The plotline is as old as horror flicks themselves: a couple moves into a house that they’ve gotten a suspiciously good deal on, only to discover why after they’ve signed all the paperwork. (Hint: it’s something creepy.)
A series of eerie misfortunes occurs. At first the couple wants to try to make it work, but then there’s the final straw, and they pack up and leave, usually after some kind of near-death experience.
We don’t often think about these things happening to real-life homeowners, but guess what: movie ideas don’t come from nowhere! Read on for eight things you definitely don’t want to find as a homeowner that have, in fact, been found by homeowners.
Little Girls’ Shoes
Plenty of psychological thrillers and CSI episodes have dabbled in the “people who creepily own kids’ stuff who don’t have kids” domain, and for good reason! It sends shivers down the spine. Six years ago, Reddit user mcmonkey819 asked the question, “Homeowners, what’s the strangest discovery you’ve made in your new home?”
One Reddit user, beefwich, responded: “A box in the basement filled with little girl’s shoes. Hundreds of them, all in the same rough size, all looked fairly unused. We contacted the landlord in hopes to return the forgotten box to the previous tenants– but he told us they were older folks and didn’t have any kids. It creeped my girlfriend out. I took them to Goodwill. Sometimes I would tease her about her shoes. She loved shoes. I’d tell her the shoe-loving homicidal maniac in our attic was eyeing her collection. She did not find it as amusing as I did.”
Thanks but no thanks.
The Previous Tenant’s Mummified Body
In 2007, the Spanish newspaper El País reported that a bank in Roses, Spain, had repossessed a house and sold it in an auction after the owner had stopped paying the mortgage six years before.
The new homeowner, Jorge Giro, was in for a surprise: the home came with the dried-up body of its previous owner.
“Apparently the owner of the house had been dead for some time due to natural causes, which may be the reason she didn’t pay the mortgage,” says Digital Journal. “Because of the salty air in the seaside town, her body was mummified and preserved without decay.”
“You’d think the bank … would have done a basic walk-through after they seized the house for failure to make mortgage payments. Or, you’d think someone from the real estate office would have taken a look around the place before they resold the house at auction,” Cracked comments. “But you’d think wrong.”
In 2016, a similarly eerie discovery was made in a Detroit garage by a potential homebuyer:
A Hidden Room That’s Also Poisonous
In 2005, Jason and Kerri Brown found a sweet deal on a five-bedroom, two-bath house in Greenville, South Carolina. They were stoked—until Kerri and her uncle moved some bookcases and found a passageway leading to a hidden room. In it, there was a note from the previous owner labeled “YOU FOUND IT!” It read:
“Hello. If you’re reading this, then you found the secret room. I owned this house for a short while and it was discovered to have a serious mold problem. One that actually made my children very sick to the point that we had to move out.”
It then went on to provide an email address where the author of the note could be reached for questions. As it turns out, the previous owners were first-time home buyers George and Tricia Leventis, who lived there in 2004. After four months of moving in, their two daughters became ill.
Unable to afford the repairs to fix the problem, Leventis and his wife moved out and rented a place. They had to declare personal bankruptcy and ended up defaulting on the mortgage. Attempts to contact to the mortgage company, the realtor, and the broker went unanswered.
So, he did the only other thing he could think to do: he left a note in the hidden area. “I guess I didn’t want it to happen to someone else,” Leventis told ABC News. “It was our first house. We loved it. I felt horrible but I didn’t want to see someone else get had the way we had. I was worried that if I left a note on the counter, it would get thrown away. I wanted to hide it where I knew someone would find it.”
In 2010, a Goshen, Indiana, family christened their new home with a visit from the city’s bomb squad. It was Linda DeForest’s first week there when she was cleaning the cobwebs between the wall and the rafters in her husband’s “man cave.” What she found was alarming.
“She called me on the phone. She said, ‘Honey I just found a torpedo in our basement!” Wally DeForest told WNDU 16.
Wally said he knew it wasn’t a torpedo, but thought it might be some sort of military weapon. He asked his son, Joshua, who’d had two Iraq tours and who happened to be home for the week from his current Kentucky assignment, to take a look. “As soon as I showed it to him he said, ‘Put that thing right back where you found it.’ He told me it was a mortar and he said it could still be active,’ Wally said.
