What is behind our fascination with Hidden rooms, forgotten passageways, and abandoned tunnels? I’m your host, Leah…I’m Phil…and while Steve is on vacation I’m filling in for him. I'm Sam. and today we’ll be jumping down the rabbit hole of Secret Spaces.
We really do have a fascination with secret spaces don’t we? I remember playing the board game Clue which depicts a large mansion. In each corner room is a secret passage to another room. I always loved that, it brings to mind a bookshelf that swings when you pull out just the right book revealing a dusty passageway or set of stairs full of cobwebs. Of course, there would never be a light switch, but always the convenient candelabra to carry along. Fun fact, the designers behind the game Clue based the graphics on an actual mansion. According to a 2021 article for DiceBreaker.com by Matt Jarvis, Tudor Close, located in Rottingdean, UK near Brighton, includes an actual secret passageway from its kitchen to a bar.
I’d like to mention some literature and movies that portray secret places in order to illustrate how these lend to our morbid curiosity for all things secret. House of Leaves, the book about a homeowner that finds that their home seems to be an endless labyrinth. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland where Alice takes a trip (literally) into an unknown and mysterious world. There’s also Harry Potter’s Chamber of Secrets and countless movies that use the trope of a secret passage.
These constant themes in literature and entertainment give credence to our fascination with secret places.
We’ve actually touched on a lot of secret spaces before in previous episodes. Most recently in our PIRATES! episode we talked about a desk with a secret space where a treasure map was found. In our SO MONUMENTAL episode from last year we talked about how so many American monuments have secret spaces in them like the Washington Monument, the cave-like basement beneath the Lincoln Memorial, the unfinished Hall of Records behind Lincoln’s head in Mount Rushmore.
We also talked about the secret apartment built into the Eiffel Tower in a couple of season two episodes but my favorite secret space we’ve mentioned before is the death chute. In our season 2 episode ABANDONED PLACES we explored Waverly Hills Sanitorium in my home state of Louisville Kentucky.
The tuberculosis hospital was built on the top of a big hill and opened its doors in 1926 in response to a TB outbreak in the area. At its fullest the hospital overflowed with more than 400 patients. There was no cure for TB back then, the only remedy really being open air. Many people never made it off that hill alive. In order to shuttle the dead to the bottom of the hill without being seen by the patients, the staff had a tunnel built into the hillside so personnel could wheel a body on a gurney down to a waiting hearse.
The building has been abandoned for decades now and many people like to explore the supposedly haunted grounds, including the death chute.
Because of the subject matter, so many of our stories in this episode are as dark as the Waverly Hills death chute and may not be suitable for young children so use your discretion. Sam, you have the perfect story to follow this up.
With both of us being true crime fans, we come across tons of stories where the perpetrator uses a secret place; i.e. a cellar, abandoned building, or secluded alleyway to either commit their crimes or to hide from the authorities after them. What is less common is designing and building an entire hotel with the idea of making your crimes easier to commit. That is the story of H.H. Holmes, a man that is given the credit of America’s first ever serial killer.
H.H. Holmes, byname of Herman Mudgett, was born into a wealthy family around 1861, the exact date is debated, in the town of Gilmanton, New Hampshire. Holmes’s intelligence was remarkable from a young age, and he had a special interest in medicine. Now here's where it starts to twist; As a boy, he was SO interested in medicine, that he would capture small animals in order to perform surgery on them, which if that isn’t a huge red flag, I don’t know what is. Some accounts of his life even suggest that he may have killed one of his school playmates, which you'll come to find is not too far off from his character, though that story has never been corroborated with hard evidence.
Mudgett attended the University of Michigan to pursue a medical degree, and he was a mediocre student. The times being what they were, he was almost prevented from graduating when a local hairdresser accused him of falsely promising to marry her. Shortly after he secured his degree, Mudgett moved to Chicago, where he began practicing as a pharmacist under the name “Dr. H.H. Holmes”, a name that would inevitably go down in infamy.
The pharmacy he practiced from was owned by a widow that had been convinced to sell the property by Holmes, against her late husband's wishes. She disappeared soon after, with Holmes claiming that she picked up and moved to California. He bought the empty lot across the street and began to build what would become the “Murder Castle” that was the stage for many of Holmes’ devious acts.
