Photo: The previous owners had lived there for more than 25 years and had no idea what was inside. Credit: Pixabay
When it comes to homeownership, figuring out the intricacies of a new residence is one of the fun surprises. Sure, a listing can give you a general idea, and tours leave you with some visuals of what it could be like. But you never really know what a living space is like until you live there.
With that being said, not every surprise is a good one. Some people have reported finding hidden aspects of their homes that they never thought were possible when they were in their living quarters. Some discoveries were seen right away while others were not uncovered until years after the owners first moved in. Check out this list of creepy rooms unexpectedly found in people’s houses and see the twisted details for yourself!
It may be fun to think about living in a fantasy world. When you hear the word dungeon, you may conjure up thoughts of damsels in distress, faraway lands, and other images from the medieval ages. It is undoubtedly not something that you would expect to find, but that is what one Reddit user reported. While working on an abandoned century-old farmhouse, the user and a coworker stumbled upon a secret room.
While they were looking around, they noticed that the room had chains built into the walls as well as wrist and ankle shackles. There were even scratch marks on the walls where prisoners had tried to escape the dungeon. The original poster said they quickly retreated, and the house “creeped me out, but the ice-cold chills that shot down my spine, like there was something truly evil lurking in that place.”
Not all dungeons were hidden amenities. New York businessman George Marshall Alan built a 32,000 square foot mansion named Glynallen in 1917 and placed the property on the New Jersey landscape. Because he loved English architecture, Allen modeled the plans after an old castle that was equipped with a 10-foot high dungeon.
He wanted it to look a certain way. According to the Wall Street Journal, it was built to look 400 years old, and it has hosted plays in its dungeon, which has also served as the setting for a 1919 silent film. Glynallen was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. It is now permanently closed.
A trap door is something that you would think of in murder mystery movies or cartoons, certainly not in a rental property. But one Reddit user said he definitely found something that was not stipulated in his lease. Upon further reflection on the day, he noticed something near his bathroom entrance. It was a trap door!
Although it looked like a small storage place at first, the man was able to crawl through the space and revealed a brick staircase leading down to a spacious basement. It looked like the area had not been touched in years.
Another guy reported having found a trap door in his basement. While working at home one day, he noticed something odd in the corner of the lowest level of his house. Upon further inspection, he saw an opening to a completely different space.
Perhaps the oddest part of the discovery was that the secret room was filled with several rounds of ammunition, including a live grenade! Other items found in the secret room include bags of loose pennies and a safe. It really makes you wonder why someone would think they would need so much ammunition.
Another Reddit user told the story about a Victorian home that his dad had initially purchased intending to flip it for a profit. Before he worked on it, the user and his friends would hang out on the premises. One night they decided to have a slumber party. What happened made them never want to stay over again.
Late at night, after they watched movies, the friends heard noises coming from upstairs. When they went to see what was going on, they used phones to light the way since none of the fixtures had working light bulbs. They investigated until the noise got louder and louder.
The original poster and his friends arrived at a built-in bookshelf at the end of the hall. The friend ended up tripping something on the bookshelf to reveal a hidden room. “We shone our phones into the room, and it was straight out of a horror film,” the Reddit user said.
There was filth everywhere, with old toys, spiderwebs, and other items were strewn throughout the area. One of the creepiest items were “super-deep scratches on the back of the bookshelf,” as well as dirty hand prints beside them. “It was the thing of nightmares,” the user said.
Another Reddit user recalled when he met a former college girlfriend while they attended a university in Madison, Wisconsin. She was living in a building that had once belonged to a fraternity that had lost its charter. He did not know the reasons why it was closed this whole time.
One night, the couple went to an empty room that had two bunk beds. Above one bed was a secret door and hatch, which led to an upstairs room. This was where most of the hazing that the frat brothers participated in took place.
It turns out that one winter, a girl was sexually assaulted by a few members of the fraternity. She was left there in the cold, where she froze to death. One of the guys was so distraught by the event that he later painted her picture on the wall and then hanged himself.
The original poster said he was in the room one day and swore the eyes on the picture, followed him around the room. There were even reports of crying coming from the room some nights. “I never went up there again,” the Reddit user said.
A Reddit user explained that he went to a high school that had initially been built in the 1800s. The beautiful build stood four stories hall and had various staircases throughout the campus. One of the stairs were on the edge of the school and never used for classes.
The user said he and his friend wandered the hallways one day when they stumbled upon the seldom-used stairs. They noticed on level went to the ground level, and they followed the steps to a cracked open door.
When the user and his friend went through the door, they saw a large room filled with cubicles and computers with lists of dozens of employees. Upon further investigation, the two friends noticed that none of the names were employees from the schools. Because they were seniors, they would have thought to have recognized someone in the documents.
The next few times the friends tried to return to the door of the secret room, it was always locked. “This was in 2006, and I still wonder who the hell all those people were,” the user said.
