Homeownership is a classic example of the American Dream: a white-picket fence, a little grill in the back, a small bit of land for you to call your own. Of course, there is certainly no shortage of problems that can arise for a new homeowner. Many people have moved into their perfect house only to find some less-than-perfect issues such as old plumbing, rotted wood, or cracks in the foundation.

Fixing up a house you just bought can be very frustrating, but likely pales in comparison to the ordeals that befell these unlucky home buyers. Here are eight things that you definitely do not want to discover in your new home.

A Creepy Secret Room in the Attic

As the dark, dusty, cobweb-covered no man’s land atop our homes, the attic is an inherently creepy place. How can you make such a space even creepier? Try adding a secret room with a few unsettling details.

That is exactly what happened to a homeowner who discovered a disturbing room hidden in the attic of his newly purchased home and posted the details on Reddit. The man spied the door in the back of his attic as he was putting some boxes away.

The first suspicious item was the door: it was narrow, about four feet tall, and had a metal grate covering a window-like hole. It was immediately clear this isn’t just an extra storage space.

Upon opening the door, things got really weird. Inside the door was a room with a single light and a shelf-like bed with a thin, sad, yellow foam “mattress.” The wall had a few built in shelves for holding…what exactly? Porcelain figurines? Glass jars? Who knows!

Perhaps what’s so unnerving about the room is that whoever was living in that room was given the bare minimum of comforts. Enough conveniences that suggest that somebody (or something?) was residing in said room for at least some amount of time.

And just when the room couldn’t get any weirder, the homeowner noticed that there was no door knob on the inside of the room, which means whoever was in the room was locked in until let out. This is also a good time to point out that the house in question is in a remote location, where any potential screams would fall only on the ears of the forest.

All in all, it is a pretty safe bet that the owner won’t be turning the sad creepy secret attic room into a loft office anytime soon.

A Snake Party Under Your House

image
Alex Zivatar

Most people don’t mind seeing a garter snake in the wild—these small little snakes are largely harmless and can make for a fun nature hike sight. Seeing one in your home? That’s less fun and usually comes with some startled screams and improvised attempts to shoo it out. But owning a house infested with hundreds of garter snakes who slither under your feet and within the walls at all hours of the night? That’s the stuff nightmares are made of.

That is exactly what happened to the Sessions family who bought their five-bedroom home in Idaho with an assurance from their real estate agent that the previous owner’s claim of a snake infestation was just a “fake story.” It turned out to be horrifyingly real.

The home was apparently built on a garter snake den. Snake dens attract snakes year after year as a place for the squirmy reptiles to huddle together during times of cold weather. The snakes were all over the property and slithered their way into the siding and walls of the home. Smelly snake pheromones got into the family’s well water supply and each night the couple could hear the snakes inside the walls as they tried to sleep.

Eventually, after Ben Sessions tried his best to reclaim his house from the snakes—at one point killing 42 of them in a single day—the family flew the white flag of surrender and made plans to move out. Ben now says the house should be condemned and that he’s been diagnosed with “snake-related post-traumatic stress disorder,” proving that snake-infested houses are the terrifying gift that keeps on giving.

A Secret Toxic Room 

image
Alex Zivatar

Finding a secret room in a house you recently purchased can be an exciting moment. One’s mind races to think there could be hidden treasure or interesting historical artifacts. But in the case of Jason and Kerri Brown, the secret room they uncovered in their recently purchased Greenville, South Carolina, home came with a note and a warning:

“You Found It! 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.”

The note came as a shock to the couple who had just moved in with their 2-year-old daughter. An official test later confirmed the worst of what the note mentioned: the room and the home contained high levels of toxic black mold.

The previous owner who wrote the note had defaulted on their mortgage and wrote a letter to the bank warning of the toxic conditions, but the Brown family was never informed. The Browns sued the broker and Fannie Mae, the home loan corporation, claiming each entity should have known about the dangerous conditions. Going forward, the family will make sure they have any future purchased property aggressively checked for dangerous mold.

A Mouse Graveyard In Your Ceiling

“We have seen a mouse”—that was the note discovered by a homebuyer while doing a second walk-through of a house that he had already seen in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse neighborhood. The buyer was not fazed by some of the house disclaimers, such as a tiny unfinished basement, a somewhat sloppy current owner, or the mention of a small furry, cheese-eating roommate. The charming nature of the home’s pine flooring and ceiling was enough to win the buyer over.