The 3-story hotel took two years to complete, and had many oddities, such as: soundproof rooms with gas lines leading into them (that Holmes would later use to asphyxiate his guests), stairways leading to nowhere, trapdoors, peepholes, and chutes that led into the basement. Now, being in construction for the last few years myself, I found it hard to believe that no one on the construction crew noticed anything off about the project. Come to find out, Holmes thought about that. It was said that he would constantly hire and fire new crews, in order to keep fresh people on the project that would have no idea about the entire scope of the project. This was difficult, of course, slowing production down quite a bit.
Holmes required all of his employees, hotel guests, fiancees, and wives to have life insurance policies, which he would gladly pay the premium of so long as he was listed as the main beneficiary. Many of these people would simply disappear, leaving Holmes with a healthy insurance paycheck. Many witnesses would claim to see women enter the “castle”, and never come back out. Being an opportunist, when the World’s Fair was set to be held in Chicago, Holmes saw an incredible opportunity for his hotel business, with droves of out-of-town tourists flooding the area and needing a place to stay. After being lured into the hotel, many of the guests would never be seen again.
The “castle” had a basement laboratory complete with a “window-making-furnace” that Holmes actually used to cremate the remains of his many victims. Holmes would murder an unsuspecting guest or romantic partner of his, send their bodies down one of the many chutes leading to the basement lab, the he would skinn them and sell their bones to schools of medicine.
These scams left Holmes rich, but when the World’s Fair ended, and Chicago’s economy started to dry up, Holmes took his crimes on the road. He traveled throughout the United States, committing insurance fraud all over the place and murdering some people along the way, evetually making another small fortune by stealing horses from Texas and selling them in St. Louis. He was eventually caught for this, and taken to jail.
It was in jail that Holmes would, with his cellmate, concoct the insurance scam that would eventually lead to his capture and indictment for all of the other crimes that the authorities didn't know about. Holmes would take out a $10,000 life insurance policy on himself, fake his own death, then give his cellmate $500 with the promise that he would hire a lawyer in case one was needed. Holmes attempted this plan after being released on bail, but the insurance company was suspicious of him and did not pay up.
Thinking he could still get away with this scam under different circumstances, Holmes attempted a similar crime in Philadelphia with his longtime friend, Benjamin Petezil. He planned to take out a policy on Petezil, and have him fake his death, splitting the proceeds. In actuallity, Holmes really murdered Petezil and just collected the money for himself. It wasn’t long after, that his old cellmate, furious that Holmes never paid him, told the authorities of Holmes’ scams, and not long after, he was arrested and hanged for his many crimes.
I got my information from Britannica.com and CrimeMuseum.org
Locked in a secret room for 24 years
Elisabeth Fritzl was an 18-year-old girl living a small village in Central Austria with her mom and dad when she suddenly went missing on August 28, 1984. Her mother quickly filed a missing-persons report but when the search went on for weeks with no sign of Elisabeth her parents were left to assume the worst. But then a letter arrived. It was from Elisabeth and claimed that she had grown tired of her family and had run away. Her father, Josef, told police he had no idea where Elisabeth would go but suggested she had likely joined a religious cult because she had talked previously about doing that.
Years passed, the missing persons case grew cold and Elisabeth despite growing up past her rebellious teenage years never returned home to visit. But she did send an occasional letter. The first letter was attached to the blanket or clothes of a baby left on the Fritzl’s doorstep. The note from Elisabeth claimed she couldn’t take care of the baby and was leaving it with her parents for safekeeping. This happened two additional times with Josef and Rosemarie Fritzl graciously taking in their three grandchildren and raising them in their house.
But all was not what it seemed. Elisabeth never “returned” home simply because she never left.
On that August 28, 1984 night that Elisabeth went missing her father had called her into the basement to help him with a door he was re-fitting to the newly renovated cellar. Elisabeth held the door while Josef fixed it into place. When it was finally installed Josef forced Elisabeth through the door and knocked her unconscious using an ether-soaked towel.
For the next 24 year—that’s right, 24 YEARS Elisabeth would remain in the labyrinth of rooms that her father had painstakingly and secretly constructed in the cellar just for this scheme of his.
In their family Josef held supreme power, no one dared questioned him so when he disappeared for hours at a time to construct the elaborate set of rooms in the basement, he commanded that no one bother him and so his family wasn’t fully aware of the extent of his construction project. Then after Elisabeth was imprisoned Rosemarie didn’t think to question Josef’s continued habit of disappearing to the basement for hours. The rest of the story may not be suitable for children. And so it was that Josef turned his own daughter into his sex slave.
