One day in 2011 a YouTube user who calls himself “cyrex686” decided to a drill a hole in the wall of the storage unit he apparently called home. “I, er, noticed that there were these things down here… circular, whatever,” he said, indicating where he had found two strange-looking patches on the wall.
He had hammered on one of them, he said, and it had sounded hollow. So he drilled a hole in it and found that it was made of wood. In fact, the circular patch was just a wooden plug, and it popped right out of place.
“I thought it was just like two big pipes here, but it’s not,” cyrex686 explained, indicating the exposed circular hole. “It actually turns out that entirely behind this wall here is another like secret passage or something. Which I think I can enter through this hole I’ve started up here.”
The building, explained cyrex686, was a century-old industrial property that had been converted into numerous smaller units. And as for the hidden compartment, he said, “Our best guess is it was sealed off in the 1980s.” Shining a light inside didn’t reveal much, either, so it was time to open it up.
Of course, it wasn’t really cyrex686’s wall to knock a hole in, but he did it anyway. And why did he do so? Well, he never really explained, but sometimes curiosity has to be obeyed. So cyrex686 and his buddies managed to pop out the large circular plug and peek inside…
On the other side of the wall was a room. Its discovery prompted YouTube commenters to speculate about its function, who may have built it, what it might have been used for and what – with a little imagination – might be done with it now. Their comments were by turns plausible and outrageous.
For example, the most popular comment was contributed by CrafterBox. “You should put a painting over the big whole [sic],” he wrote. “You would be unbeatable at hide and seek.” And it seems true, in theory at least: it would likely be some time before anyone would even consider looking for you behind a painting.
Elsewhere, a lot comments focused on dark and macabre imaginings. Some saw a hidden torture chamber, human remains and serial killers. Others suggested that a supernatural entity may have been set free thanks to the poster’s careless act of opening a hole in the wall.
Meanwhile, Bud Watson suggested a most unexpected use for the room. “From that point on,” he wrote, “you found out that those guys were not really your friends. When you had reached the end of the room, you turned around as you saw your friends plugging the hole up.”
And one commenter called Louie Alouie decided to take things perhaps too far. “People have the stupidest ideas of what this room really is,” he wrote. “It’s obviously a room used to fornicate with goats.” Worryingly, his comment got more than a hundred recommends.
Among the most popular theories was that the room was once used for the illicit production of marijuana. Or even if it wasn’t, that it ought to have been. “What you just stumbled upon is a hidden Hydro Cannabis Grow room,” wrote a user called PoolBoysTX12. And when you look at the evidence, it almost makes bleary-eyed sense.
“Vent shaft for squirrel fan to move the air out,” he explained. “The metal plumbing was used for hydro phonics [sic] watering system.” Indeed, any sort of hydroponic setup would require ventilation and irrigation; after all, plants need oxygen and water as well as light.
So where exactly would the lighting rig feature in this alleged grow room? And how would it work? “The pile of wood with the rope was used for a weight for lowering the lights to plant level,” PoolBoysTX12 continued. “Look at the corner of that room, there is a small pulley system.” A-ha – ingenious!
PoolBoysTX12 also added, “I would be surprised if you researched your address with police records and didn’t see a drug case. Good luck…” However, the hydroponic grow room theory turned out to be a dud. “Everyone wants it to be,” wrote cyrex686. “But it never was.”
So, then, if the room wasn’t used for growing marijuana (or for fornicating with goats), what exactly was it used for? Well, in fact, although the room had nothing to do with hydroculture, its function was connected to water. A few commenters guessed “septic tank,” which was close – but not quite right.
“I think it was for liquid chemical storage,” wrote cyrex686. “There are hookups on the outside next to the rail spur line used to supply the factory that was here before.” Another plausible theory, but one that may not be entirely correct.
The room, according to several commenters, was indeed a storage tank – but not for waste or chemicals. It was, in all probability, a water cistern – a reservoir of water, like a well, maintained for household use. In the days before piped water supplies, cisterns would often be filled with captured rainwater from the roof.
Technically, it may well be possible to repair the cistern and put it into service again. But modern amenities obviously render that unnecessary. Besides, cryex686 may now want to renovate the room and convert it into some sort of insalubrious den.
In fact, he apparently did do something with the room after sharing his videos of it. “It’s been a few years since I made this video,” he later wrote in response to a comment. “I found another secret room next to the original secret room. I was thinking of showing what I’ve done with the room since then… And the secret passageway, I found, which I’ve not gotten into yet, but found the entrance.”
However, he made that comment in 2016 and still hasn’t made good on his promise. We might wonder whatever happened to cyrex686. Did he manage to enter the “secret passageway?” Or did he disappear into a labyrinth of secret rooms? Some questions, perhaps, are best left unanswered.
This Imgur user’s secret room took a little less effort to find, however. The trapdoor entrance was right there under his nose, you see, and he just hadn’t had the courage to open it. But when a handyman finally did prize it open, what lay inside was dark and strange.
