You can't judge a house by its front door, but these workers are "lucky" enough to catch a glimpse of what's really going on in your odd neighbor's house. From installers to EMTs to one poor locksmith, these people have seen the grossest, the weirdest, and the scariest secrets hidden in complete strangers' homes. Hopefully they got tipped well.
All content has been edited for clarity.
"I used to work home theater installations with Geek Squad. Most people are pretty cool. Houses are usually tidy, but then there were others.
I walked up to one house, TV carried by myself and my partner. Customer greets us. I am waiting behind my partner as he bends down to take off his shoes. I look into the house and see garbage piles everywhere and directly ahead 3 overflowing cat litter boxes. The customer glances backwards and laughs a bit, then tells us to keep our shoes on. I've never seen someone put shoes back on so fast in my life. The rest of the house had leftover food on plates everywhere and even more garbage.
Then I had to hook up a stereo system and in order to get it connected, I had to lie on the carpet. I could smell something after a moment. It smelled off and then I put two and two together after overhearing the customer greeting someone at the door.
Apparently a child had puked on the floor and they had just cleaned it up. I bathed in sanitizer that day."
"I was a delivery driver and went on a delivery to a house pretty far out into the country. The woman that answered the door was probably mid-40’s and only had lingerie on. She asked me to come inside since she forgot her wallet and it was cold outside, then talked about how 'her husband usually pays but he’s not here.'
Oh and I forgot to mention, as soon as I stepped inside my eyes were assaulted with the mounted heads of every game animal I could think of. Not one space was left on their walls. And directly to the right of the door was a fully taxidermied mountain lion. I noped out of there as soon as I got the cash."
"I babysat for this odd family of 2 half siblings. A bit of a sad situation, but the house was absolutely filthy all the time, like 13-year-old-boy's-room filthy but on steroids, all over the house, with 4 people living in it. They had 4 large, untrained dogs too.
The kids were (when I started) 3 and 7 years old. They were both very, very behind, and the 3 year old could play video games better than I could, but he couldn’t talk for the most part (he was never really taught). The 7 year old was very different, and I couldn’t help but to see on the calendar that she goes to therapy like twice a week.
Anyway, the parents were extremely - different. Both like 6’5, mom had blue hair, dad was super awkward with hair down to his chest. Mom always talked to me about murder shows and stuff. I really enjoy shows like that, but this lady was new-level obsessed. She even suggested that her own daughter resembled some of the murderers on the shows. When they went out and I would come over, they were usually out drinking, wearing very weird, provocative leather clothes. They’d come home at like 2 am, stumble in, and under pay me.
Now to the good part. I didn’t babysit for them for a good 3 months because it was summer and the mother-in-law did it because she wasn’t working. When October rolled around, she asked me to come on one weird Wednesday night as she was going to a bar. I came over, the older kid was gone (with her dad), and the mom's husband was out of town. So it was just mom leaving me with the now almost 5-year-old boy. Having not been here in a while, I noticed the house was much messier. The kid is almost 5 and STILL IN DIAPERS.
So this kid was playing video games and running all over when he lost. One time, he ran all the way to the garage, opened the garage door (just the door leading to the garage, not the actual garage), and left it open when he came back. I didn’t notice this until maybe 5 minutes later, when I went to shut it. On my way back, I see a MASSIVE, and I mean, size of a small avocado, tarantula sitting on the messy, disgusting kitchen floor.
I completely freak out, kid still in the other room, and get up on a stool. I took a picture of it, sent it to the mom and said, 'Just saw this on the kitchen floor. I want to make sure it’s not a pet or anything before I put it outside or kill it.' (I honestly don’t think I could’ve killed it considering how enormous it was.)
She soon replied, "That’s a tarantula. I have a family of them living in my garage, don’t kill it just leave it alone.'
I’m like WHAT. At this point, the enormous freaking tarantula had crawled under some junk, and despite my poking around with a broom, I am still unaware about its whereabouts.
Normally when I babysit, I do quite a bit of cleaning. Today was not one of those days though. I was too scared! I went to the couch, checked it out for tarantulas, then sat my butt down and didn’t move until the lady got home.
