Nothing offers sanctuary like the four walls of a comfortable house. “Home sweet home” goes the saying, but what happens when a home hides a secret that isn’t so sweet? What would you do if you found a hidden door in your attic? Would you explore? Or would you try to forget you’d ever seen it? Some secrets are best left alone.
10. The Exclusion Zone
“Pretty sure nothing good happened here,” began a post by reddit user NukeStorm in 2014. At the back of his attic he had found a small door built into a plywood partition, just 4 feet high and around a foot-and-a-half across. There was a metal grate across the door and a fish-eye hook for locking out the outside.
The room inside was so low he had to stoop to get inside. There was a fitted bed with a foam mattress, a tiny window and some simple shelves. According to NukeStorm, the previous owner of the house was the head of a church. Perhaps the room had served as a punishment room or space to a hide a badly behaved child.
9. The Crawlspace
A fortnight after moving into his new house in suburban Illinois, reddit user lmbrjack discovered a curious black door at the back of a crawlspace in his basement. Since sharing his dark discovery of its contents in May 2014 he’s provided no further information, claiming the local sheriff’s department has requested his discretion on the matter.
Behind the door a cramped compartment was lined with plastic tarp and soundproof boards. Inside, lmbrjack found an ominous note with the words “save yourself.” There was also a briefcase containing a score of little treasures – watches, rings, silver ingots and foreign money. And, intriguingly, a stack of VHS-C cassette tapes, one of them disturbingly labelled “no, no, no, no.”
8. The Bolt Hole
“Our houselord told us that there might be a hidden room there,” explained reddit user mYNDIG, “and what else to do when you should study for exams than actually go and look?” In 2013 a group of Norwegian students searched their house for a hidden room. They finally found it when one of them pressed on an attic wall, causing it to move.
Apparently dating from the Second World War, the attic bolt hole was reminiscent of Anne Frank’s hideaway in Amsterdam. On the wall there was a map of Britain and France and an alarm to notify the inhabitants of anything happening below. A note in Norwegian said, “If you have a bad stomach, you do not have access.”
7. The Hideaway
The strange noises and cupboard doors left open were sure signs of paranormal activity. At least, that’s what 15 students from Ohio State University thought when weird incidents started to plague their house in 2013. Then they discovered that a maintenance closet was not really a closet at all, but a door to a hidden room.
The room was a complete living area featuring a double bed and a TV. Unknown to the students, an uninvited guest had been living there right under their noses. The phantom lodger was a student called Jeremy who had gained access through a former tenant. He was evicted upon discovery.
6. The Nest
“I’m currently staying at a friend’s house,” wrote teenaged Imgur user TwoBiteBrownie. In 2013 he and his younger brother were playing in their parents’ room when they bumped into a bookcase, causing a hidden door to open. Beyond, a spiral metal staircase wound downwards into darkness.
“Someone was living in our walls,” he wrote. “IN OUR WALLS.” At the bottom of the staircase they discovered a cramped crawlspace leading to a nest-like room littered with food and objects from the house, including a collection of extremely creepy dolls. TwoBiteBrownie claims the police never identified the occupant and his parents boarded up the space thereafter.
5. The Stash
Strange; he’d never noticed it before. In 2015 Imgur user JerryTheC**t was clearing unwanted junk from the basement of his new house when he spotted an unusual plywood sheet fixed to the wall. When he managed to prize it off to expose a mysterious hole, he grabbed his camera and started snapping pictures.
What was inside? Ammo, ammo and more ammo. There was enough firepower in the hidden room for an end-of-days insurrection. Interestingly, among the multi-caliber stockpile was a locked safe. “I contacted a local locksmith who said he would be able to take a look at it on Monday,” wrote Jerry. But to the ire of his online audience, he never posted an update.
4. The Demon Lair
The window was overgrown with ivy, the interior dark. In 2014 Imgur user hickinsauce noticed an unusual porthole while walking around his house. “Some kind of cellar I guess,” he wrote. Inspecting his basement, he discovered some ill-fitted paneling behind a workbench. Prizing back the corner, he discovered a door.
The hidden room concealed a great pile of assorted junk: old doors, plumbing pipes, old newspapers dating to 1977 and a mountain of wooden debris. But searching more closely, hickinsauce discovered a particularly evil-looking gargoyle. A trapped spirit? The demon guardian of the room? Perhaps.
3. The Dungeon
Reddit user demc7 seemed pleased with his new ground floor studio apartment. “Got a great deal on the rent,” he wrote in 2013, “and didn’t realise how much value I got until I moved in and found an area worthy of any movie-grade exploration.” Inside a small utility hatch near the bathroom, a flight of stairs led down to somewhere apparently undiscovered.
“We have a dungeon,” he wrote. Beneath his swish new apartment, formerly an English monastery, a crumbling warren of 19th-century corridors led to a series of eerie underground chambers. In one room there appeared to be a freshly dug hole in the ground and a curious stone platform built into the wall. Was it a bed, a crypt or a sacrificial altar?
2. Joshua’s Room
There were rows of holes in the stairs, offering a disturbing clue to the secret below. In 2015 Imgur user MattBruman was house hunting with his brother when they discovered something deeply weird in an unoccupied house in Michigan. In the basement the lettering on the door had been removed, but the dusty outline of a word was still visible: “Joshua.”
The basement was dank and dilapidated. On the walls a childish scrawl proclaimed a list of unnerving rules. “Stop reading your walls,” they said. “Don’t climb into my room, Isaiah… Stop Watching me.” Why had Joshua been confined to the basement? We may never know, and we can assume that MattBruman didn’t bid for the property.
1. The Basement
How many layers of carpet would be necessary to muffle the sound of basement screams? In 2015 reddit user hopethesewordswilldo noticed the floor felt unusual in one corner of a spare room in his house in Adelaide, Australia. He peeled back not one, not two but three layers of carpet to discover a boarded-up hole.
The dilapidated basement below contained no less than 24 rusty bed frames. “Could be a hostel,” he speculated. “A crammed uni living space or just your good ole fashioned murder dungeon… South Aus is well known for loving a cheeky bit of murder.” Hopesthesewordswilldo may have gained some extra square feet for his property, but now he’ll probably have extra nightmares, too.