Another thread on Reddit involved a surprise finding in an area in Boston’s North End. The poster said he had purchased the property intending to turn them into luxury apartments. One day, the sign discovered a manhole-type latch under the basement floorboards.
The latch also leads to a long concrete pathway that curved and ended at the basement across the street, which had a similar lock under its floorboards. What could be the reason for the connecting houses?
While the original poster had initially thought that maybe the pathway was perhaps for the Underground Railroad that helped enslaved people find freedom, the real reason for the secret passageway between the neighbors.
It was later discovered that the reason for the extra room and latches were to serve as a fallout shelter. A previous owner had built the space in the 1970s. “It was very eerie nonetheless, and some dogs had burned to death inside,” the Reddit user said.
A Reddit user said an old bed and breakfast had once belonged to his extended family. It was a family tradition to visit for about a week each summer and to enjoy some rest and relaxation. Visitors were discouraged from going into the basement because it was considered too dangerous.
There were rusty tools, metal and pieces of lumber with nails. “Naturally, I hung out down there because it also had a spooky atmosphere, and that kind of stuff fascinates me,” the Reddit user said.
The outside of the basement had a screen door leading in, and one day, the Reddit user stated that he decided to open it. Inside there was a little dirt and a cobblestone tunnel that was led underneath the foundation of the house.
He also noticed another door that went straight into the foundation, which opened to a pitch-black room. His phone did not produce enough light, but it eventually illuminated a table and chair caked in dust. There was another door in the back wall of the room that had been completely sealed shut.
In a scene straight out of a horror film, one Reddit user posted that he had found a series of photos tucked away in a crawlspace in his attic. In the space, there was a strange door with a padlock. Curious, the homeowner opened it and was surprised by what he saw.
The tiny room was built to be soundproof, and it was also covered in plastic with a platform located in its center. There was also a suitcase that was filled with watches, jewelry, and several black tapes that had the words “No No No” and “Save Yourself” written all over them. Scary!
Jason and Kerri Brown had just purchased their home and were settling in when they discovered a secret corridor that was disguised as a bookcase. Intrigued, the couple wondered what kind of treasures could be left uncovered.
What they found instead was less than thrilling. The hidden area was filled with black mold, so much that it was deemed the reason that the previous owner and his children were always getting sick. In a weird twist, there was a note of a prior owner that read, “You found it! A secret room!” It then describes the serious black mold problem that exists in the house.
A secret room could have been an exciting discovery, but it was not in this case. The Browns were dismayed to find out that their dream house was a living nightmare. They decided they could not salvage the residence and would have to start their new beginning elsewhere.
It certainly was more than what they bargained for. An update to the story reveals that the Browns decided to pack up their stuff and leave the house behind. They also sued the agent who had initially sold them the mold-infested house.
A family had lived in their home for three years before they really took notice of a large metal grate in the middle of a hallway. One day, curiosity snuck in, and they decided to check out what was on the other side.
It turned out to be a staircase that led to a small stone room located in an older section of the room. It was filled with dust and debris, as well as a giant stone cross embedded in the floor. What could be the reason for such a religious room?
The family decided to consult a local historian to gain some perspective on what the room could have been used for. After some research, the historian conferred that the room may have been used during a time when Catholics were being persecuted.
The room may have been a place for previous owners and family members to get together and worship without the general public knowing about their congregation.
Herman W. Mudgett built a hotel in Chicago in 1889. He was expecting a considerable tourist boom as a result of the upcoming 1893 World’s Fair, which was to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in America. Along with the hotel, Mudgett also had a weird mystery fun house constructed, which had several trapdoors, hidden stairways, and surprise chutes to the basement.
It was not until years later when police uncovered that Herman W. Mudgett was the real name of H.H. Holmes, who is considered the first famous serial killer in America. He used the upper floors of the hotel to torture and kill hundreds of people, mostly women.
Once authorities raided what had become known as the Murder Castle, they found secret windowless rooms and false floors. There were also several rooms with no escape ways and soundproof bedrooms and gas chambers.
Holmes was eventually captured, and he confessed to 27 murders. He was executed in 1896. The infamous Murder Castle burned down not long after his capture. In 1938, a post office was built on its site, and it is rumored to be haunted.
One Reddit user said he found a disturbing discovery while house hunting. While touring the residence, there was a basement staircase with several cryptic messages that were drilled along the sides.
When he traveled down to the basement, he noticed several notes were scribbled along the back of the stairs. Those messages included “Stop watching me,” “No watching Isaiah Isaiah through the hole,” and “No writing or drawing on the walls.”
It is clear that the inhabitants under the staircase did not want any intruders, but If the messages were not enough, there was another creepy element to the basement steps. It turns out that several holes had been carved into the stairs so that whoever was staying in the small room could look out and see who was coming down the stairs.
It is unclear what the intention of the room or the peepholes were, but together they certainly give off a sinister vibe. Not exactly the kind of warm welcome a new homeowner would like to see in a potential property.