Upon getting home (2:30 am on a Wednesday) she was in an angry, wasted mood. She said, 'Oh have you seen my garage? I renovated it so now it’s my own little thinking space just for me.' Oooook.
So she leads me in there, it’s this weird set up with a couple couches, ash trays, and curtains everywhere. She causally pointed to a corner and said, 'Oh that’s where all the tarantulas live. A couple years ago a mama tarantula had all her babies here. When we find them in the house, we just leave them - they’ll find their way back.'"
"I worked for a woman as a gardener/landscaper in high school for extra cash. After a few months of doing regular things around her property, she asked me to dig about two dozen holes maybe two feet deep and two feet wide. Thinking we were planting trees, I recommended we space the plots out more. That's when she pointed to the freezer and said I would be burying her dead cats.
This was in 2006, and upon opening the freezer, I found dead cats dated back to the early 80's. They were wrapped up and labeled and everything. The more freshly deceased cats were put in vacuum sealed bags. Not a fun sight. Buried them all, got paid and never went back."
"I used to fix computers in people's homes. Rolled up to a house one day and knew I was in for a treat when I could see those hazy nicotine stains on the inside of the windows. The owner, a decrepit old dude, opens the door and I'm hit by a wall of cat-poop-meets-chain-smoking-hoarder smell and still entered the house instead of just nope'ing out of there.
He slowly leads me to his computer and I notice the area around his sofa and his easy chair is covered in tons of black marks that are about 2-3 inches long. Oh, he also has a big oxygen tank nearby with all the support equipment to keep him breathing. I was so busy concentrating on fixing this guy's problem and leaving this dump behind that I didn't give it a second thought until I left his computer area to tell him his sound didn't work because some rodents ate all of his speaker cables. I walk out and he's passed out on the sofa with his oxygen mask on and a lit cig sitting next to him on the sofa, slowly burning a line in the cushion.
I snuffed that cig out on his crusty end table, jumped out the front door and called 911 to tell them they needed to get someone down here to do a wellness check on that old man before he blows the doors off his house."
"I’m an EMT and from time to time we go out with the fire department or police department for wellness checks. On one such call, we arrived at a home of an elderly man whose family hadn't heard from in a week.
Knock on the door, peek through the windows, don’t see anything because the windows are covered. The family tells us where to find the spare key, so we open the door and are greeted with the most horrid smell ever. Instantly everyone knows he’s dead and has been cookin' for a bit in here. We move in and see this is a hoarder house. Just like the show there are piles of garbage, junk and god knows what else in that house. There were rats the size of small cats scampering around us as we looked for the guy.
One of the firefighters found him wedged between the bed and wall covered in junk. His toes had been gnawed on by the rats. As the firefighter was clearing the stuff off the body his eye suddenly pops open and he grabs the firefighter by the hand, scaring the living daylights out of all of us. We rushed him to the hospital where he died a few weeks later. From what a nurse told us, he fell while getting out of bed and broke his hip. While trying to get himself up, he got buried under a pile of junk until we found him."
"I used to be an in-home counselor, meaning I would have to visit with clients in their homes. When I arrived to this particular home, it looked like a nice home from the outside. I was relieved because most of the houses I went in were just dumps. I knocked on the door, and a man came to the door. He said, 'Hold on I have to get mommy.' This man had to be late 60’s early 70’s.
A woman, also same age, came to the door and said, 'What do you think, daddy? Do we like her?' Really creeped out at this point, I said, 'I’m here just to provide counseling for your grandson.' The woman said, 'We know...but you are awful pretty. Maybe we could work out another arrangement as well. Your eyes are mesmerizing.'
I told them I was sick and booked it out of there. I called my supervisor immediately after."
"In my college days, I spent a couple of summers doing HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) related work in Oklahoma. My job took me all over the state as we were subcontracted to a major energy supplier.
One day, I was sent to a home in the Edmond, OK area to do a job. I was alone which was typical. I called the customer the morning of to confirm the appointment for the afternoon and the woman sounded perfectly normal and polite. I finish my morning job and call her again to let her know I am en route to her home. Same thing, all good.