Enter the bomb squad. As Sgt. Frank Thomas with the Elkhart bomb squad told WNDU 16: “We responded and sent an officer in a bomb suit in to recover it. We put it in our trailer, took it to our disposal range. Once we got it out there, upon closer inspection we did find it to be inert which meant it didn’t have any explosives in it.” But still—quite a scare, amirite?
What happens when the walls of your new Texas fixer-upper are dripping with a dark, gooey liquid? It’s definitely the beginning of a horror movie, right? At the very least, there’s a poltergeist.
Apparently, these are not the only explanations. As USA Today reports: “The cause: Bees, of course. About 50,000 of them, Latanja Levine told Texas’ KIAH, swarming the spaces above the ceiling of her two-story home near Houston.”
That’s right! It was honey all along! From bees!
“It’s coming in from the ceiling, down to the walls,” the homeowner said. “I’m mopping it up, mopping in the walls. It’s all over the curtains here— just honey. They’re probably ruined. When I looked, it’s going to other walls and coming through other places and you can see it’s coming through cracks and crevices in the crown molding.”
Your Ex-Boyfriend From Twelve Years Ago
The specter of an old love can feel very much like a ghost that haunts you, but in some cases, the haunting is more literal.
In 2012, a 41-year-old mother of five from Rock Hill, South Carolina, who asked to be identified only as Tracy, began to suspect something strange was afoot in her attic. She heard unfamiliar noises and noticed that nails were coming through her ceiling.
After checking out the attic with her two older sons, they told her she was just getting old and losing her mind. (Great job, guys!) But that night as she was on her laptop, plaster from the ceiling fell onto her bed, and at 2:30am the bumping from above woke her up. She asked her nephew to come investigate with her.
As ABC News reports: “[Tracy’s nephew] walked to the end of the attic, where a light had been out, and apparently found Tracy’s ex-boyfriend, who was not identified in a police report. The intruder fled the scene on foot … Tracy found cups of urine and feces in the attic, she said. She believed her ex, who had just completed a 90-day jail sentence for stealing her truck, had been living in her attic for at least a few days.”
A Secret Burial Ground
Yup, that’s right. Don’t get too comfortable in your cute new home, because it may literally be sitting atop a mass grave. That’s what happened to Catherine McGuigan, who, although she had been living in her 19th-century home for 11 years with her son, learned something very new about it while trying to build an extension to the house.
Her discovery? The plot was used as a makeshift burial ground for Quakers since the 1700s. This explained the 32 skeletons found by the builders.
Ultimately though, she wasn’t too messed up about it: “…I fell in love with one of the builders. The whole nightmare brought me closer to one of them, Jonathan, 56, and next month we will be getting married. So now, when I look back, I don’t see the skeletons as something awful that happened at all. Instead, I feel grateful – without them I would not have found true love.”
How’s that for a twist ending?
A Whole Bunch Of Snakes
We saved the best for last. Rather, the very, very worst.
In 2009, Ben and Amber Sessions purchased their dream home in Idaho. Something that was not a part of their dream home, but that was a part of their actual home? Snakes. Hundreds and hundreds of snakes. As CBS News reports, “The ground surrounding the home appeared to move at times, it was so thick with snakes.”
Hahahahahahahah. Hold on.
Before moving in, they had signed a document noting the snake infestation, but the real estate agent—a terrible human being—assured the Sessionses that this was just a tall tale created by the home’s previous owners so that they could abandon their mortgage.
But now, here they were, lying awake at night, listening to the slithering in the walls. BECAUSE THEIR WALLS WERE FULL, AND THEIR HOUSE WAS ATOP A DEN, OF LIVE SNAKES.
“At the height of the infestation, Sessions said he killed 42 snakes in one day before he decided he couldn’t do it anymore,” CBS reports. “He had waged war against the snakes and ‘they won.'”
Oh, by the way, Amber was pregnant at the time, and the couple were very worried she would miscarry from the stress. If not the stress, then the snakey water. (Their well water “carried the foul smelling musk that the snakes release as a warning to predators.”)
We have only two words for all of this: HALE. NO.
The Sessionses gave their final HALE NO three months after moving in. They filed for bankruptcy and the house was foreclosed. Ben was diagnosed with snake-related post-traumatic stress disorder, which we didn’t know was a thing, and the couple said that after moving out, they continued to suffer from nightmares and financial ruin.