Singer Castle was built in 1896, and it has been called “The Castle of Mysteries” by The New York Times. Located on Dark Island in Hammond, New York, it was constructed by Frederick Bourne, who was the president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company at the time.
It was built with several creepy elements, including hiding corridors, a dungeon, and several booby traps strewn throughout the premises. Why it was made that way is unclear. It is unsure whether Bourne had a mental condition or if he was just protective over his sewing machine company secrets.
Probably some of the creepiest elements of the Singer Castle is a sliding wall that reveals a hidden staircase and a picture that allows eavesdropping on whoever is in front of the image. The long corridor also has a dungeon area and several black gates.
Those who are interested can book a suite to stay there for the night, and some have even thrown a wedding party at the castle. There is definitely a lot of history and interest in the old castle’s many features.
While many of the stories on this list deal with cryptic finds from the past, one Imgur user noted an accidental discovery that was very much in the present day. He and his brother were play-fighting on their parents’ bed when they accidentally hit a nearby bookcase too hard. The furniture opened up and revealed a hidden passageway.
The brothers were curious enough to investigate the new finding, and when they traveled down the spiral case, they found a crawl space that had clearly housed a living person sometime in the recent present.
There were pieces of Halloween candy and a fresh banana peel. The user said in his post that he had recognized the wrappings as his. “Someone came into my room, took my bag, and brought it back in here,” he said.
The boys told their parents, who called the police. Authorities also found dolls, a skeleton key, and a carving of an elephant in the space. It is no surprise that the original poster said he does not like to be at home by himself as a result of this disturbing discovery.
Dunnerden is home to a software company co-founder named Doug Carlston, and from the outside, the Aspen residence resembles a typical log cabin. On the inside is a different story, as it has about 1,700 feet of secret passageways. Several guests have also reportedly gotten lost trying to navigate through the home.
The labyrinth-like layout includes a Room of Doom, where guests are encouraged to stand on a rocky ledge overlooking a waterfall. You can swim through a shoot or jump through the waterfall, landing in a swimming pool.
A Reddit user described his discovery of a small door in his attic as the kind of area where he was “pretty sure nothing good happened here.” The door was built into a plywood partition and was four feet high and four feet and a half across. There was also a metal grate across the door and a fish-eye hook to lock out the outside.
The user said he had to stoop down to get inside, where he found a fitted bed, a foam mattress, a tiny window, and some shelves. The head of a church had previously owned the house, so it is especially curious why someone would be stowed away in such a small space.
Another user on Imgur said he had noticed an unusual pothole while he was walking around his house. A window was overgrown with ivy, and while he was inspecting his basement, he saw an unexpected pothole.
After cleaning up the area, he said he saw a door that concealed an enormous pile of old junk. There were parts to old doors, plumbing pipes, and newspapers dating back to 1977. Nothing too out of the ordinary until he saw a gargoyle with a particularly evil look on its face. It may be happenstance, but the user wondered why such a creepy statue would be kept hidden away like that.
Cristhian Perez is a home inspector in Tampa, Florida, when he uncovered a hidden room on a property during a home inspection. The room was dark and small, and it was tucked behind an exterior wall of an attic.
Upon closer inspection, there was definitely someone living there without anyone’s knowledge about it. Perez said there was a small bed, an annotated map of the city, and empty food cans. The homeowners said they had lived in the house for more than 25 years, and they had no idea someone was squatting in their space. Perez speculated that someone was once held captive in the attic.
The Winchester Mystery House is located in San Jose, California, and, based on its reputation, it may be the single most peculiar story in American architecture. The residence was built by Sarah Winchester, who was the widow of the gun magnate William Wirt Winchester.
The giant estate has a tragic backstory, as construction began after the sudden deaths of her daughter in 1866 and her husband in 1881. Legend has it that a medium had warned Sarah that her husband’s gun empire was cursed, those souls that were lost as a result would be out for revenge, and the house was to be for her and the souls, and if Sarah ever stopped building, she would die.
When the massive earthquake of 1906 rocked San Francisco, Sarah Winchester thought that it was because evil spirits were rising for revenge. She commanded a room to be boarded up as a retaliation.
Construction continued for nearly 40 years until Sarah’s death in 1922. The house reportedly cost the equivalent of $79 million today. The boarded-up room was not discovered until years later, and according to researchers, the mansion is one of the most haunted locations in the whole country. “Winchester” is a supernatural thriller film about the house that supposed ghosts built and Sarah Winchester, who is played by Helen Mirren.
Though it may not happen often, it can be unsettling to find an unexpected room or possible paranormal element in your house. Several secret passageways were typically built in castles and mansions owned by heads of the state, rich people, and organized criminals.
Some of the rooms had been left untouched for decades, while others were probably never meant to be seen. It is certainly unnerving to think that you can live your healthy life without knowing what – or who – is lurking in the walls or around the corner.