If horror movies have taught us anything, it’s that if a secret room is sealed up, it’s to keep something from getting out, so don’t open it! Then again, if adventure movies have taught us anything, it’s that a hidden door means an adventure or treasure awaits on the other side, so go for it! Basically, finding and opening a secret room is a 50/50 shot with a high risk, high reward as to what is on the other side. These people took that chance, and have shared the shocking surprises that they found within!
1. Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
I lived in a warehouse in Melbourne and always thought it would be cool to get on the roof, but there was no access. After about six months, I’m standing in front of a mirror upstairs when I notice it has hinges. I push on it—it clicks and opens out, revealing a small attic and roof hatch! That was pretty cool. I used to sit up there and watch the sun set over the city.
2. What’s in the Jar?!
I found a secret space in my closet when my mom and I were moving out of the house she was renting and into my stepdad’s. I never noticed it because junk covered the section of the wall that was covering a small entrance to a room that was sealed off with boards and plywood. I couldn’t pry it open, but I could see light shining in it and a single mason jar filled with what I assumed was water.
The air was cold in there, as if the central heating didn’t even reach that part. I showed it to my mom and she told me that she doesn’t remember seeing that there when we had moved in eight years prior, but since we were moving out, it didn’t matter. The room gave me the creeps for whatever reason. I don’t know why it was sealed off or why there was a single mason jar filled with water in the center of the room.
3. Sometimes It’s Good to Be Wrong
My parents bought a house from an old family member to help her pay for nursing home care—she hadn't lived in the house for years at that point. She was a hoarder and we were tasked with cleaning up the house over the course of a summer in order to make it livable prior to the start of school. There were rat carcasses fused to the carpet, old tax documents from the 60s, etc.
Well, we were scraping up the linoleum tiling—covering the original hardwood floor, disappointingly enough—in a side room when I made the joke about the previous resident being a secret mass murderer and that there was a trapdoor under the linoleum full of dead bodies—obviously, I had no idea what was coming next. I pulled up a huge section of tiling only to find a trapdoor underneath.
Scared the heck out of me, but when we finally built up enough courage to open the darn thing, we discovered there was nothing under there. It was a walled-off section of the basement with a dirt floor. We suspect it was an old root cellar from back when farmers had to store their stuff in a cold, dark place to prevent it from spoiling.
4. Kid’s Only
We moved into a house with a door in the kitchen that could not be opened. The real estate agent tried but failed, and assumed it led to the laundry room but was walled off. My older siblings, like typical teenagers, were not convinced of this and were determined to open it. It was just a normal pantry, but they never told our mother they managed to open it, and used it to hide things from her like alcohol or smokes.
5. Blame It on the Movies
I watched Home Alone and saw the attic that Macaulay Culkin was staying in and wondered if we had one in our townhouse. I ran around with a stepladder until I found it in my mom’s closet. I got on my tiptoes on the stepladder, fought the door open (it ended up being a big piece of plywood), peered into the attic—and almost fell off the ladder in panic. A mouse colony stared back at me.
It was like that scene in Ratatouille. Decades worth of feces covered the whole space. My mom was not happy once I told her. We moved shortly after.
6. Family Can’t Always Be Trusted
When clearing out my grandma’s house I found a small door in the wall of the basement that led to a tiny room. According to my mother, that’s where they hid the family heirlooms when thieving relatives came to town. I was mostly interested in the fact that it was covered in scribbles from my mom and her sisters growing up.
7. Another Level to This Place
A couple of years ago, I rented an apartment that was in a massive old architecture style building—no idea how old it was. I remember when I did the showing they showed me a door that had an elaborate staircase that went straight up to the ceiling and explained that it went to the attic, which was sealed up. When I was finally moving out, curiosity got the best of me and I pushed on the panel at the top of the stairs until it popped open and hoisted myself up there.
It was completely dark and the floor was covered in at least an inch of dust, and I found that it was an entire extra floor to my unit. There was some old rotting furniture and magazines littered throughout the rooms. I eventually found a small hole in one of the walls that went into the sealed off upstairs of the unit next to mine and decided to go through that one too.
I found a smaller hole at the back end of that area that led to the next one. I eventually made my way through about five or six of these sealed-off spaces that had no entrances save these small holes in drywall. The farther I went in, the older the furniture I found—fridges from the fifties or earlier, old dishware, and so much dust over everything.
