“Keep your friends close and your enemies dead and buried in the basement” —Mark Frost
Basements are cold, dark, and rarely visited subterranean places, making them the perfect settings for horror movies and spooky scares. But eerie basement vibes aren’t just a thing of fiction: here are 23 facts about very real and very creepy things found in basements.
23. Mysterious Well
When a new homeowner discovered a trap door in the basement of his new home, he was shocked to discover an 8-foot-deep by 4-foot-wide cement well filled with water. The well had no pipes or holes, which made it even more bizarre. After snapping some photos of his creepy discovery, he filled it in with stones and sold the house.
22. Discovered Upon Inspection
Nearly a decade after Joseph Fritzl was jailed for keeping his daughter captive in a cellar, construction workers found another secret basement at his guesthouse just outside the city of Salzburg, Austria. While measuring the building for inspection, the workers found an improvised wall with a hidden staircase. Thankfully there was nothing or no one else found in the cellar.
21. A Surprise Roommate
In 2013, Ohio State University students were shocked to discover a locker in the basement of their house, which led to a secret room. The room was inhabited by a squatter, Jeremy, who had been living there unbeknownst to the owners of the home or the other students.
20. Property of NASA
When a scrap dealer was invited to clean out the basement of a deceased IBM engineer in 2015, he had no idea what he would find. The deceased had done some work for NASA at the height of the Space Race, and the dealer found 325 magnetic data tapes and two NASA computers.
19. Secret Bunker
After the previous owner passed away, his house was sold as is, basement contents and all. When the new owner went down to the basement, he found an odd sheet of plywood attached to the wall. He went to remove it and discovered an entrance to a secret room. The room was 4×4 feet, and had several gun cases and manuals, a giant safe, an assortment of ammo, and a hollowed-out grenade. The man also found a chest of money, but it was all pennies.
18. Underground Prison
In 2013, Ariel Castro was arrested when authorities discovered that he’d been keeping women imprisoned in his basement as sex slaves. Between 2000-2004, three women ranging between 14-20 had all been kidnapped by Castro. They were discovered when neighbors heard one of the women calling for help.
17. Shark Tank
Officers from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation found seven live sharks in an above ground pool in the basement of a home about 90 minutes north of New York City. Three other sharks in the pool were dead. Investigators believe that the homeowner was probably breeding them to sell to collectors.
16. Fetuses in a Jar
While renovating an old building in Hannibal, MO, workers uncovered two fetuses preserved in formaldehyde in the basement. According to the property’s owner, the house was once an illegal abortion clinic.
15. Basement Gravestone
A Bridgewater State student was shocked to find a gravestone embedded in the floor of his basement. The stone belonged to a War of 1812 veteran who died in 1879. Thankfully, the solider himself was already buried in a cemetery in Bridgewater, MA.
14. Welcome to the Dollhouse
A restaurant and bar in Phoenix, AZ has a creepy surprise for patrons who wander into the basement: Supposedly set up by the owners, the basement houses a frightening array of dolls, arranged in what appears to be an homage to the Da Vinci painting The Last Supper.
13. Preserved Past
When rummaging through the basement of their family home, a UK couple found a perfectly intact Victorian Era Kitchen from the 1830s. The kitchen contained pots, pans, a cooking range, and enough tables and benches for 20 members of staff. They also discovered a cookbook with Victorian recipes. Potted meat anyone?
12. Live Wire
When Linda DeForest of Goshen, Indiana told her husband that she found a torpedo in the basement, he was understandably skeptical. Upon further investigation, he found out that she was right; there was indeed a heavy, green torpedo in their basement. The couple consulted with an army veteran who explained that it was a round for either a mortar or a lightweight anti-tank weapon, and it was live! Eventually, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit came in to take the bomb away.
11. Secret Anatomy School
A mass grave of over 1,200 human and animal skeletal remains were found in a house in London; the remains dated back to the exact time Benjamin Franklin lived in the home. Was Franklin a serial killer? Not quite. It turned out he was allowing his friend William Hewson to use the home as a secret anatomy school, and the basement was an underground medical classroom where students could learn without fear of penalty.
10. Just a Little Devil Worshiping
When Imgur user booshy992 moved into his house, he was shocked to discover remnants of satanic rituals in his basement. Along with the message “within me the devil burns” were a summoning circle, an evil eye, and numerous other disturbing symbols.
9. How’d That Get Down There?
A man in a wealthy German suburb had a decommissioned WWII 1943 Panzer tank stored in his basement. He also had a German cannon and torpedo, and was apparently an avid collector of WWII arms. The tank was well-known about town, but, yes, many of these weapons were totally illegal to own, and the police ended up raiding the man’s house.
8. Just Leave it There!
In 2016, a 100-year-old Ouija Board was discovered buried in the basement walls of a house. The construction worker who found it noticed that it had been placed upside down, leading some people to think that it whoever hid it did so to break contact and protect themselves.
7. Mystery Confinement Room
In 2011, Contractors working in an abandoned home in southern Ontario made a chilling discovery in the basement. They found what seemed to be a confinement-style room with a thick door and locks on the outside designed to keep somebody in. Even more mysterious: the house had been empty since 2006, but the room was built only a few years before its discovery. So far, nobody has come forward with information.
6. My Pet Alligator
In January of 2016, a repairman discovered a 6 foot, 200-pound alligator in the basement of a house in suburban Chicago. The alligator was apparently a secret pet, and was only occasionally taken out of its cage and into the backyard. The repairman immediately notified the police, who removed the gator and charged the owner.
5. Skeletons in the Basement
When a Wisconsin woman began digging in her basement while renovating her home, she was shocked to discover the skull of a child along with an assortment of other human remains. It turned out that her house was built atop of a burial ground that may have been up to 170 years old. It took 15 months to secure approval from the State Historical Society before she could resume her renovations.
4. A Place for Persecuted Catholics
Ever since they’d moved into the detached Victorian building in 2007, Diane and Pat Farla had wondered what was behind the metre-long rectangle that lay alongside one of the walls of the house. One Good Friday, after having a few drinks, they decided to find out. When they pulled away the grid, they found a hole just big enough to crawl through, and on the other side was an eerie cellar resembling a chapel. The room dated back to the 1700s, and might have been used as a clandestine Catholic Church in a time when Catholics were persecuted and executed.
3. Mummified Remains
In 2010, a woman discovered the mummified remains of two newborn infants sealed away in a trunk in her basement along with Peter Pan paraphernalia. The owner of the trunk was a Janet M. Barrie (no relation to J.M. Barrie), and the bodies in the trunk were her children. The circumstances that led her to bury the children in the trunk remain unknown.
2. Snakes in the Basement
In 2009, after purchasing a home in Rexburg, Ohio, a couple began finding a large number of snakes in their backyard. Not long after, they started hearing noises in the walls and under the floor. Wanting to investigate, they removed a panel of siding, only to have dozens of snakes come pouring out. Bonus gross fact? During this time, the couple noticed that their water had an onion like taste, which a snake expert suggested was probably from the musk snakes exude when they are frightened. Removing the nest would have cost $100,000, so the couple—not wanting to sup on snake-musk water the rest of their lives— filed for bankruptcy and moved out.
1. Secret Hideout
When homeowners at Julong Gardens in Beijing started seeing more and more unfamiliar faces in their apartment complex, they became suspicious. Eventually, they discovered a maze of hidden rooms behind a door in the basement of one of the towers. The space was divided into worker’s dormitories with kitchens and a smoking room. The tenants were migrant workers, also called shuzu or “rat tribe” in China, but it’s unclear whether or not the underground homes were legal.