They say that home is where the heart is. Turns out it’s also where lots of other things are…
Most of our houses have had a whole previous life before we knew them, when other people lived there instead of us—and every once in a while, a relic of that previous life will turn up unexpectedly and teach us a little more about our house’s past. And depending on what kind of people lived there before us, these relics can be very interesting for a whole variety of reasons.
Here are 42 stories about some of the most bizarre, wacky, cool, or straight up mind-blowing objects that people have ever discovered inside their homes.
1. Hidden Stash
I found a VHS tape from a defunct rental store in the basement. Someone had stashed it away in the wood boards of the ceiling and left it there after moving. After some hesitation, I popped it into an old VCR and found that it was some crazy 80s erotic film. I couldn’t stop laughing at the absurdity of it.
2. Spoonful of Sugar Gone Wrong
I found a spoonful of what turned out to be drug residue on Q-tips in an old dresser drawer in my new house.
3. Modern Art
We found a stack of acrylic paintings in the basement, all very amateurish. Subjects ranged from creepy little girls to 70s style psychedelic nude ladies. We had our realtor tell the owners to pick them up or they would end up in the trash. They showed up a year later asking for them!
As a bonus, the junk removal guy loved the paintings and asked to keep them.
4. It’s Not Easy Being Green
In the attic of my house, I found a small frog sculpture made out of metal. It had very pronounced nipples.
5. It Was Bound to Turn Up One of These Days
We found a .38 revolver hidden in a closet in our new house. We had a police officer friend run the serial number. Turns out it was stolen in a home burglary in 1973. We found it in 1998.
6. X Marks the Spot
My parents bought a new house when I was 11 and I was super stoked because it had a finished basement that was mine, ALL MINE, to play in with my friends. I technically had more living space than my parents.
The only part of the basement that was unfinished was the laundry room. One day, I was standing on the deep freeze and looked up in the ceiling boards. I discovered that it was totally the treasure hiding spot of the last kid(s) who had lived in that house. Army men. Bubbles. Jacks. Coins. Barbie accessories. Crayons. Anything small that you could hide on the side of a two by four was there. It was pretty awesome!
7. Toy Scary
My kids found a crawl space up in a bedroom. They then found Ken dolls in it—with their hands melted and with razors embedded inside. I did my best to lighten the freakishness and joked that Sid from Toy Story must have lived there.
8. Room For One More?
I rented a house with a couple of friends a few years ago. In the attic, we found what we would come to call the “Angry Room.”
The stairs led up to the finished part of the attic, and through a heavy wooden door was the unfinished area with no windows or lights. Following the path of narrow carpet scraps as it snaked off into the darkness, you came to a rough door that latched only from the outside. Next to the door was a pull-chain for the single, bare light bulb in the tiny room on the other side of the door. Inside, it was completely featureless, aside from the various metal brackets on the ceiling and two of the walls. The door had scratches on the inside and there were a few small holes in the walls.
But hey, the rent was cheap and it was close to campus.
9. A Sign of Things to Come
When I rented the property, I moved in and found a large sign in the garage that had the words “Meth house” in big letters. It certainly helped connect the dots about everything else that was wrong with the place…
10. Fair Game
I found a ticket to the 1934 World’s Fair in Chicago. Unfortunately, it was too late for me to be able to attend.
11. Photo Finish
I found a USB drive belonging to the previous owner of my house. It held thirty photos of his car and one of his wife and baby.
12. Full of Surprises
My cousin found an honest to gosh hidden room. A bookshelf swung forward and revealed an unfinished place under the stairs. It had a water glass and some Star Wars books from 1996 in it.
13. Putting the ‘Fun’ in Funeral Home
My parents bought a home that used to be a funeral parlor almost 100 years ago. Dad had never questioned why there was a second wall that went nowhere—until the day a pipe burst and they finally had to cut it open.
Inside, we found a small walled off room that contained hundreds of old bottles, odd equipment, chemicals, perfumed salts, stained glass windows from the original building, and a few old ledgers and accounting books. My parents had no use for this stuff and a local antique shop owner/town historian happily took it when offered.