But the last unit was the one I'll never forget. There were hand-painted scenes on the walls and holes to the attic letting sunlight stream in. I took small videos, but they're all on Snapchat so they're hard to post. I must have been up there for hours just exploring alone in the dark. I was pretty lucky to have the only room with access up there.
8. In Case of Emergency
I used to live in suburban Detroit, where people had immense fears of breaking and entering. So, when we moved into our new house, the landlord showed us the “special cabinet.” One of the cabinets in the office room off the living room was actually a passageway to a small room with some water bottles, gas masks, and other important survival things.
It had room for about two to three people. Needless to say, we never used it.
9. One Man’s Trash…
Helping my granddad move out of his house, we accidentally found access to the underfloor area, which was not even big enough to really call a crawl space, I don't think—spotty memory. There was a small pile of trash from the 60s or 70s, like juice cans, chocolate bar wrappers, and crumpled newspapers, as well as bits of discarded construction debris and some broken tools.
We think it must have been used by the builders in lieu of a trashcan. It was cool, like an accidental time capsule.
10. The Previous Owners Must Have Been Squirrels
It was about a year into owning our house. We actually found two secret rooms. One was just a room under the stairs that was closed off. It had some toys from the 70s in it. The really crazy one was when we redid the insulation in our attic. One of the workers asked if I knew there was a room up there. I had no idea. So we cut open the drywall and there were stacks on stacks of boxes from the 60s. Like, a ton of boxes. And they were all full!
So I opened them up expecting some cool stuff—and they were full of freaking PINECONES! That was one of the bigger bummers of my life.
11. Escape Room
I moved into an eighteenth-century farmhouse as a little kid and found a small panel door in the back of the large closet in my small room. Turned out to be a small finished room over the eaves that had a small portal window. I spent hours in that room reading and hiding from the world.
12. Some Pranks Take Time
There was a hidden door behind the wallpaper—obviously the doorknob was taken off, so it blended in with the wall—in the hallway. We lived in this house for six years and I found out about this door two years ago. When we opened it we saw a skeleton in the corner. Not gonna lie, that scared the hell out of me, but it was just a prop left by the previous owners of the house.
13. Something Doesn’t Add up
While installing CAT5E network cables many years ago in my house, I discovered a short and squat cast iron water heater inside some walls—around a staircase and bathroom—connecting the basement and the next level of the house. I'm guessing whoever did the remodel didn't think the little bit of space that could be reclaimed was worth it.
I found it when I realized my measurements weren't making sense and couldn't figure out why I wasn't seeing my ethernet cable. I had to plot everything out carefully because of the split-level nature of my house—the crawl space, the basement, etc.—and figured out there was three feet of space unaccounted for. It will probably be removed when we remodel the basement bathroom.
I figure I can either get more storage space or a full bathtub instead of just the shower stall that is there now.
14. Some Doors Are Better Left Closed
There was a small door under some stairs—almost like Harry Potter’s room—in my old apartment in Venezuela. We had lived there for a year until I leaned on it and felt it wiggle a little and realized it was a small square door. I was too scared to open it so I had my dad do it, and about 20 or so cockroaches flooded out. Never have I felt so much panic.
15. Dodged a Haunted Bullet
We bought a house that had been built in the 1880s, lived in it for seven years and then had to have some wiring work done. The electrician was working down in the basement and wanted to drill through a brick wall to the outside for some reason that I no longer remember. We give him the okay and go about our business.
He starts drilling and then stops, comes upstairs and tells us he just found a bricked-up room and what do we want to do about it? Well, we kind of still want our wiring situation taken care of, but if there's a body and some Amontillado in there, I definitely want to know. On the other hand, I don't want to let my sister's boyfriend knock the wall down with a sledgehammer.
As we are discussing this, the electrician offers to run a scope through the hole he just drilled so we can take a look without doing more damage, or, as he put it, destroying evidence. So our new friend gets his scope set up and we all go down to the basement and watch the monitor. It's a very small space, maybe three by five feet.
