People have been hiding things in their homes for centuries, either to get rid of bad juju, prepare for an apocalypse, or – shudder – to get away with murder.
But those eclectic objects soon find their way out, and as the years go by, more and more unsettling stories about weird findings have surfaced.
It’s a rabbit hole that knows no end, truly. History is hidden within our walls, and it’s time for us to uncover it! We’ve gathered up a list of the creepiest, weirdest, most horrifying things people have discovered behind their walls.
A Terrible Joke?
A schoolteacher from the U.K. named Jonathan Lewis made a startling discovery inside the walls of his new home – he found a creepy-looking doll holding onto an even creepier note. The doll named Emily declared that she had killed her previous owners back in 1961. The note read: “Thank you for freeing me!”
“My original owners lived in this house in 1961,” the letter, allegedly written by Emily read, “I didn’t like them, so they had to go. All they did was sing and be merry. It was sickening. Stabbing was my choice of death for them, so I hope you have knives.”
Emily, a Blue-Eyed Killer
Emily, a rag doll with blue eyes, a ponytail, and a pinstripe dress, ended the letter on a cheerful note. “Hope you sleep well,” she wrote.
Now, all of this sounds like a joke, right? Well, that’s what Lewis thought too. His friends, however, urged him to sell the place and move out.
“I think it’s just a laugh,” Lewis told the media; “The letter says 1961, but the estate agent said when she was showing me around that the kitchen was only done four or five years ago.” Lewis believes the doll must have been placed there on purpose because the letter itself doesn’t look very old either.
How Did He Come Across Emily?
Lewis said he found Emily and her ominous note after spotting a wire coming out of the wall. Curious to see what else was hiding in there, Lewis decided to explore the hollow void for bizarre findings (like a killer doll).
“There was a wire coming out where the previous owners had the fridge, but I didn’t know where the wire was plugged in,” Jonathan Lewis explained, “so I knocked through a bit of the plasterboard to see what was there.”
Does he regret finding Emily? Nope. Let’s just hope he slept well that night…
A Mummified Little Thing
Some people find dolls in their walls, while others find actual babies. In 1850, a mummified baby came tumbling out of the walls of an apartment in Paris. The couple living there were immediately charged with murder (poor things).
Their names were later cleared when a doctor used insects to determine the baby’s time of death. This odd case was the first time in French forensic science that the study of insects (also known as entomology) was put to use in a criminal trial.
What Is It With All These Mummified Babies?
Twenty-eight years after this mummified baby case, a French pathologist named Edmond Perrier Megnin used insects once again to calculate the time of death of another mummified infant.
What are all these mummified babies doing in walls, you ask?
We have no clue. But these creepy findings are less rare than you might think. In 2007, contractor Bob Kinghorn found the body of a child wrapped in paper in the walls of a house in East Toronto. Authorities investigated the baby’s death but failed to determine the cause.
Wrapped in Newspaper
“You always hope to find something in walls – coins, antiques – but never a baby,” renovator Bob Kinghorn told the news. He was about to drill a hole through the home’s ceiling for wiring when he came across a bundle of newspapers.
He first believed it was for insulation purposes, but after his co-worker pointed out a foul smell in the room, he decided to pull the bundle of paper out from the wall and see what it was. “When I opened it up, it exposed the child,” Bob revealed.
Sometime in 1925…
The infant Bob found was about four months old. The baby was in a fetal position with his\her tiny toes sticking out from the paper. “It’s so sad,” he recalled, “But it’s a good thing the baby can finally be put to rest.”
When Bob went over the newspaper, the date read 1925. In utter disbelief, he shook his head and told reporters, “Wow, 1925. Maybe she had a baby she had murdered. Who knows what the story behind this is?”
Urine and Fingernail Clippings
This might sound incredibly weird nowadays, but back in the 17th century, stuffing your walls with urine and nail clippings was considered a reasonable thing to do. Why? To scare off the witches, of course. Yes, people used to stash “witch bottles” that were meant to counteract curses.
These bottles were filled with the witch’s hair threads, nails, and even a scrap of a heart-shaped cloth with a needle puncture in the middle. People honestly believed that they lured negative energy away from the house.
A Way to Scare Off the Witches
In 2009, a witch bottle was found inside the walls of a house in Greenwich. The bottle dated back to the 17th century and had urine in it, which contained some traces of nicotine. Similarly, in 2004, another 17th-century bottle in London was found and had a host of bizarre findings in it.
A researcher and former chemist named Alan Massey believes that “the objects found in witch bottles verify the authenticity of contemporary recipes given for anti-witchcraft devices.”