14. Take Note
We found a box full of random things in the basement of our apartment. Inside, there was a notebook filled with handwritten notes that progressively got less and less legible, phone numbers, names, stories, etc. We tried calling a few of the numbers just for fun, and no one answered.
15. We’re in the Money
After moving into our new house, we found around $14,000 stuffed behind the toilet. Apparently, the person who lived in the house before us did not believe in banks.
16. Seeing Red
I found a pool of dried blood stains above and behind the bathroom mirror. The rest of the bathroom looked to have been hastily painted to cover this situation up.
17. Happy Hanna-cat!
We bought our house in September of last year. About this time last year, our cat started playing with this little wooden thing he found. We had no idea it was, but it turned out to be a little Dreidel. We had never seen it before, but that was the moment when our cat let us know he was Jewish.
18. Time for Change
I found piles of change. So much change.
Countless pennies, nickels, and dimes, with the occasional quarter sprinkled in. All buried in the ground around the house.
19. Speak Easy When Reading This One
When I was a kid, we bought this one old house that used to have a general store in the basement. Beneath the basement stairs, there was a hidden hooch room with empty old bottles and two little stools, rigged to a pulley system so that the door would slam if someone opened the side door to enter the shop. It was apparently a hooch house during Prohibition.
20. A Vicious Cycle
We found an entire bicycle, split up into parts, buried in the backyard.
21. Open Secret
We found an uncomfortably obvious meth lab and a secret passageway (walls had been gutted) leading from a bedroom closet to a linen closet close to the back door.
22. A Revolutionary Discovery
We found what we thought were decorative bayonets above one of the garage doors. Turns out they were actual Civil War bayonets. With them were a thirteen-star flag, a very old atlas, and a bunch of other cool things from the 19th century.
It was an incredible house, but my folks sold it along with most of the cool stuff during their vicious divorce a few years later. The atlas was divided into individual pages to sell—which is a horrible thing to do if you ask me.
23. So You Are the Culprit
When I was young and we were moving, I didn’t feel like cleaning my room. So, I stuffed a bunch of knick-knacks and some mildly dirty underwear into a hole in the wall before we patched it up.
I hope someone finds my treasure one day.
24. The Pet That Smiles Back
I found a dried inflated puffer fish staring at me from the deep dark corner of the kitchen cabinet the first time I opened it.
25. A Discovery of Biblical Proportions
I found a soldier’s pocket Bible from 1861. It was in mint condition, with a gold-leafed cover and an inscription from his sister.
26. Lord of the Rings
The previous owner’s wife had passed away not long before we purchased the house. About a week after we took possession, the realtor called us and asked if we’d found the owner’s wife’s wedding ring in the master bedroom closet. We had not. A few years later, we were cleaning on top of the kitchen cabinets and found the ring. Why it was on top of the kitchen cabinets we will never know. However, we were able to successfully track down the owner and return it!
27. Are You Ready to Rumble?
I found a child-sized WWE belt in my new house. Despite the excitement of just having purchased my first home and the stress of suddenly becoming several years’ worth of salary in debt for the first time, I was most interested in how I could possibly wear such a fine article of clothing to work the next day.
28. Locked and Loaded
I found a shotgun in the drop tile ceiling of the basement.
29. Someone’s Been Naughty
I found a cardboard box with handcuffs inside. I thought it was a box of extra hardware for the closet shelves. This was after the previous owners had sent a message through the realtor asking if I had found a digital camera. I had not, but I’d be kind of curious/afraid to look at what was on it…
30. On One Condition
I found an antique piano from the early 1900s. Had it been kept in better condition, we were told it would have been worth at least $10,000 because it was of a particularly rare model and brand.
31. Can’t Get Enough of This Picture
I can’t find a picture right now, but there was a small cardboard box with several dozen headshots clipped from a very old newspaper in the rafters of my 1915 home. They were all the same photo of a young woman from the neck up, about two inches square.
Several were pasted into a little leather book on each page.