Nothing in there but a really old, gross looking plushie. Not a teddy bear, maybe a dog? It was sewed out of some kind of patterned fabric in a vaguely dog-like shape. That's it, nothing else. Electrician asks us what we want to do. I ask if he can seal the hole he just drilled because this is definitely how ghost movies start. He agreed and patched it up, drilled somewhere else, finished the rewiring and we all continued our lives.
We moved out two years later and as far as I know, Haunted Doggy is still bricked up in the basement of that house.
16. Watch Your Step
I found it moving in—a latch at the bottom corner of the closet. It was a Cape Cod-style house that had a crawl space that led to basically an uncarpeted room with two windows over the garage. I fell through it once.
17. Years in the Making
We found a hidden closet in the basement wall after 20 years of living in the house. We found some personal documents of no real interest, a newspaper from the day after Pearl Harbor, and a bizarre hand-drawn cartoon of a pregnant Lucy from Peanuts.
18. Hiding Evidence
I went to visit my grandparents a few months after they had moved into a new house out in the country. I got into a bit of horseplay with a cousin and got shoved into a wall. It broke a big hole and we realized there was a large empty space back there. With grandpa's help, we tore the wall down and found a little room full of planting trays and grow lamps. There were a number of books about horticulture and one specifically about growing marijuana.
There was no secret way in as far as we could tell. Someone had just walled the entire room off for some reason.
19. Hidden for a Reason
Found it in a house a friend was renting. I realized that there were five feet missing between the back wall of the master bedroom and the back wall of the garage. Poking around the garage I found a piece of plywood with concealed hinges, held shut with two nails. I opened it and found a 12' by 5' room with walls covered in foil and a couple of outlets for lamps on the ceiling.
My friend converted it into a walk-in closet.
20. Hide and Drink
In my house, there was an upstairs bedroom that was made into a game room for my sister and me. When we were about 12 years old we realized that a section of the paneling came off and there was a small, closet-sized room behind it. We kept it a secret so that when friends came over we would have the ultimate hiding spot for hide and seek.
A few years later, we were talking to our parents about what we found and they said that the house was built during the prohibition era, so they most likely used it as a place to hide alcohol!
21. Historical Purpose
I lived in a house with my grandma for a few years, and the “secret room” was beneath a trapdoor on the second floor, which was basically a void between walls on the complicated first floor. It was used to hide Jewish families during World War II.
22. Great Disguise for Nothing
We couldn't find access to the crawl space during the first inspection. We didn't want to buy the house until we saw every inch, especially the vibration foundation. Turned out one of the closets had such a perfect carpet job that you couldn’t tell the floor was a carpeted door. You had to pull the carpet to lift it. There was nothing interesting but a small crack.
23. No One Did Their Research
We had something like this in my student house in university. We lived there for a couple of months before the gas meter guy came around and asked where the meter was. Us four clueless students had no idea, so he was like, “Maybe it’s in the basement.” We said we didn’t have a basement. He basically said sure you do, and goes over to the edge of the carpet in the hall, pulls it up and reveals a large door in the floor, which lead to the basement.
The gas meter turned out to be out back, but we liked our new basement.
24. School Just Got a Lot More Interesting
Not my house but my elementary school, which was a small one in the countryside. In 1990, after a PE class, a friend of mine and I were horsing around downstairs in the basement outside the locker rooms. In the process, we hit each other with shoulder pushes and my friend flew into a panel at some point. A screw popped out of the panel and revealed screws painted over, which revealed a panel door.
The janitor thought it was just the air ducts or water pipe maintenance room under the school. When we told him about the door he said he went to this school in 1971 but had never been in there. Of course, with the two of us being sixth graders we had to go on a hunt and later returned with a screwdriver after school hours—the school was not locked due to after school clubs—and entered with a flashlight.
It was a secret basement of ducts at first. Super dusty, and metal stamps revealed at least something in the corridors was built-in 1959. The school was built in the 1950s. But the fun part was coming up ahead. One of the one by one-meter ducts suddenly led to a slightly larger room, two meters tall and probably five by two meters in total.
It had old equipment, like tables and stuff with military emblems on them, and at first we thought it might have been an old Nazi HQ or something (not adding two and two together that the school was built long after 1945). But it was an old nuclear shelter thing that was later revealed to be a canceled part of the school, like planned and built, but never executed properly due to budgets. The ducts had been the old ducts for maintenance of water and sewage pipes.