When Cursed With Witchcraft – Pee in a Bottle
Another thing found in the wall of that spooky Greenwich apartment was a court record from 1682 documenting that a husband, believing his wife to be cursed by some sort of witchcraft, was advised by a specialist to stash the witch bottle in his wall.
The paper read: “Take a quarter of your Wive’s urine, a few of her nails, some of her hair, and such like, and boil them well in a Pipkin.” The bottle that was found appears to have been made according to those very instructions.
People Were Incredibly Frightened of the Black Arts
Countless witch bottles have been identified over the years, but most of them had content that was either eroded or lost. What was found in Greenwich, however, had its cork closure still sealed?
According to experts, the findings emphasize “just how frightened people were of the black arts.”
The time period of the bottles coincides with the period of the Salem Witch Trials, which occurred sometime in the late 1600s in America. Archaeologist Mike Pitts told Discovery News, “The discovery of something so apparently bizarre, indicating a clear belief in witchcraft and forces that have nothing at all to do with conventional, approved religion, remind us that early modern England did not belong to the same world we now inhabit.”
A Kid Lost and Found
Here’s another truly wicked finding.
Two years after 6-year-old Richard Chekevdia disappeared, he was discovered hidden in the walls of his grandmother’s house in Illinois. Yes, yes. You’ve read correctly—the WALLS of his grandma’s home.
The little one disappeared in 2007 after an ugly dispute broke out between his mom, Shannon Wilfong, and his dad, Michael Chekevdia. His grandma, Diane Dobbs, told investigators that little Richard was rarely at home and that he spent most of his days outside the house’s walls.
Ah… but how incredibly wrong her claims were.
The Lying Granny
Police reports covering Richard’s bizarre case stated that after a thorough investigation, Grandma Diane Dobbs was found to have lied about practically everything. Richard wasn’t strolling the streets outside in his spare time. On the contrary.
Richard wasn’t allowed out of the house. The poor boy had been denied access to proper education, medical care, or contact with other kids his age. He would often hide behind closets and dressers to avoid any confrontation with his wicked dad.
Finally, Some Good News
Up until now, the things on this list have been pretty weird (and scary). But not all findings were created equal! Some lucky folks have found cash stashed in the walls of their home. Ohio-based contractor Bob Kitts discovered $182,000 inside the walls of a bathroom he was renovating.
He called the homeowner, Amanda Reece, to let her know. She was so surprised by Bob’s honesty that she gave him 10% of the money. Bob wasn’t happy with the low amount (who would?), and he raised the bar to 40%. You go, Bob!
“My Money… No, My Money!”
The cash-in-the-bathroom story didn’t end there. When the case was released to the public, a family member of the home’s original owner, Patrick Dunne, also claimed the money. Dunne was a loaded businessman who reportedly stashed the money there during the Great Depression.
After all the costly court affairs, the people who claimed that the money was theirs received only a tiny portion of the sum. Too bad they couldn’t have settled the case between themselves. We bet Bob Kitts regretted ever telling anyone about it.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Priceless Artwork
Imagine finding an original painting by Leonardo da Vinci hidden in the walls of your home. What a radical finding! Maurizio Seracini, an art diagnostician at the University of California, spent nearly four decades searching for one of Leonardo’s lost works.
The painting was a scene from the Battle of Anghiari, painted by da Vinci sometime in the early 16th century. It’s rumored that Italian painter Giorgio Vasari was ordered to paint over it but couldn’t bring himself to do it, so he hid it in a wall.
In 1970, Maurizio Seracini found something.
“Seek and You Will Find”
Maurizio’s first big break happened when he discovered the words “cerca trova” on a flag on Vasari’s mural. He believed that the phrase, which translates to “seek and you will find,” meant that Vasari built a false wall over Leonardo’s painting to preserve it.
Incredibly, researchers have taken pictures of the hollow between Vasari’s mural and the wall. They discovered black pigment believed to be the same type used in other Leonardo da Vinci paintings.
A Mobster’s Hidden Stash
In the walls of a home in Oak Brook, Illinois, a mobster named Frank Calabrese stashed jewelry, weapons, and, of course, money. Lots of it. During one of his trials in 2007, police discovered his little secret and raided his home.
They discovered loads of money and weapons stashed behind the basement’s wood-paneled walls. The mobster’s lawyer told The Chicago Tribune that Calabrese found it funny that it took them so long to discover his goods in all the previous searches of his home.
Shoes to Kick Out the Bad Luck
Not just any pair of shoes. We’re talking about a rich collection of antique shoes−300-year-old shoes! The old shoes were found in the walls of a palace in Korschenbroich, Germany. In Lunbenham, England, a similar finding was discovered.
