When someone buys an older home, they're also buying the history, character, and strange quirks that come with their new house, apartment building, or farm. With a lot of homes being upwards of 100 years old, they're bound to come with some crazy stories.
A Reddit thread recently asked homeowners and realtors to share their stories about the craziest houses they have bought and sold over the years, and what they had to share is beyond insane. The following stories have all been edited for clarity and readability.
"The lady next door to me died and wasn't found until she was more liquid than solid on her living room carpet.
The family couldn't pay the back taxes or something and the house went to HUD to auction. HUD paid for some cleanup, but not to replace the carpet, only steam clean it.
It finally sold and I was talking to the guy who was flipping it, and before I could mention the death, he asked if the house had a water leak under the foundation. When they ripped up the carpet and pad to put down the new flooring, it was really dirty and got all over them and their clothes.
I told him what happened and how HUD went cheap on what to fix before the auction, he got green as a pea and started puking right there on his side of the fence."
"When we were looking to buy a house, we looked at one in which the father of the family committed suicide. You could tell which room it was because it had clearly recently been sheetrocked and painted. It didn't really bother us though, and we didn't get any creepy feelings.
We chose not to put an offer in because the rest of the house needed a lot of work."
"My grandma sells/rents houses in the Denver area. A few weeks ago, I had to help her evict a few college bros from one of her properties.
This is a cottage style home, no second floor, no basement. These guys literally dug a hole in the wood floor and made a basement where they've been throwing trash away for the last year.
It was a living room with a tv and a couple armchairs and a giant hole in the ground filled with ice cream wrappers, pizza boxes, and old smokes."
"When I was looking for my last house, I went with my wife and realtor to look at several houses.
We went to look at one house in particular because it didn't seem like the price they were asking for could be real. It was a huge house sitting on tons of land with outbuildings and it was going for millions under market value.
We got there, and the realtor said: 'Oh, I should mention, a serial killer lived here and when he was put away cops found 11 bodies on the property.'
We told the realtor that we would think it over, but somebody snatched it up before we got around to making up our minds."
"My parents were realtors and also flipped houses.
When I was growing up, I used to help them a lot, usually by cleaning. When I was 12, I was helping with a house that was infested with roaches, and I noticed the closets were smeared with feces and children's handprints. There were fingernail scratches on the insides of the doors as well.
I asked my parents why this was the case, and they told me the old tenants used to lock their toddlers in the closets for days."
"I went to visit my sister in California and once I flew in, I wanted to shower. Well, I took a long enough shower that the mirror was all steamy when I got out. Except for one tiny dot in the middle of the mirror. My immediate thought process was 'oh weird. I guess if you draw on a mirror with expo it won't steam around it.' So I went to go investigate and upon looking right up to it I realized it was a camera.
I freaked and ran out to her room and dressed then went and told her. We went around our back and looked in a utility closet type thing that looked like it was in line with her room. Sure enough, the drywall had been cut away and re-patched at some point. We cut it open and while there was no camera there was a little lens still stuck to the mirror. It's really freaky to think whoever was getting actually spied on and if they ever actually knew."
"A lady wanted me to list her house. I went over and did the routine.
As I was going to the bedroom closet, she yelled, 'Oh no! Don't go in there! It's a horrible mess! It's a walk-in closet, but please don't go in there. It's such a mess and I'm embarrassed.' She went on about it way too long for it to be 'just a mess.'
I left it alone and that was that. The house got listed, and two weeks later, I offered to do an open house. The lady had started packing already because I already helped her find a new house. She left, I went to the open house, and a nice couple came in. They got to the master bedroom and there was a wall of boxes in front of the closet.
I explained that it was a walk-in closet and the last time I was there, the lady said it was just filled to the brim with stuff. The wife wanted to see the closet, and so the husband started moving boxes. I ask him not to and he kept going saying, 'If I'm going to buy a house, I want to see the whole thing.' Well, he kind of had me there because I know they loved everything else about the house and the wife seemed super stoked about the kitchen and the master bath.