It was very exciting but in the end, just a budget cut nuclear shelter with closets, blankets, tables and a little kitchenware of military origin. But wow did it ever feel like Indiana Jones at certain points.
25. Passing on the Fun
My parents found one when I was a kid! My dad was remodeling our lower level when he noticed that part of the closet wall sounded hollow, and realized there must be something behind it. He had to cut away the wood paneling to get to it. Inside, we found what must have been a little “clubhouse” that some previous owners made for their kids or grandkids a long time ago.
There were four pegs on the wall and each one had a boy’s name written underneath it. We think they used them as coat hooks. It was the mid-2000s when we found it, so my parents got my sisters and I some motion-activated lights to stick on the walls, and gave us some old cushions so we could use it as a “clubhouse” too. Good times.
26. Christmas Cover-Up
It wasn’t our house, but a secret room in our barn. When we moved to the property, the barn was full of all kinds of stuff, so it took about five years to find it. We were kids building a fort, so we moved some old wooden picking boxes and found a little door. There were a bunch of Christmas decorations from the 70s, including a cutout of Santa, so when we saw his head we thought we found a body—never said we were smart kids.
Once we realized it was just decorations, we crawled in to explore and fell through the floor to the rooms below. Ah, good times when my dad found the collapsed ceiling in the woodshop. Oops.
27. Can Never Have Enough Carpets
We saw the room when we were looking at the house but couldn’t get up there for a while. In the bedroom, there’s a door up in the corner along with like a two or three-foot loft. Once we finally got a ladder and were able to go up there we found a lot of carpets. Not like replacement carpet for the stuff on the ground currently, but like decorative carpets from the previous owner.
It was also pretty nice given it was basically just an attic. There was a light with a separate light switch—rather than like a string you pull—and for some reason, there were probably like 15 outlets up there. No idea what the builder or previous owner was thinking, but that’s what it was. I sometimes go up there just to see what it’s like.
28. The Room Runs Deep
My best friend lives in France and I did as well for many years. She lives in a house that has been in her family for over 600 years. It was built at the top of a hill about an hour outside of Paris and additions have been made to it over the years, as one could imagine. Anyway, the house was built kind of at the top of a hill with rooms going down several levels into the side of the hill.
The existing kitchen is new and modern and the original one was still intact but not in use as it was basically just one of those big fireplaces with a cauldron-looking contraption in it. As her and her husband first moved into the house and started updated and painting etc., they removed the tile from the old kitchen wall behind the fireplace.
Behind the tile was some older tile and beneath that, they found a crumbling old brick wall. When they removed the old wall they discovered that it was actually the entrance—or rather exit—to a tunnel that was an escape route from the town’s—Êpone, France—castle. In case the castle came under attack, the inhabitants could use the tunnel to flee and it came out right in front of my friend’s house about a kilometer away.
Mind blown when she discovered that!
29. Easy Fix
As a plumber, in the office building where I worked, we had to climb through a space above the ceiling. As we crawled down to where we had to make a plumbing connection we found a set of sinks that had been walled in during a remodel. They just put a wall up without disconnecting anything.
30. It’s a Cliché for a Reason
Not exactly the same but when I was probably eight or nine years old, I toured a house with my cousins and siblings—I think my parents or grandparents knew the owner—and the owner explicitly showed us a secret room that was underneath the counter. The cabinet slid out and revealed a staircase. My siblings and cousins and I thought it was extremely cool and proceeded to look around the pretty much vacant house at that point, and wandered into an upstairs bedroom.
I should mention at this point that I had recently watched some mystery movie—I want to say it was one of the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. but it's been so long I can't really remember—but whatever movie or show it was, it had that cliché of a character knocking on a wall and then moving to a different part of the wall and the pitch was different, signifying it was hollow, and they pushed it open and there was some secret room.
The bedroom my family and me had wandered into had paneling on the wall that looked like it was ripped directly out of the movie, so just screwing around like the elementary schooler I was, I started knocking on the wall and, I kid you not, the third panel I knocked on made the noise of a hollow panel. I pretty much just froze and turned around to see my siblings and cousins just staring at me like “WTF.”