A pair of shoes was stashed in the walls of a Papillion Hall. The reason? It’s rumored that it was hidden there to rid a family of a decades-long curse. The superstitious beliefs of people have never ceased to amaze me.
People Desperately Want to “Shoe” Evil Spirits Away
Over the years, hundreds of shoes have been discovered tucked inside the walls of palaces and cottages. It’s such a common practice that people dedicate their lives to recording instances of concealed footwear.
The theory is this: hiding shoes will grant you good luck and ward off evil spirits from entering your home. It was believed that shoes were associated with the wearer and that the deceased wearer (who was now a spirit) could potentially help shoo other spirits from haunting your home.
If Not With Shoes, Then With Cats
Ahhh… yet another way to fight off evil spirits. The practice of hiding cats in the walls was a huge thing in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was believed that they could scare haunting ghosts away with one single meow.
All across the U.K., mummified kitties were found toppling out of the walls of old buildings. One of the most notable cases happened in Pendle, Lancashire when a body was found in the wall of an ancient cottage.
Again With the Witches…
The notable discovery happened in December 2011, when construction workers stumbled upon the unfortunate kitty while performing some maintenance work on Pendle Hill in Lancashire – a spot notorious for its witch covens. It’s said that in 1612, a group of both men and women from the area were accused of sorcery and hanged.
So, why cats? Perhaps because of their association with witches. Although, from what we know, cats were friends with witches, weren’t they? Weren’t so sure how these furry companions were believed to fight off witches.
Mummified Cats Galore!
The mummified cat that was found bricked into the wall offers us a creepy link to the area’s notorious past (and a great advertising hook to draw in tourists from around the world). Expert on the Pendle witches, Simon Entwistle, praised the discovery, saying:
“In terms of significance, it’s like discovering Tutankhamun’s tomb… We are just a few months away from the 400th anniversary of the Pendle Witch trials, and here we have an incredibly rare find, right in the heart of witching country.”
A Spellbinding Discovery
Simon reported that cats feature prominently in folklore about witches and that “Whoever consigned this cat to such a horrible fate was seeking protection from evil spirits. It’s an absolutely spellbinding discovery.”
Carl Sanders, a project manager for United Utilities, added, “It’s not often you come across a fairytale cottage complete with witch’s cat.” Clearly, Pendle Hill has a real aura about it. And an eerie past oozing out of every nook and cranny of its homes.
Centuries-Old Dirty Laundry
The only thing worse than finding dirty underwear hidden in your house is finding old, old, centuries-old underwear inside your walls. Homeowners across Europe often find stashes of garments inside the walls of their apartments.
These findings are so common that they’re not always reported. As it turns out, stashing underwear inside the walls of one’s home is a practice that dates back to the Middle Ages. But the clothes were hidden not for the sake of hiding clothes but for the sake of hiding precious documents and coins within their folds.
Protective Underwear to the Rescue
According to the site for the Deliberately Concealed Garments Project:
“The tradition of concealing clothes can be related to the practice of concealing other objects such as dried cats, witch bottles and charms in buildings.”
The concealing of these different items can be traced back to folklore and superstitious traditions relating to the ritual protection of a household and the people living in it. We wonder if stashing underwear helped any of these frightened people…
Imagine you’re renting a nice, cozy house in a suburban neighborhood with your significant other. You spend mornings together over a cup of coffee before parting for work, and you spend your evenings eating dinner together and listening to each other’s thoughts of the day.
But all of a sudden, you spot a warning sign alerting you and the rest of the building that your landlord has been known to spy on his tenants via HIDDEN CAMERAS. You then search your place and discover not one, not two, but several hidden cameras within the walls.
He Would Spy on Them From His Shed
That is precisely what happened to a couple from Sydney, Australia. In the spring of 2016, their landlord, a man named Masaaki Imaeda, set up a shed near their place, which was used as his own sick entertainment cave.
The shed had a television, where he watched the couple have sex, get dressed, get undressed, take showers, and do practically everything humans do while living together. When they found out about it, they called the police, who arrested Imaeda on the spot.
Creepy, Creepy Landlord
According to news.com.au, Masaaki Imaeda “pleaded guilty to multiple charges of using an optical device without consent and observing a person in private without consent to obtain sexual arousal.” The creepy landlord was sentenced to 17 months in prison.
Photographs of Imaeda’s secret shed were published and showed a black leather recliner chair facing a massive television screen. Scattered around the shed were all sorts of items that he used for his sick entertainment.
He Would Spy on Them for Hours
Imaeda reportedly spent hours and hours in front of his large television set, which was connected to an elaborate labyrinth of cables to numerous cameras tucked in the walls and ceilings of his tenants’ bedrooms.