The last box was moved and the door was opened. Inside was a 10x10 foot room jam-packed with adult toys. They were each standing up on very nice custom shelving units with glass doors on the front. The glass doors also had numbers made from a home label maker unit. On the inside of the door was a large sheet of paper. Each number had a corresponding name of some guy.
That's when we noticed two large boxes in the corner. Each box contained 36 unopened 'Clone-A-Willy' kits. We stared in amazement for a while and then the husband just lost it. It took a good 20 minutes for him to stop laughing (or at least randomly bursting out in laughter). We put everything back the way it was and that was the end of me letting anyone check out the closet for the rest of the open house.
This couple actually ended up buying the house. There were 183 home-made adult toys in the closet (and a few store-bought ones too)."
"My extended family used to live in a really old house located just north of London. Previously, it used to be Queen Victoria's stop when she was traveling in the area.
I'm told my uncle (mum's sister's husband) when younger never believed in ghosts or spirits and would be the first one to call it a load of rubbish. He was sleeping one night and was awoken by a man staring at him at the end of his bed, dressed in an old army uniform. My uncle froze for a few seconds, panicked and flicked the bedside lamp on and then the man vanished.
He refused to sleep in that room from that night onwards.
We later found out that the man was a previous owner who had returned from the war to find his wife having an affair. He was so furious that his wife reported having told her he would do the worst thing possible to get back at her.
He took his twin sons (toddlers at the time), went to the back of the garden where there was a forest, and shot them both dead before killing himself.
The funny thing is that since my family bought the property, my uncle had twin sons, my mum had twin sons and my uncle's brother (who is also a part owner of the property) had twin sons.
The weirder part is that my brothers and my uncle/aunties kids were playing near the forest when they were in their early teens and kept on saying they heard boys laughing but couldn't see anybody there (not knowing the house's history)."
"A couple bought a house in the 1980s and called me about a year ago wanting to sell it. As we were talking, the wife started telling me about her difficult pregnancies and how she'd been pregnant many times but lost them all. I felt bad for her, but I was wondering what this had to do with anything. That's when the husband piped up and said, 'After the last one, I didn't know what to do. I came home, and the first thing I thought to do was remodel the kitchen. I had to break something!'
He went on about his impromptu kitchen demolition (dishes still in the cabinets and everything). The guy was devastated that they'd lost another baby. He said he was ripping out a corner and he always knew there was a dead pocket there because the span was like three feet, but the closet behind it was only two feet deep. He ripped out the drywall and found a ball of cloth. As he pulled back the layers, he realized it was the skeleton of a baby. It was wrapped up with a teddy bear. He called the police but they never got any type of follow-up on it.
Another time, I was speaking with a realtor about going to a closing where the seller was late. An hour went by and he was still a no-show. The agent was calling and getting no answer. She knew the seller's nephew who let her in once or something, so she called him. He drove over to check on his uncle. He opened the door and there was the uncle, dead on the floor. He was wearing his coat and had one shoe on. He died putting his shoes on before he left to go to the closing. The buyers still bought the house, but it took a few extra weeks to close.
Another one from my own experience was a house I was asked to sell. It was a fixer-upper, but it was on a nice plot of land. The sellers had some weird relationship going on. She was in her 20s and he was in his 50s, they were married, but she called him 'daddy' and she wore revealing clothing. They were not well-off by any means, so it's not like she was with him for the money. I decided to Google their names to see what came up. They'd been busted for running a puppy mill in the garage and all the dogs were discovered frozen solid in the dead of winter and severely malnourished. After that, I just ignored them. I couldn't even talk to them to tell them I wasn't going to list their house."
"I once ran into a crazy old gynecologist, who didn't want to sell his house but still wanted to have a good market analysis to present in court for his divorce proceedings. He offered me $500, so I was happy to come out and write it up for him.
First off, I didn't know he was a gynecologist. He never told me until much later when he asked me to put Dr. First name Last name on the paperwork and I asked what kind of medicine he practiced.