People go wild in the woods. People go crazy in the woods. And sometimes, inexplicably, people go missing in the woods. Perhaps that’s why one high-strung guy never had the nerve to open the trapdoor in his woodland cabin… until now…
It’s certainly a peaceful scene, with sunlight streaming through the windows. But was it a coincidence that the owner of this cabin had positioned a heavy table on top of the trapdoor? Or on the other hand, had he somehow sensed, darkly, that whatever was down there needed to stay down there, ignored and forgotten?
Had the idea of opening it gnawed at his curiosity, like an insistent animal scratching to get in? Had he in fact lain awake in the early hours, sleepless, listening to the nocturnal sounds of the forest, his mind churning over the grim possibilities? Indeed, did he wonder if he would ever muster the courage to do what needed to be done?
The cabin owner went by the name SirBumpsALot on image-sharing website imgur. Posting photos of his dark experience in 2015, he wrote, “Never had the guts to open it… Handyman came by and was all too eager to have a look.” And so began his unforgiving journey into the underworld.
In fact, it soon became clear that SirBumpsALot had been right to be cautious about opening the trapdoor. The wood, he soon discovered, was rotten and crawling with venomous funnel-weaver spiders. Bites from these arachnids can rot human flesh, so finding a nest of them here wasn’t ideal.
Of course, killing spiders – no matter how venomous or skin-crawling – isn’t just unnecessary and cruel; it’s bad luck. So one by one, SirBumpsALot and the handyman collected every hobo and wolf spider and released them elsewhere. Critters safely removed, it was then time to shine a light on the world below.
Was it wise to go looking in hidden places? Yawning beneath them, a hole receded into darkness. Down there were unfathomable shapes, shadows and, as they would soon discover, grizzly sights not easily explained.
But first they shone a flashlight to and fro, casting its beam over the cellar. There were walls, gray and concrete, forming stark outlines and tomb-like enclosures. The air, meanwhile, was damp and malodorous and tinged with the scent of iron… like rust, or, perhaps, blood? There was a ladder. And down it went into the blackness…
“Yeah, creepy…” wrote SirBumpsALot. “There seems to be a faucet. And ventilation. A bomb shelter maybe? Or a cistern?” In fact, as he would soon discover, the basement may even have served more sinister purposes. Casting the flashlight back and forth, peering closer, he suddenly saw it… A sight so gross and grotesque that it was almost sick-making.
“Unidentified gnarliness” was actually how SirBumpsALot described it. Because in the corner of the room, there appeared a concrete trough filled with gelatinous slime. In fact, the hideous trough was just large enough to hold a human body…
Still, unfazed by the gruesome possibility that a tub of liquefied human remains had been rotting under his cabin, SirBumpsALot then lowered a stick inside the trough. He began prodding, sensing some resistance as he did so. “Broke up the unidentified gooey mass,” he wrote on imgur.
In fact, whatever had been inside the trough, festering there for weeks or months or years, was clearly an organic substance. The walls of the trough were crusted with scum and mold. And what appeared to be roots, black and tentacle-like, had burgeoned in the soup despite the absence of light.
Had any hapless hikers recently vanished in the area? Was there any reason to suspect the worst? As SirBumpsALot stood over the open hole, perhaps pondering his next move, did he recall any missing-person stories that he may have skimmed over in the local newspapers? What did he do next?
He went down there, of course, to find out more. Gripping the rusted metal ladder, he descended step by step into the crypt-like vault. Swallowed by darkness, he cast his flashlight over the walls, the floor and, finally, the trough. In fact, nothing was as it had first seemed.
“Turns out it was just a tangle of roots soaking in the rusty water,” he later wrote on imgur. Phew. “But we also seem to have some of the Super Mario movie fungus. Looked pretty sinister, dotted with gooey drops of who-knows-what sort of nope-erry.” Indeed, a face mask and a machete are essential kit in these circumstances.
However, he would soon discover that there was yet more to his basement than mere roots, fungus and stagnant water. “Built as a cellar for cleaning game maybe?” he speculated. “Cold storage? A bunker?” And then, casting his light on a back wall, he saw something peculiar.
“The back wall had a little opening,” wrote SirBumpsALot. Strange indeed. So what was this ominous hole? Where did it lead, and what was its function? And would he yet come to regret venturing into his cellar?
Shining a light inside, he discovered a pile of charred remains. But without any furnace or any boiler or apparatus there, it was not quite clear why anyone would have lit a fire in the basement. Neither was it clear exactly what had been burned down there.
Sensibly, SirBumpsALot decided to close the door and reinforce it “so no one falls through into the underworld.” He added, bravely, “Looks like we’re just going to leave that closed for now and brainstorm possible uses for when the time is right…”
That sounds like a job for the handyman… Meanwhile, until SirBumpsALot summons the courage to disturb whatever unclean spiritual forces might be lurking down there, he has his dog to comfort him. Hug tight, SirBumpsALot, and fear not the dark places.