Those children that turned up on the doorstep? Those were Josef’s own children with Elisabeth who was forced to live everyday underground without ever seeing the sun or going to a doctor. Josef brought supplies and food to Elisabeth every day. I can’t imagine what it was like for her to hear him coming through the door that was hidden behind a shelf. It must have been relief because if her elderly father should ever die no one would know to rescue her and Elisabeth would slowly starve to death. But then he was also a monster.
Two years into her captivity Elisabeth became pregnant, though she miscarried 10 weeks into the pregnancy. Two years later she became pregnant again giving birth to a baby girl named Kerstin in August of 1988. Josef didn’t allow Elisabeth to leave to see a doctor or go to the hospital. She gave birth alone in her prison. Two years later another baby arrived, this time a boy she named Stefan.
These two children stayed in the basement with Elisabeth who was determined to make their life as normal as she could by giving them the school lessons she had once had.
Elisabeth would give birth to five more children, one more was allowed to stay with her, one died shortly after birth and the other three were placed on the doorstep outside the house along with a letter. Amazingly social services never questioned the situation.
Who knows how long this imprisonment of four of his family members Josef would have continued or how horrifyingly it would end if he were to die in 2008 19-year-old Kerstin (who had never been out of the basement her entire life) became gravely ill.
Elisabeth somehow convinced her father to let Kerstin go to a hospital. Grudgingly her father agreed, and he moved Kerstin upstairs and called for an ambulance. He made up a story that he had a note from Kerstin’s mother explaining her condition. The police became involved at that point questioning Kerstin and Josef. They became suspicious and re-opened the investigation.
Josef caved under the pressure—perhaps he was becoming aware of how difficult it was going to be to keep up with the imprisonment in his old age—and on April 26, 2008, he released Elisabeth from the cellar for the first time in 24 years. She immediately went to the hospital to see her daughter where hospital staff alerted police to her suspicious arrival.
Taken in and questioned by the police, Elisabeth made them promise that she never had to see her father again and then told the story of how he had imprisoned her and sexually assaulted her over the two decades she had been listed as missing. Josef was arrested that night and the children in the cellar were released.
Don’t judge Rosemarie too harshly, she was completely unaware of what was happening as she was a victim of Josef as well. Also, during the time Elisabeth and her children were down in the basement the Fritzl’s had actually rented out an apartment on the first floor of their house. The tenants were later questioned, and they had no idea of what was going on in the basement.
Today Elisabeth and her children live under new identities to protect them from the media and as far as we know have gone on to try to live as normally as they can.
During his trial Josef admitted guilt on an incest charge, but pled innocent to enslavement and to the murder of his child. After he saw Elisabeth Fritzl’s taped testimony, he changed his plea to full guilt, acknowledging that his failure to secure medical care for the newborn may have directly contributed to the death.
For his crimes, Fritzl was found guilty on all counts: negligent murder, enslavement, incest, rape, coercion and false imprisonment. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2009. He has spent most of that time in solitary confinement (which I think is very fitting) and now suffers from advanced dementia. None of his family has ever visited him.
I got my info from AllThatsInteresting.com and AETV.com
Locked Room Murder
Another crime story involving a secret room is that of the “Locked Room Murder” a seemingly impossible to solve mystery.
Walburga “Dolly” Korschel was a German immigrant that grew up on a humble farm. She married a wealthy apron factory owner by the name of Fred Oesterreich in her early 20’s. The couple settled in Milwaukee, but their ‘happily-ever-after was not to be. Fred was an alcoholic, and Dolly was sexually unsatisfied.
One day, Dolly’s Singer Sewing Machine stopped working. Fred had a 17-year-old employee, Otto Sanhuber, that he knew was a skilled repairman, so he sent Otto over. Mrs. Oesterreich, 33 at the time, answered the door wearing nothing more than a silk robe and stockings. I love a line from my source material at atlasobscura.com where they say, “In the master bedroom the dusty old Singer machine remained untouched; the same could not be said for Mrs. Oesterreich.” That day would begin a decades-long affair between the two.
