fetch another detector.

Meanwhile, an intense electrical storm developed. Torrents of rain made driving a challenge. The beautiful beach where, just hours before, people sunbathed and picnicked had become a desolate, dark and foreboding place, rumbling with thunder and flashes of lightning. A flock of seagulls took cover on the shore while we waited in our vehicles. Finally, with no break in sight, the Darren and Jennifer decided to return home. We agreed to stay in touch, but as they drove away in the rain, I could sense the disappointment and hopelessness in Jenifer’s voice.

While the rain continued, the lightning eventually subsided enough that it was safe to venture out. My equipment is rated for SCUBA diving so the wind and driving rain were not a problem. After an about an hour, I had barely covered the first search area and was about to move to the next location when I picked up a strong but deep signal in the coarse sand. My first thought was that the target was much too deep for so recent a loss. But just to make sure, I excavated the target and dumped the contents out across the sand. As I did, my eye caught the unmistakable glint of diamonds and platinum! It was on a slope and someone had inadvertently pushed the loose sand over the ring, burying it deeply with their foot.

I texted a photo of the ring to Jennifer with the caption, “A little damp, but none the worse for its lost-and-found experience!” Darren and Jennifer hopped in the car right away and made the hour’s drive back to Kenosha. What a delight it was to hand the beautiful ring back to its grateful owner. Appropriately, I thought, Jennifer wore a tee-shirt with the word, BLESSED, on it. You know, I think prayers were answered that night!

This ring search seemed to conspire against us at every turn – equipment problems, rain, lightening, darkness, wind and challenging driving conditions, all threatened failure. But in the end, perseverance and prayers triumphed. I too feel blessed. As for Jenifer, her smile tells the rest of the story.

Lost Wedding Ring Found! – Hales Corners, Wisconsin

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

“That took you exactly 19 minutes!“

I received a text message from Hales Corners resident, Jason Squires, earlier in the week. It was like an S.O.S., only instead of a sinking ship, it was his wife’s (Michelle) beautiful wedding ring that had slipped out of sight below the snow’s surface behind their home. When the couple realized the ring was missing, they knew for certain there was only one place it could have been lost. But that was several days before when the snow was soft and fresh. As if to seal the ring’s fate, nighttime temperatures had been dipping below zero Fahrenheit, creating a thick pavement-like crust. To make matters worse, a well-meaning friend suggested a local squirrel may have taken a shine to the ring, hiding the prize among its other buried treasures. This latter thought was not comforting.

Jason even rented a metal detector and tried valiantly to decipher the cacophony of signals it presented, but his best efforts failed to bring the ring to light. That’s when his boss at work suggested he search the internet for help. Almost immediately he discovered The Ring Finder’s Directory of Metal Detecting Specialists and my profile listed in the State of Wisconsin. That prompted Jason’s S.O.S. message.

I arranged to meet Jason on location after work the next evening. It was getting dark when I arrived. It was also bitterly cold, the kind that can quickly immobilize exposed skin. Jason led the way. Upon arrival, patches of frozen grass and dirt bore tangible evidence of his previous search attempts.

Given the plummeting temperature I got to work immediately, sweeping the area with my XP Deus high-frequency coil. The ground came alive with a jungle of audio signals across the entire conductivity spectrum; metallic debris was everywhere! But finally, underneath some low tree branches, a signal in the range I was waiting for beckoned investigation. I broke up the icy crust with my boot and then kneeling down I carefully shaved away the frozen layers with a knife.

We spotted the ring at the same time laying right where it had fallen days before. Jason was ecstatic! “That took you exactly 19 minutes!” he exclaimed.

Funny thing, the smile on Jason’s face made the cold vanish.

TESTIMONIAL:
“Thank you so much!!! You came and completed in minutes what I couldn’t do in hours! My wife Michelle and I can’t tell you how grateful we are. You are a true professional and don’t even charge for your service. You gave us back something that meant the world to us. The smile on Michelle’s face said it all. God bless you! We will recommend you to anyone who is in our situation.” Jason Squires – Hales Corners, Wisconsin.

Engagement Ring Lost in Snow & Found!—Mount Pleasant, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

January 17th brought fresh snow! It also brought sadness!

Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin resident, Megan, was clearing the white blanket off her car’s windshield when she felt her engagement ring leave her hand and vanish into the snow. A desperate search ensued by Megan’s fiancé and other family members. Scooping the snow into buckets and using a wheelbarrow, they melted the icy contents with hot water in hopes of revealing the ring, but their valiant efforts failed to bring the precious love token to light. It was as though the snow had swallowed it. Was it gone for good?

In the days to follow, a sick feeling in the pit of Megan’s stomach served as catalyst for scouring the Internet for help. That’s when she discovered The Ring Finder’s Directory of metal-detecting specialists and my contact information.

I received a text from Megan the following Tuesday, January 21st. After a brief telephone call, arrangements were made to perform a search the next evening.

On arrival, I saw evidence where the snow had been removed from the front yard. Since darkness arrives early during the winter months in our part of the world, I employed a professional tactical light attached to my wireless XP Deus Detector. The ground, as expected, was full of metallic debris making it necessary to carefully assess each signal. It was a slow process.