I told them it was definitely hollow, so I pushed on the panel and the whole panel on the wall popped open and we all walked right into this large closet-sized room with nothing but an empty dresser type thing and the metal base of a twin bed with no mattress or anything on top of it. We mentioned it to our parents and the lady who owned the house and she told us that we were the only people that had toured the house who had found that.
I'm an adult and it's been nearly 10 years and I still have no idea what that room could have possibly been used for, but I still remember how epic it felt to randomly discover that through elementary school mischief.
31. Perfect Hiding Spot
My family lived briefly in Copenhagen when I was a young child. In the house that the government provided there was a false wall with a pocket, which was great to hide in. One day, an older neighbor girl—native Danish—was over and told us while we were playing in it that people used to hide in it. Her mother confirmed later that it was a Holocaust hiding space.
I'm really grateful my mother took the time to explain to us what that meant, and the history behind it, rather than waiting until I was older.
32. Look Closely
Not my house, but a nearby one. There was a house that was abandoned for several years. It was built in North Texas during the 1920s and belonged to a local "businessman." There were lots of stories about the house. Some friends and I participated in a "creative entry" of the house during the 80s. There were a couple of hidden closets.
The columns on the front porch were big enough and hollow so lookouts could hide in there. If you went down the kitchen stairs to the basement/wine cellar everything looked normal...until you turned around to go back up the stairs. If you looked carefully, there were hidden handles under the step edges. A section of the stairs would swing up and there was an escape tunnel.
33. He Should’ve Kept It to Himself
My friend had a basement beneath his basement filled with barrels that had long since leaked. His dad found it when his band saw's weight caved in the floor and into the hidden basement. It was probably a place for prohibition-era booze to be hidden away, I guess? Anyway, he posted photos on Facebook and a nosey neighbor tattled on his newfound mancave. The city I live in or his HOA had them fill it in.
It was pretty cool while we were still able to go down it. We had an extension cable set up to play Minecraft on Xbox while sitting on a dirty towel because the flooring was basically dirt.
34. Cabin in the Woods
I bought a very rugged cabin with acreage a few years back. The cabin was built in the 70s. A friend of mine discovered a large attic, which was surprising. There was no easy way into the attic. I knew there was space, but it did not appear to be as big as it was. Inside the attic was evidence someone was living in there at one point, including one chilling remnant: a bloodied mattress.
There were no lights, no comfort, just a sheet blocking off the part of the attic that didn't have some semblance of a floor, and a bloody mattress. This was all above my room. I got super weird vibes in that house after that, and an earthquake ended up taking out the cabin shortly after. I tore it apart, salvaged a bunch of wood, and rebuilt a new cabin without the creepy vibes.
But I haven't even mentioned the most unnerving part about the cabin. The previous owner, upon finding news I had bought the land, came back just before I got the keys from the realtor and left a note that simply read "good luck" in the center of the living area. I also just recently found a massive old tree on the land that had been previously scorched by fire, decades ago, and survived.
If that land could talk, I'm sure it would have stories.
35. A Crap Hiding Place
I used to do evictions and clean houses before they were put back on the market. Well, this $2 million house was abandoned because nobody could afford it, and some teens decided to throw a rager in it. My job was to clean the whole house. It had this huge office with beautiful wooden bookcases around the whole room.
As I’m cleaning the alcohol off of them, I notice one of them had a crack between the others. So I tug on it, and sure enough, it opens up with a hidden door behind it. I was so excited that I found a secret room, and was pumped to open the door. When I did, my heart sank: It was a bathroom…who uses a secret door for a bathroom?
36. Great Place for a Cat Nap
There is a door in our bathroom but it was just a small closet, so we put some cleaning supplies in it and didn't give it a second thought. Then one day we saw the door was open and thought the cat was in there. I walked into the very tight space and to my amazement, there was another door around the corner that you can't see just looking straight in.
It was slightly ajar, so I opened it and it led behind the bathtub. And low and behold, the cat is sitting in there chilling. I figure if, god forbid we ever need it, it could kind of be like a panic room.
37. There All Along
I found a second basement in my grandparents' house 20 years after they died. There was a door with a handle that fell out and everyone kind of just forgot about it. I went down there last week and played pool with some friends with a vintage table made by my grandpa when he was 17.