32. Next Time Won’t You Play With Me?
In the dark, musty attic, we found an ancient baby swing and crib. It’s still there—and I’m scared to go up there for fear of seeing the gleaming eyes of some monster-baby, sitting there in the dark.
33. Striking Gold
Earlier this year, I moved into a new apartment and found four unopened cans of 7 Up Gold in a gap between my kitchen cabinets and the wall. 7 Up Gold was discontinued in 1988.
34. Devil’s in the Details
In the rafters of the new garage were a collection of leather breastplates, helmets and horse harnesses from the first local volunteer fire department, and a picture of the former owner in a devil costume for Halloween.
35. Under the Radar
I’m not very tall. I was cleaning out my bedroom while preparing to move out of the house my family had rented for about three years. At the very top of the closet, right at the back, were a balled up pair of a stranger’s used underwear–which had evidently been there for at least the three years that we’d lived there. That was gross, to say the least.
36. Bathroom Break
We found bullet holes behind some bathroom wallpaper that we were removing, and then we found an old roll of film hidden underneath the old Jacuzzi tub that came with the house.
37. A Sharp One
We opened up the wall to repair a busted pipe. I noticed a pile of debris in the wall and luckily happened to be wearing gloves. I reached in to grab the debris and throw it away—and pulled out a handful of blades. Turned out there were several more handfuls of them still to come. I later learned a feature of the mid-century modern bathroom was a blade disposal slot in the back of the medicine cabinet. Super gross and creepy. Be on the lookout for this in any house you ever buy!
38. Don’t Keep Her Waiting!
In the space above the garage, we found a mannequin in a frilly dress set up looking directly at the entrance.
39. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words
I found a very large, colored-in black and white photograph in an ornate gilded frame in the attic. The photo showed a young child in a white lacy dress, wearing a cowboy hat and boots, standing on the steps of a city building with a pony. The building in the photo was clearly a style of architecture that isn’t found anywhere near where I live. Also, the child was the ugliest child any of us had ever seen. Scary ugly. I wasn’t even envious about the pony—that kid was just so ugly.
We hung the photo in a prominent spot, and would make up a story about the person/pony/photo, taking turns. We left the thing in the attic when we sold the house. Didn’t seem right to take it.
40. Shedding Some Light on the Past
I grew up in the middle of nowhere, deep in rural southern Idaho. The farm my folks rented was very odd. There was a ton of old farm equipment from the 40s and 50s. As well as several (about ten) old 50s cars just scattered around the property and hidden in the tree line. The owner had a small shed on the property she asked us to never open. No worries. It sat between the garage and an old mobile home trailer that was never used.
We moved away and, shortly after, the owner died. The new property owners went into the shed and found tons of old WWII stuff and older equipment. Guns. Bayonets. A Nazi flag. All sorts of things. This shed even had an old-school dirt wall basement that had old radios and tons of other crazy stuff.
41. Gold Rush
I found a gold wedding band in one of the garden beds. It was sheer luck that the rotary hoe didn’t destroy it. I let the real estate agent know about it and asked if the previous owner knew whose it was. Turns out the ring belonged to the previous owner’s late husband of 50 years. He had died five years prior, but had lost the ring the first day they moved into the house 45 years earlier. The ol’ girl was in tears when I handed it back, and rightly so I think!
42. If These Walls Could Talk
When I was in middle school one of my brothers’ friends that lived down the street went missing. She had an older boyfriend who also lived on the same street. He was allegedly the last person to see her and the story was that she had left his house late at night to walk home, and he never got the usual phone call that she got home safe. After 24 hours of not hearing from her, he and her family filed a missing person. Eventually, the search parties stopped, the missing posters were taken down, and she was deemed as lost.
Fast forward to a couple years later. The boyfriend had been moved out of the house for a while now, a new family moves in. The kids are playing in the woods behind the house, and they find her bones.
The skull was totally bashed in and a disturbing amount of her bones were broken. She was beaten to death. The worst part was the remains were no more than 6 feet from the house. I have no idea why the cops hadn’t found them, but it really sparked a debate in our town about how serious our police force is.