Authorities followed the wires snaking through the roof and under the floor of the house, where the landlord secretly filmed the young couples having sex. When the news broke out, people from the Japanese backpacker community revealed that he was well known within their group to be a creepy spy.
Brain Damage? Not a Good Enough Reason…
The judge, who sentenced Imaeda to 17 months jail, with a five-month non-parole period, stated: “I order that the defendant is to obey all reasonable directions of Community Corrections including psychiatric and psychological counseling and to be further tested in relation to the exploration of brain damage.”
Brain damage or not, Masaaki Imaeda was (and likely is) a deeply troubled man who shouldn’t be allowed to rent out his property. The landlord pleaded guilty but asked to be spared jail time because he suffered “from a number of medical issues.”
A young couple from Idaho, Amber and Ben Sessions, moved into their new dream home in September 2009. Their dream quickly turned into a terrifying nightmare when they discovered that their house was sitting on top of a non-poisonous snake den.
Amber described their time in the house as “living in Satan’s Lair.” Ominous serpents slithered into their home through the walls. “There were snakes in the walls,” she told the news. “We could hear them, and then our water tasted like how they smell.”
Eight Snakes in One Day
The real estate agent who sold them the house assured the Sessions that every precaution was made to keep the slithering serpents away. So, they trusted him. But a few days after moving in, Amber Sessions saw eight snakes in one day.
She called her real estate agent, who told her he would help them by bringing in some traps. But the problem kept getting worse. Amber, who was pregnant at the time, said she was so scared of coming across a snake that she was afraid she might miscarry.
The Breaking Point
“One day, we caught 43 snakes in total, and that was it,” Amber told ABC news. “The next morning, I almost stepped on one in our house, and I had enough; we can’t do this anymore… I don’t know how we stayed there as long as we did.”
The couple ditched the home in December 2009, a day after their baby was born and three months after they moved in. But because they allegedly knew what they were getting into (and had signed paperwork acknowledging the snakes), the Sessions felt compelled to file for bankruptcy.
Snake-Related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The stress has taken a serious toll on the Sessions family. Ben Sessions was even diagnosed with snake-related PTSD, Amber Sessions revealed. At the height of the snake problem, Amber said her husband would go out and kill the ones trying to get into the house.
Rob Cavallaro, a wildlife biologist, told the media that the house was probably built on a den where the snakes gathered in large numbers to hibernate in the winter. Poor snakes. And poor Sessions. Really, no one is to blame here other than the ones who gave the order to build the house in the first place.
Actual Human Bones
In July 1999, while renovating an old Holden Chapel at Harvard University, workers uncovered several human bones. It was believed that a possible murder mystery had been solved, but it turned out the bones were remains from the chapel’s period as an anatomy and dissection lecture spot.
“My first thought was, ‘Oooohh, an old Harvard murder,'” said Professor of Anthropology, Carole A.S. Mandryk. But some of the bones had metal pieces connected to their ends, suggesting that they might have been someone’s skeleton project.
An Entire Arsenal of Firearms
Not a lot of detail on where and when this happened, but a man renovating his homemade a rather startling discovery: he found a hidden room behind the stairwell of his basement. What was inside, you ask? A massive arsenal of firearms.
He found guns, bullets, grenades, and a big safe which the homeowner couldn’t open up. He also discovered a metal crate full of pre-1980 coins, meaning that the previous homeowner was probably stockpiling for a collapse of the American government.
He Never Thought He Would Find Such Things
Pennies made before the 1980s are made from actual copper, which means that they would be a highly sought-after commodity if the paper dollar were to lose its value. The new homeowner was pretty shocked.
When he first explored the house, the basement was full of junk, but he assumed that it was just random stuff the previous owner left behind. He never imagined running into a stash that made it seem like the previous owner was a survivalist.
A Korean Missile
While renovating his bathroom in April 2011, a man from St. Francis, Wisconsin, found a 20-inch-long Korean missile with a 5-inch explosive head tucked inside his wall. The shocked tenant and his wife carried the missile outside and called the police.
The bomb squad immediately arrived at the scene to carefully detonate the bomb. Apparently, the house’s previous owner had served in both World War II and the Korean War and had a tendency to bring souvenirs back home with him.
A Secret Corridor With Toxic, Black Mold
This story seems like it’s straight out of a fantasy tale.
In November 2011, in a house in Greenville, South Carolina, the Brown family discovered a secret corridor behind an old bookcase.
Hoping to uncover some buried riches, the family peeked inside but instead found a disheartening note. It read: “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.”