I arrive to a slightly above average size home in the heart of Edmond-which is a pretty affluent city. I introduce myself to the customer and notice that she is dressed very conservatively and so is her ~10 year old son. Long skirt, plain shoes and blouse for her and black pants, vest, plain shoes and a button up shirt for the boy. No big deal. I just figure they're like Mennonites or some other subsect of religion that I'm not very familiar with.
The woman led me to her home's HVAC equipment area and told me to holler if I needed anything. While leading me to the work area, I noticed the two of them were cooking up a FEAST in the kitchen. I thought it had to be a celebration for something because there was enough food to feed 25-30 people. Still, no big deal to me. My family loves to eat too.
So, I begin my work by checking the temperature of the air coming through the HVAC vents all throughout the house to establish a baseline. I go room to room to check all of the vents and I come to one that is locked. Listening, I could tell that there are a number of young girls locked in this room and they appear to be studying something or doing some type of homeschooling. That's no big deal because I know how conservative they seem already. I go about my work.
Once finished with the install, I begin to recheck all of the temperatures to ensure that I have done my job correctly and that the equipment is working reliably. Again, I go room to room to check and I walk into the master bedroom for the last measurement. I don't know how I missed it before but I noticed it this time for sure.
On the parent's nightstand was a 12x16 framed picture of Warren Jeffs.
I nearly pooped my pants.
The pieces of the puzzle immediately began snapping into place and I freaked! I immediately remembered that the number I had called that morning and afternoon was out of Utah. I realized that the boy was allowed to see or meet me but that was probably forbidden for the girls. I realized that all of the food was not for a celebration and instead this was a normal day; all the men away at work and the women and children at home keeping house.
Knowing what I knew of Warren Jeffs and the atrocities he had committed against young children under the guise of religion, I noped right on out of there without so much as a goodbye. I called my supervisor and told him the info and his only concern was if the job was done or if he needed to send someone to finish up. The work was already done but someone had to go educate the customer on how to control the new equipment.
I'm not overly religious but I do believe in good and evil and anybody who has a shrine to a man like Jeffs is closer to evil than good in my book."
"I used to work for a large bank as an investment banker (one of the big 4 in America). I didn't go on this trip, but one of my coworkers went to a potential (big ticket) customer's house to talk about moving his accounts over and he had chicken bones everywhere. On the tables, on the floor, on the counters, just everywhere. He halfway apologized to my coworker and she responded, 'Oh, no big deal, my house looks like this too.'
After leaving, the guy she took with her said, 'You have chicken bones laying around at your house?' She said, 'Heck no, I just wanted to make the sale.'"
"I worked in the moving industry for 15 years. I'd estimate I've been in no less than 10,000 occupied homes. There are no weird or scary things that could surprise me. But the weirdest thing I ever saw was on a move where we were to load a Pod container. The woman we were helping was strange from the beginning.
She would walk us to each piece she wanted us to move and accompany us outside with it before she would show us the next piece, which sucked because there were only three of us working. Also her dog was making a super annoying whining noise. Really super annoying. Like so annoying I couldn't ignore it any more and when she went outside with the other two, I stuck my head in the kitchen to get a peek. I should not have. What I saw will forever haunt my memories. It cannot be unseen.
This poor animal had no legs. They had all been amputated. It was covered in bed sores and half furless. It was in the bottom half of a plastic kennel and had gnawed the edges all around. When it saw me it began to wriggle and flop about. Its whining became faster and more excited. I was sick. I could smell it. I could feel myself go stark white.
I could hear one of my crew return and when he saw me I got the church giggles. You know the ones. Completely insuppressible. I quickly said, 'Don't look dude' and ran outside to hide and laugh behind the pod. I was quickly met by partner one, then partner two. We were in total hysterics. The woman just had to know what we saw. So I pulled it together the best I could, wiped my tears, and billed her so we could leave and never ever ever come back."
"Retired locksmith here. I've been in hundreds, maybe thousands, of homes over the years. Usually when I'm called in something has gone wrong. Domestic situations, stolen purses and wallets, all sorts of stuff. A few houses stand out in my mind.