38. What Came First, the House or the Room?
Contractor here. I was doing a renovation of a four-unit craftsman apartment building, and the owner had previously noticed a void in the floor plan. He asked that we open that area up. We cut a small enough hole to peak in, and found a room that was approximately five feet by five feet. The strange thing was the room had been sheetrocked, taped, textured, and painted from the inside.
No doors, or any type of opening—just four walls and a ceiling. The only thing we can think of is someone finished it from the inside then dropped down through the subfloor to the garage below. No clue why. There wasn’t an obvious subfloor patch either. It was really strange.
39. No Boundaries
My sister and I shared the basement room of a house that we were renting. The owners had slept in that room when they lived in the house and all of the kids slept upstairs. We noticed that one of the panels of the wood wall looked loose so our brother carefully pried it off. Behind that wood panel was a secret room like something out of a horror movie: it had several monitors lining the wall along with a random assortment of items.
The monitors were not hooked up to anything, but they explained why each room upstairs had holes in the corners of the ceilings. My mom ended up asking about it to make sure, and sure enough, the owners had cameras in their kid’s rooms and we found the creepy headquarters. We moved out pretty soon after that.
40. Nothing Good Came From This Room
My house had a secret room in the attic. It's a really old house and the former owner was a pretty wealthy banker. The room was used as an opium den, and when the stock market crashed he hung himself in there.
41. It’s Not All Scary
The closest thing I've ever had to a "secret room" was the tornado shelter in my last house. When my wife and I moved in, we went into the garage and discovered a trap door on the floor. The door led down to an underground tornado shelter. There were no lights, the stairs creaked horribly, the air was thick with dust, and the echoes sounded like something was walking towards you.
To make things even worse, you had to go down the stairs backward, so you couldn't see whatever evil monster was waiting for you in the dark. I told my wife, "That tornado shelter is scarier than a tornado. I'm never going down there." But later, we actually had a tornado warning. We grabbed flashlights and sleeping bags and rushed down there—but we never expected what was waiting for us.
It turned out, once you walked around the corner, the super creepy tornado shelter was bright pink and covered in ladybug stickers. Apparently the last owner's little girl used it as a playroom.
42. Family Drama
This is more of a family legend, but here it goes. Everyone always heard that my great-grandma had built a secret room in her farm somewhere. No one knew where it was or what she kept in there, but the speculation was that she kept gold, as she always saved money, bought gold, and there was no trace of it. She died without telling anyone, or so we thought.
However, an aunt started going to the old ranch an awful lot in the months following her death. She went repeatedly and then suddenly stopped. About a year later, a different family member found a will, with the location to the secret room—a small two by two crevice with a lock. Many members of the family went together to prevent foul play, but found that the lock was broken and the small room was empty.
Looking back at the clues, that first aunt suspiciously had money to buy herself property and businesses in the times following the death. Although she never admitted to it, most of the family is convinced that great-grandma had a stash of gold, the aunt found it, and hoarded it. No one knows for sure though.
43. Did Buffalo Bill Live There?
Back in college, some friends and I rented an old mansion from an elderly lady that had been built in the early 1920s. The place was falling apart, but it was huge and rent was dirt cheap. About two years into living there, I went to the basement to do some laundry and momentarily lost my balance, reaching out to steady myself using one of the wall panels.
It flexed more than I expected, and after some inspection, I found that it was removable. Behind it was a small, mostly empty, very dirty concrete room that was about 100 square feet. I say mostly empty because right in the middle there was a hole the size of a well that had been previously bricked up. It must have been old because the bricks had eroded at some point and exposed some of the hole, maybe a two-foot diameter circle out of the full five feet.
After calling my friends down to look at it I got the courage to creep a little closer and peer down into it. There was another room roughly the same size but deeper, maybe 15 feet down, and mostly full of dirt. We shined a flashlight down into it and what I saw gave me chills: I could swear there was a teddy bear at the bottom. Unfortunately, despite plenty of bargaining, none of us were ever able to work up the courage—liquid or regular—to tie a rope and climb down for a closer look.
Especially after we noticed that the bricks, which I thought had fallen in, were all accounted for, scattered around the hole as if something had broken out. At the risk of my account being discovered by my Redditor friends, this was in Pittsburgh. We did a little research and think the sub-basement may have been related to prohibition. Honestly, I'm just willing to accept that explanation in order to avoid lifelong nightmares.