Deadly Mold Problems
The note contained the details of the man who wrote it, and the Browns contacted him to see what the story was all about. Unfortunately, the house really did have mold problems that were making the couple and their kids sick as well.
They were forced to leave the house but, luckily, were able to get their money back. As neat as it is to find a secret corridor in your home, why didn’t the man who previously lived there just stick the note someplace visible for them to see? According to the man who wrote the note, he was scared it would go unnoticed or, worse, thrown out.
They Grew Desperately Ill
The author of the note, George Leventis, told reporters:
“I didn’t mean it to scare the Browns, which I think it did when they first read it. If I didn’t write it, it would easily happen again.”
“I’ve never seen my kids that sick. And it was scary,” Geroge’s wife, Tricia Leventis, said in tears. According to her, her two young daughters became desperately ill and were told by the doctors to leave the house immediately.
They Wanted to Warn the Others
According to Tricia: “It got to the point where my youngest was so sick, she was unable to hold any nutrition, nothing was working, she couldn’t breathe.” With no money in their savings to take care of the mold, the Leventis family were left with no other choice but to leave.
They stopped paying their mortgage and said goodbye to the home. But George knew that the house would one day be re-sold. And he wanted to ensure that the future owners knew what they were getting themselves into.
They’re Extremely Thankful
The warning had to be hidden, he believed. “I put it in the room because I didn’t want anyone to find it if it was left out in the house,” he explained. “I figured if someone else who had another interest or a stake in the house found it, they would just throw it away, or they wouldn’t tell anyone.”
The Browns said they were extremely grateful and that if not for George’s note, their kid may have been terribly sick as well. “I’m very thankful he left the note. In my opinion, there’s a possibility he could have saved Megan’s life,” Kerri Brown said.
A Murder Victim
The body of a woman who was missing for 28 years was found behind a wall in the basement of a home in New York in July 2013. Her hands were tied, and her body was kept both inside a plastic bag and a plastic container.
The woman’s husband had reported her missing back in 1985. But he wasn’t questioned by the police when her body was found because he died shortly after. Most people familiar with the case believe he murdered her.
A Chilling Cold Case
The woman was Joann Nichols, a former first-grade teacher in her 50s who was reported missing by her husband, James Nichols, in the winter of 1985. Police reported that he called after his wife didn’t show up for a hair appointment earlier that day.
The following day, the couple’s vehicle was found in the parking lot of a local shopping bazaar. An intensive investigation followed her disappearance, but the woman was never located. The case has remained open and very cold since 1985.
James Nichols, the husband in question, was found dead in his home on December 27 after his concerned neighbors dialed the police because they hadn’t seen him in several days. Nichols died of natural causes at 82 years old.
It’s too bad we’ll probably never know what happened to Joann Nichols and who stashed her body within those walls. Police officers strongly believe James Nichols is to blame, but we’ll never know for sure…
800 Barrels of Toxic Waste
A man from Ontario discovered 400 barrels of toxic waste stashed behind the walls of his house in February 2017. According to police reports, the owner had already found 400 barrels containing cancer-causing toxins before breaking down the wall in question and revealing an additional 400!
The building’s previous owner, John Currie, once owned a tar product business and was known for irresponsibly disposing of inappropriate waste all around the area. It became one of Hamilton’s most polluted properties.
“We Could Have an Explosion”
“Some of the materials inside are certainly extremely dangerous in terms of flammability. We do something wrong; we could have an explosion,” said the building’s current owner, Sukhinder Sandhu. Authorities found dangerous substances, including coal tar and creosote, in the barrels.
Sukhinder Sandhu had to pay $266 000 for the clean-up. Sandhu argued that the city should help pay for waste disposal. However, according to the city, they already assisted the previous owner with cleaning, granting them $470 000.
Thousands of Crawling Critters
A couple from St. Louis had to flee their home in October 2014 after thousands of spiders, whose bites can be fatal, poured out of their ceiling and “bled” down their walls. The previous owners apparently failed to disclose any information about a spider infestation.
The horrified couple, Brian and Susan Trost, purchased the house for $450,000. It looked like the perfect place to build a life together. But shortly after moving in, venomous spiders “started bleeding out of the walls,” and pest control companies failed to eradicate the infestation.
Approximately 6,000 Spiders
The angry couple filed a claim in 2008 with their insurance company, State Farm, and sued the home’s previous owners for not informing them about the brown recluse spider problem. They were right to be angry.
University of Kansas biology professor Jamel Sandidge estimated that the house had about 6,000 spiders crawling within its walls. To make matters worse, his estimated number was about wintertime, a time when spiders are least active. Yikes!