I showed up and the outside of the house looked great. It was super clean, very well maintained for a 70-year-old house, and looked pretty as a picture. I walked in and there was nothing but shelving units lining every single wall. Floor to ceiling shelving units. They were also in the middle of every room on the first floor. All of them were loaded with plastic storage bins that were all labeled. They all seemed to have pretty routine stuff. I thought the guy was just a very organized hoarder. One had boxes and boxes and boxes of new pens. One was all rolls of tape. One big one was all toilet paper.
As I got further into the house, the storage bins went from office supplies and toiletries to 'spoons.' Just a giant clear storage tub full of random spoons. One was 'used paper clips.' Used paper clips? He was differentiating between new and used paperclips? Ok. Whatever.
That's when I noticed every room had a TV and a surround sound system. And it was all set up on a shelving unit. This was back when flat screens were like $5,000 and every room had one. Every room also had 'flying saucers' on the ceiling which he said were repeaters so he could change every tv to the same channel at the same time. I must admit, that was pretty cool.
We went upstairs and it was a mess. The shelving units were all along the walls (but not in the middles of the rooms) and he had a toaster in the middle of the bedroom floor with a bag of Butternut bread next to it and a plate with a mushy stick of butter that looked like it was a week old. It had that sick, yellow crystallized look to it. There were books all over the floor and it looked like he just sat on the floor, reading, and eating toast. Everything was sprawled out in a perfect circle around where he would sit.
That's when I noticed the clear storage tubs were much stranger upstairs. One entire rack was 'used tissues.' Another several boxes were 'lubricant.' A couple were 'speculums.'
Then I realized there were A LOT of boxes of tissues (new and used) around his little toast and book circle.
I took my measurements and couldn't help but look at some of the titles on his bookshelf. The two that stand out the most were 'Personal Intimacy, and 'Show Me.' I mostly remember 'Show Me' because it was a very controversial book when I was a kid. It's basically a published book of kiddie (teen) smut disguised as a reproductive health education book. Everything else on the wall of books was similar.
And we were not even close to being finished with the walkthrough. I walked into this other bedroom and realized how dark it was. He had tin foil taped in the windows to black out the room. It was filled with computers on a giant custom-built horseshoe desk. If I recall, there were eight or nine screens wrapping around the room (in addition to the two big flatscreen TVs). As I measured the room, I noticed more used tissues and several boxes of new tissues. The screensavers were all showing slide shows of either nude women or women in bathing suits. I said nothing and we moved on.
And here's where it got weird.
He took me to the basement. It was a love dungeon. Not some flashy dungeon either. This was dark, dank, and musty. Two cages in two corners, some kind of crucifixion cross with restraints, some weird table with restraints, a wall full of whips and chains and needles. One was a spanking paddle that had tacks sticking out of it. Swings of varying sorts hanging from the rafters. A wooden trough filled with what I hope was water. There was also a coffin, a 'rack,' an iron maiden, and stocks (like the medieval head and hands town square punishment device). Every wall, support, and piece of furniture had some kind of restraints on it. And he walked me through as if nothing was strange about this.
And the coup de grace. He showed me the utility room and then showed me his 'secret room' where the door was disguised as paneling on the back wall of the laundry room. Inside looked like a torture room out of a horror movie. A giant shelving unit filled with VHS tapes was along one wall. A computer desk with a computer and old-school video editing machines (I assume). Boxes of his favorite tissues all over the editing station. Then there was a brass bed with restraints. There were no sheets on the bed and it was HORRIBLY stained with God only knows what (not blood, though - I probably would have called the cops if I saw blood on it). There was a mirror above the bed with a microphone dangling and two VHS cameras on tripods trained right on the bed.
This guy acted like this was all totally normal. He was like, 'Oh, and here's the secret room! I like to come down here to relax. It's just so quiet down here and it feels so safe because it's just hidden away from the rest of the house. If someone ever breaks in, I'd come down here and they'd never even know to look here!'