Most of my career was spent in Atlanta. The last five years I worked in a mid-sized town built around a military base. One time I get called to rekey a door inside this house. It's always going to be weird when there are key-locked doors inside the interior.
Anyway I show up and this small, average woman comes out with a small dog. She sounds like she's been running a marathon or about to die from asphyxiation. COPD in a bad way. Immediately I'm thinking she should get rid of the animal. I go inside and meet the cats, dozens of them. I do my job, it goes quickly, I go back inside to install the lock and while I'm looking down it looks like the color on my pants is moving. Fleas. Millions of them.
I get away from the house as quickly as I can and spent the rest of the day delousing myself and my van."
"One house in particular stands out in my memory. I've met a lot of hoarders. It's sad and gross. Usually more sad than gross. I've seen gross homes, trash everywhere, animal messes, and people living in it like animals. This house I went into holds the absolute pinnacle of nastiest place I've even been in. I've literally been to cleaner garbage dumps.
This was a small house in a so-so neighborhood near the military base. I open the door for the realtor and we push the door open. The smell of a billion rotting butts hits us. Both of us backed off immediately. It was instantly nauseating. The realtor suggests we open the back door to see if the house will air out enough to go inside. We open it and back off.
Within twenty minutes the entire neighborhood comes out to find the source of the smell. The cops came and put on hazmat suits to search for bodies, none found. The house was eventually condemned and torn down."
"I've also found dead bodies in homes, twice. Once in Atlanta when I'd been on the job for about six months. Old man with no family died in his sleep in his recliner and went undiscovered for three months. My last year on the job I opened the house of a man who had cancer. The cops and his son called me out to open it up. He was dead just inside the door.
I've encountered domestic disputes and murder scenes too. There was a particularly savage murder in a little house in a small country town. I got called to secure the house because the keys were lost and the detectives needed to secure the crime scene. So. Much. Blood.
Another time I pulled into a driveway to make a key to a truck and a woman was on a balcony above it throwing everything down onto the truck that she possibly could. Screaming the whole time. I pulled back out to the curb so the husband could try to calm her down. A neighbor ended up calling the cops and I watched everyone end up getting arrested."
"The most frightening thing that ever happened to me was the night I was roofied and used as a toy by a woman.
I was 20, in top shape, and I got called to secure an apartment for a woman in Roswell. It was my last call of the day and I was in no hurry. I chatted with the lady while I worked. She was exercising on a treadmill wearing some tight workout clothes. She was pretty, mid to late thirties. As I was finishing the job she offered me a bottle of water. I noticed the seal was broken but didn't think anything of it. She has me sit on the couch to handle paying me and while I'm sitting there the world starts getting very long.
My memory comes in and out but I can see her unclothed body on me and hear her yelling at me, but I can't understand the words. I wake up the next day, clothes gone, on her floor next to the couch. She rushed me out and I went home. It took a few days for my head to clear enough to realize what happened. I was twenty, single, and if she'd wanted to smash I would have done it. The tainted water wasn't necessary. I was peeved.
I went back to confront her but never caught her at home again. Over the years I realized what it was really all about. She wanted power over me, or probably any man or every man. I also realized if she'd wanted to kill me she could have and I would have been unable to defend myself. I got tested for diseases and thankfully was clean and then I let it go.
I told the guys I worked with about it. They didn't believe I was roofied but congratulated me on nailing a hot chick. I would work as a locksmith for 19 more years, but NEVER accepted food or drink from anyone ever again. I still don't."
"My former coworker had a creepy encounter. We were cable installers. He did a 3 TV install at a house. Once he was done with the living room and master bedroom, he asked which of the other bedrooms to do. The home owner walked him to the attic, pulled down the ladder, climbed up it and motioned to the far corner of the attic. There was a small, walled-off room with a kid's bed, toys, decorations and a small TV inside. The door to the room had sliding bolt locks on the outside.
He did the install and got out of there fast. The home owner was a professional clown. Months later, I did the install for his neighbor and bumped into the same guy. I didn't know who he was until after I conferred with the other installer. Even before I knew who he was, I was getting creepy vibes."