Meet Rembrandt: Woodstock man inherits house and a giant grasshopper

Dwight Smith, of Woodstock, holds an old bottle that contains a preserved insect that he thought was a grasshopper. He found the giant bug in his grandfather's possessions. Rich Cooley/Daily

WOODSTOCK– Dwight Smith knew he would have some work to do when he was given the deed to his grandfather’s house.

His grandfather, who was born in 1900 and passed away in 2000, was a collector of old photos, appliances and knick knacks that Smith was tasked with sorting through. It wasn’t going to be an easy task, he knew, because his grandfather had lived in that house his entire life.

While working his way through the house, Smith came across an old glass jar in a spice cabinet. When he pulled it out, it was dirty and he couldn’t see what was inside. Without opening the jar, he cleaned the outside and what he found inside shocked him.

“I was cleaning and sorting, and I found a grasshopper,” Smith said. “A 12 1/2-inch grasshopper.”

The grasshopper, which Smith has nicknamed Rembrandt, had been perfectly preserved in the jar for years, keeping it intact without any chemicals to aid in preservation.

A couple photos of the insect were sent to Eric Day, manager of the Insect Identification Lab at Virginia Tech. While Day thinks it could be an Eastern lubber grasshopper, he says that he’d have to examine it in person, under a microscope, to be sure.

Smith, who had no idea that his grandfather had collected such a find, was excited to resume sorting through the rest of his grandfather’s belongings.

“I have a lot of work ahead of me, and I may be calling you all back for something else I find,” Smith said.

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