I collected my $500 and got out of there as fast as I could. No one believed me back at the office, and you know what, I don't blame them either. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I'd heard it from someone else. I have no idea what happened to that guy. I'm guessing he's dead now since he was probably 75-80 years old and this was about 15 years ago. His age and frailty (in addition to my morbid curiosity) was probably the only reason I didn't take off immediately. I remember thinking in my head 'Keep your guard up... You'll fight this old man if you have to.'
That's one terrifying visit I'll never forget. It's also the only time I didn't shake a customer's hand as I was leaving. My hand still tingles when I think about the introductory handshake and all those clear tubs filled with 'used tissues.'
"A friend was doing a demo on a house that previously belonged to a builder/owner, and the guy had a hidden passageway from the back of the master closet to the back side of the mirror in the second bathroom. There was a one-way mirror and his vantage point conveniently faced the all-glass shower and toilet."
"When the sold sign went up on our last house, our neighbor came over and said, 'Now you're moving out, would you like to know about your house's history?'
It turned out the previous owner was a dealer who allowed his customers to shoot up in the living room. That explained the brown arcs all over the walls when we stripped the wallpaper. He also used to turn out his wife from an upstairs room (our then bedroom)."
"My father was speaking with the previous owner of their house about anything he needed to know about the house. The previous owner started mentioning that a man who lived in the house as a tenant was brutally shot and only made it to the backyard before he died from loss of blood.
This house is located in a very bad area of our city so shootings are not at all uncommon.
A few years later, we found out that one of the people living in our house was selling illegal substances. The dealer was eventually arrested in that house leaving his wife, mother-in-law, and daughter in the process.
A few years later, we needed to kick out our tenants because they hadn't paid rent for months. A few nights after my parents went to go tell the tenants to leave or else they were gonna get kicked out, the house burst into flames. A very large portion of the house was in ruins. All of the kitchen, one of the rooms. and most of the living room were all burnt to a crisp. Luckily the insurance covered the damage.
My parents were later able to sell the house, and the last we heard about it is our now ex-tenant ( a new one) was not paying rent and got into a nasty fist fight with the people in the neighborhood. He got into the house completely covered in blood and bruises. They had to call the ambulance to save the guy too."
"I've been in the residential property management industry for 14 years and have managed/leased thousands of apartments and single-family houses. A historic building I used to lease apartments for was formerly an insane asylum and prior to that was a hospital. The building itself was on the national historical registry. Thankfully, I never had a bad experience there except for one unsettling thing in a stairwell, but I did meet people over the years with stories.
Certain things are required for historical landmarks and restoration tax credits in this particular city, so many of the apartments had to maintain certain features of the original design/architecture like some old tile was still on the walls and floors. The thing that creeped me out was the basement. Even after 50 years on most days, you could catch a whiff of formaldehyde. Some days were more pungent and distinct than others. Of course, being the basement, it also had the addition of that musty basement smell. Since this was once a hospital, obviously it had a morgue.
There are a handful of apartments in the basement and the original tile on the floor marked where the morgue actually started. In one of those apartments, there is a bedroom with two incredibly spacious walk-in closets. If you haven't already figured it out these two massive closets are the old body lockers with the original latches on the walls next to the entrance to the closets. I still for the life of me cannot understand how anyone could live in that apartment because I wouldn't even go into that apartment by myself."
"I photograph homes. It's normal, people die in homes. I've photographed a few homes where the reason for the sale was a recent suicide in the home. I photographed a new home that the builder killed himself in the garage just before the project was complete.
The weirdest one was mostly very creepy and suspicious. I photographed a billionaire's compound where the guy had an absurd fascination with flesh. There were well over 50 heads mounted on walls from water buffalo to elephant. There were at least five large cats stuffed. Chandeliers made from the feathers of rare birds. Stools made from elephant feet/legs. Paintings and abstract photos of oily skin, 'veiny' muscles of humans and animals. I looked for his kill room, but I never found it.
In general, I find billionaires don't behave like normal people, but this one was particularly weird."