I was almost finished scouring the front yard when a signal reached my ears—one consistent with a gold ring. Brushing the loose snow away revealed solid ice beneath. Whatever was the source of the signal, was encased in the ice. I carefully chipped around the area and pried the frozen disc from the ground so as not to damage the ring if it was there. As it turned out, it was indeed Megan’s precious ring!

It is always cause for celebration when a ring is found and this recovery was no different. Tears, hugs and smiles ensued. It was a happy household once again.

Lost Wedding Band Found After 7 Months! – Greenfield, Wisconsin

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

April 10th 2019 found Greenfield, Wisconsin residents, Christopher & Erica Hollman, dealing with a late winter snowfall. As Christopher brushed the snow from his car’s windscreen with his bare hand, he didn’t feel the loose-fitting wedding band leave his finger. Afterwards, it was while driving into town that he realized his ring was missing.

The couple spent hours looking up and down their driveway, in the snow, in the grass and foliage and along the sides of the road. Coats, pockets, shoes and boots were all inspected closely; every conceivable crevice explored. The Hollmans even reported the loss to their local police in case someone turned it in.

The days turned into weeks and the weeks into months. Still no ring. Then as the leaves began to drop, it seemed the ring was lost forever. Erica, however, continued to pray her husband’s ring would be found. The 14K white gold, heavily engraved love-token had been blessed by the couple’s priest at their wedding 4 years before.

I received an email from Erica on November 6th, nearly 7 months after the loss occurred. She documented the circumstances including their extensive search efforts. Like a forensic detective, her attention to detail was impressive!

I arranged to meet on location at the Hollman’s home the evening of November 25th. It was already dark when I arrived. Flashlights in hand, Erica and Christopher were keen to assist in any way they could.

Using Erica’s timeline and the position of Christopher’s snow-covered vehicle the day his ring went missing, I elected to search the foliage in a roundabout close by. As is often the case with an older establishment, the area was full of metal debris. I dropped golf balls to mark spots that needed investigation and Erica and Christopher followed behind on their knees scouring through the matted grass, weeds and leaves.

My detector of choice was a trusty XP Deus with a high frequency elliptical coil as well as a wireless probe which is used to pinpoint the exact location of a target in difficult terrain such as tall grass, rocks and bushes.

About an hour passed with only tin foil and bits of aluminum to show for our efforts. I explained how a search was a matter of eliminating areas, of knowing for certain where the ring was not. Moving systematically through the search area another signal registered with an appropriate pitch and conductivity number. It begged a golf-ball marker, but I decided to investigate it on my own. Parting the matted grass, a reflection from my flashlight caught my attention—it was Christopher’s ring!

I left the wedding band where it was, covered it over with some leaves, and called Erica. I wanted her to experience the joy of discovery and the answer to her prayers. Under pretense of teaching how the probe worked, she placed the headphones on her head and took the probe in her hand. I demonstrated by moving the probe towards my own wedding ring so Erica could hear the increased pitch and volume as the probe got closer. “That’s the sound we are looking for,” I explained. Then I invited her to check out the area where I knew the ring lay waiting.

Christopher hovered close, taking in the teaching moment along with his wife. As Erica moved the probe closer to the target, she heard the unmistakable sound again. Moments later, the long-lost love token was in Christopher’s hands!

I wish I had a video of the couple as they hugged and jumped for joy in one another’s arms. It was indeed a moment to celebrate! I think someone’s prayers were answered, don’t you?

TESTIMONIAL – We were nervous to invite a stranger to our property for any reason, no less to search for a valuable and important piece of jewelry. However we were also nervous that if an experienced and skilled person couldn’t find what we were looking for even with the right tools, we would be left with the reality that it was simply gone. Forever. Finally after over seven months of wondering, stressing and worrying, we were ready to face that possibility and put the issue to bed one way or another.

We found that Paul Humphreys was the Ring Finder who serves our area in Wisconsin. We prepared the $40 call-out fee (in the event that he could not find our item) and we decided on and prepared a reward amount we thought would be fair compensation if he was able to find what we were looking for. In doing this, we tried to imagine the highest amount we would be willing or able to pay, considering how long it might take and/or how difficult it might be. We also considered how much it would cost us to purchase a replacement and of course that any replacement wouldn’t have any of the sentimental value of the original. For our situation, we were worried the wedding ring we were looking for may not have been on our property at all, but may have instead ended up on the side of the road down our busy street, or worse. Then it was time: We said some prayers (again) and sent an email to Paul to really try to find what we were missing with the proper equipment and (hopefully!) a person who could help us.

We couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Not only did he find my husband’s distinctive ring in just over an hour, but he also took extra care to create a reveal experience for us that we will be able to look back on and remember fondly for the rest of our lives. I am deeply grateful that the Ring Finders website exists and that we found Paul, someone who so clearly and truly is looking to help others. After our experience with him I went back to the Ring Finders website and read through many of the stories again that he’s been able to tell, and I can say for sure now that every word written must be true. He is an exceptional person with an incredible heart and we are honored to have been able to meet him.