A few months later the new homeowner discovered a “fine blue powder” that had seemed to fall from the ceiling. An investigation beyond the charming pine ceiling planks revealed that there was a better explanation for the smell of the house than a messy owner. The new homeowner explained that “Blue powder, [expired] mice, skeletons, and droppings rained from the ceiling. Removing the entire ceiling revealed dozens and dozens mice in various stages of decay.”

It turns out that the blue powder was from poison packets that had been tossed into the ceiling to kill the “mouse”—singular—that the note had warned about.

Oozing Walls

Latanja Levine received some unwanted decorating around her Texas home one day when she discovered the walls were covered with a sticky amber-colored substance. The oozing addition was honey from the bee infestation Levine had just recently learned about during a roof repair.

Workers discovered some 50,000 bees in the upper rafters of Levine’s home; those bees’ presence led to small rivers of honey snaking their way all over the two-story home, collecting on the floor into golden puddles of Winnie the Pooh’s favorite snack. The honey was everywhere according to Levine: “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.”

The bees were smoked out by authorities but they could not confirm the death of the queen, which means Levine could be in for a second helping of the sweet stuff if the bee colony forms again.

The Previous Owner’s Mummified Body

Sometimes new homeowners can have issues with the previous owner. In the Spanish seaside town of Roses, new homeowner Jorge Giro had a very unexpected encounter with his house’s previous owner when he found her mummified body in his newly bought house.

Giro bought the house at auction so his first visit there was after he had already purchased it. Apparently the Spanish bank that sold Giro the house had no idea their auction item contained the corpse of the previous owner, who had not paid her mortgage in six years (for reasons that are all-too-obvious to the bank now). The body was well-preserved thanks to the salty sea air of the coastal town.

A Bomb

image
Alex Zivatar

When the DeForest family moved into their Wisconsin home they weren’t expecting that it would come with a shot of adrenaline, but that is exactly what they got when Linda DeForest was cleaning cobwebs in the basement and found what appeared to be some kind of a torpedo.

Her husband, Wally, investigated and, when he realized how heavy the small piece of artillery was, decided to contact his son Josh, who served two tours in Iraq, for an expert opinion. Josh quickly recognized the weapon as a mortar and advised the family to keep their distance and call the authorities as it could still be active.

The local bomb squad arrived on the scene to investigate and concluded that there were no explosives in the device. The DeForests were relieved that their new house did not end up getting spontaneously demo’ed.

32 Human Skeletons

image
Alex Zivatar

When moving into a new neighborhood it’s always great to meet your neighbors. Unless, of course, the neighbors are located under your house. And they’re from the 1700s. And they’re all skeletons. But that is exactly what happened to Catherine McGuigan of Potters Bar, a small town in Hertfordshire, England.

McGuigan had hired builders to dig a basement extension for her 19th-century home when one of them made a startling discovery. What was thought to be a pipe turned out to be bone—from a human skeleton. McGuigan and the builders called the police, fearing that this could have been the unfortunate result of a somewhat recent crime.

Police forensics revealed that the skeleton was at least a hundred years old. Spooked but relieved, the builders continued their work. Then, a few days later, another skeleton was uncovered. Then another. Then seven more.

As the work crew shifted their daily routine from excavation to exhumation, McGuigan did some research and learned that her home was built on the same land as an old Quaker meeting house. Quakers were often barred from being buried in non-Quaker cemeteries so they had likely interned those who passed away in a small garden space on the property.

McGuigan had solved the mystery of how the bodies got there, but was now faced with what to do with the 32 skeletons that the builders had pulled from the earth: “I couldn’t just throw the remains away – my conscience would never have let me do that,” McGuigan wrote. The expense of even just cremating them would have cost her nearly £ 30,000.

Finally, a Quaker cemetery volunteered to inter the remains and did so in a short ceremony that was attended by McGuigan and many of the builders. While most homeowners may have run far away and never come back, McGuigan was very upbeat about the experience and even included a secret memorial behind one of her basement walls to showcase the “history of the house.”

And in another surprise twist, McGuigan fell in love with one of the builders who had assisted her throughout the whole headache—”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.”