If you are waiting to reach out to someone to help you find a precious, valuable, or cherished item, please contact Paul Humphreys right away. He is not only a skilled and experienced metal detectorist, he is also one of the kindest and most patient people we have ever met. If it can be found, I’m sure Paul can find it. We’ll definitely be hanging on to his number from now on!

Lost Wedding Ring, Found! — Beloit, Wisconsin

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

A one-acre house lot developed in 1929 has evolved into a park-like setting sprawling with mature trees, ornamental bushes and perennials of every description, not to mention its thick, well-established lawns. This was the scene where Beloit resident and property owner, John Clark, lost his custom-made wedding ring on October 25th while mowing and cleaning up freshly fallen leaves. He knew the ring was on his hand that morning but when he removed his work gloves at the end of the day, his ring finger was empty of its cherished love token. But where to begin looking?

I received a phone call from John the next evening. His son, Eric, who was visiting from Colorado, found The Ring Finder’s Directory online along with my contact information. After questioning John about his activities on the day of the loss, it was clear the ring had to be somewhere on the one-acre estate. Anyone who has embarked on such a search will understand the magnitude and challenge of locating a postage-sized piece of metal in such conditions. A needle-in-the-haystack metaphor seemed an appropriate description.

My wife and I arranged to meet John the next day. It was gorgeous. John met us at the door and introduced us to Kay, his lovely wife of 54 years. Kay showed us the ring on her finger which matched John’s. Mountains were carved into the ring’s circumference with three suns rising between their peaks, each representing one of their three children.

John retraced his activities as we walked around the property, stopping to remark on places he had stopped his lawn tractor or gathered up leaves and fallen branches. He had woken up in the night remembering how he had thrown some branches over a steep, leaf-covered embankment. I set to work sweeping these strategic areas with my XP Deus detector coupled with a High-Frequency elliptical coil. Ninety-years of human occupancy and numerous roof replacements impregnated the ground with nails and metallic debris, making it necessary to fine tune my equipment often.

After two hours of searching, the ring came to light in among the foliage where it had come to rest. I didn’t let on to John right away that I had found his ring. Instead, I made pretense of stopping for coffee and of moving to the next search area. It’s my sinister nature to create a memorable reveal. But I didn’t wait long—John was in enough agony.

Holding out my palm with the ring nestled in it, I stated in a matter of fact way that his ring couldn’t be in the lawn area because it was in my hand! Hugs ensued. Time to celebrate! And John’s smile tells the rest of the story.

Lost Diamond Earring Found! – Waukesha, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

Allie Gruenwald of Waukesha, Wisconsin, was mowing a patch of waist-high weeds behind their country home when a low-hanging tree branch caught her diamond earring stud, flinging it into the thick tangle. The earrings were a gift from her husband, Chris. Now one of them was gone.

I received a phone call from Chris on July 5th asking if I might search for the lost earring. The prospects of detecting such a tiny piece of jewelry in such circumstances is like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack! From my 40 plus years’ experience as a metal detecting specialist, I knew it would be a challenge even with some of the most sophisticated metal detecting technology at my disposal.

Upon arrival at the Gruenwald’s home, I experimented with the matching earring to get a reading on my equipment. Even in clean ground without any electro-magnetic interference, the response was barely audible. I calibrated my machine and set to work. It was almost completely dark when I picked up a very faint signal in my headphones. Upon investigating, the small gold retainer appeared about an inch and a half down in the mud; the earring could not be far away. I marked off the area and left instructions to cut the vegetation off level to the ground using scissors or pruning shears. I would return and scan the area again with the coil right on the ground. Having located the retainer, I was confident the diamond stud was close by.

Sure enough, I received a text message from Chris the next day with the happy news that the earing had come to light as expected!

Allie, may the story of your earrings continue for many years to come!

Lost Wedding Ring Found!- Triangle Park, Wauwatosa, WI

from Menomonee Falls (Wisconsin, United States)

New Berlin resident, Emily Griskavich, enjoyed a picnic at Triangle Park with her children on July 7th but later that evening discovered that her wedding band was missing. Returning to the park she scoured the grassy area and sidewalk areas without success. Had someone already found it? The possibility was troubling.

I received a phone call from Emily asking if I might help search for her ring. We agreed to meet on location after work on July 11. Once at the location, Emily took me to the picnic area and retraced her route along the sidewalk. It seemed a long shot because Emily was not entirely certain the ring was lost at the park. I explained how I could eliminate search areas by ruling them out and which might help narrow her search to other locations. That is unless someone had already found it.

My detector of choice for the search was an XP Deus with a high frequency elliptical coil. It is extremely sensitive to gold targets. I started scanning the grassy picnic area where Emily had spent the most time playing with her children, treating it as ‘ground zero’ in my search efforts. Barely twenty minutes into the search, my Emily’s ring appeared deep in the grass! She was flabbergasted at the sight of her precious love token!

Thanks, Emily, for the privilege of searching for and finding your ring. May its story continue for many more happy years!