In the beginning of their affair, Otto and Dolly would meet in hotels, but it didn’t take long for them to throw caution to the wind and pursue their carnal pleasures on the Oesterreich’s own wedding bed. Mind you, this is the early 1910’s, a time marked by conservative-moralism. It wasn’t long before the neighbors started to notice a strange young man frequently visiting the household. Dolly would tell these nosey neighbors that Otto was her “Vagabond-half-brother” and leave it at that.
Dolly knew that wasn’t sustainable and that her husband would find out if they weren’t careful, so she came up with a plan. Otto would quit his job and move into the Oesterreich’s attic. Fred never went up there anyway, and that meant the lovers could continue their tryst away from prying eyes. The biggest caveat was that Otto would have to essentially give up his entire life to Dolly as there was no way he could leave the house without risking being caught. Otto didn’t mind, he had no family to speak of, and he was obsessed with Dolly, later telling the LA tImes that he had grown to love her as a “boy loves his mother”, ew.
The attic that housed Otto was humble, only having enough space for a cot and a tiny desk. He would keep his mind busy with the many nautical fiction books that Dolly would bring him from the library. This would instill a dream in Otto to one day write Pulp Fictions of his own.
By 1918, Otto had been living in the attic for 5 YEARS, coming down during the day to do the diddly with Dolly, help her keep house, and make bathtub gin. He even published one of his stories under a penname. Meanwhile, Fred began to question his sanity. He would see shadows cross the bedroom door in the middle of the night, he noticed his cigars would go missing, and he constantly heard noises coming from the attic. Deducing that he just needed to get out of Milwaukee, Fred told Dolly they were to pack up and move to Los Angeles. Dolly agreed to move on one condition; the house had to have an attic. She sent Otto ahead of them and by the time the Oesterreich’s moved into their new home, Otto, now 22-years-old, was already comfortably situated in his new attic abode.
Los Angeles was nothing that Fred had hoped it would be. His marriage to Dolly was deteriorating fast and he couldn’t seem to keep himself away from the bottle. During a particularly raucous fight between the two on August 22nd, 1922; Otto, fearing the safety of his mistress, flew down from the attic and brandished two of Fred’s .25 caliber pistols and shot his rival three times in the chest, killing him instantly.
Dolly flew into action immediately in order to cover up her lover’s involvement. She and Otto staged the house to look like a home invasion gone wrong. Otto took Fred’s diamond watch, that he always wore, and locked Dolly in the closet before fleeing the scene back into his attic. Once tucked away, Dolly began howling until one of her neighbors called the police who quickly came to investigate. Finding the body of Fred, they proceeded with caution to the closet where Dolly’s voice was coming from. They found the key and unlocked the door and started to question Dolly as to what happened. The police had no reason to question Dolly’s story, after all there was no way she could’ve locked herself in the closet, so she would go on to happily collect her inheritance of millions of dollars, and bought a nice new home with a comfy large attic.
Why might she still need an attic for Otto with her husband out of the way? Well, the nature of their attraction was based on dominance and submission, with Otto later saying that he was a slave to his love for Dolly. So Otto continued to stay in his newly furnished attic, without a single complaint.
Dolly started dating her lawyer, Herman Shapiro, on the side and began to make some incriminating mistakes. Firstly, she gifted Herman the diamond watch that she had reported as stolen during her husband’s murder. Herman recognized the watch and asked about it, but Dolly said that she had later found it under a couch cushion and didn’t want to bother the police with it. Secondly, Dolly had also had another lover of hers, Roy Klumb, dispose of the murder weapons in a nearby tar pit the night of the murders. In 1923, following a nasty breakup, Klumb contacted the authorities and confessed to disposing of the weapons. The police opened the investigation into Dolly but still were baffled as to how Dolly could have locked herself in the closet, so they released her from custody. During her hearings, Dolly had Shapiro deliver food to her “vagabond-half-brother” living in her attic, and he was happy to do so. Upon meeting Shapiro, Otto was so starved for any contact with the world that he began to just ramble on about his life, including the affair with Dolly. Shapiro was not happy with this and promptly kicked him out of the house. The frightened Otto fled to Canada.
By 1930, Herman and Dolly’s relationship was coming to a bitter end. Feeling spiteful, Shapiro told authorities of the existence of Otto, who had recently moved back to Los Angeles. The authorities quickly moved to arrest the couple, and once the papers got ahold of this particularly scrumptious piece of gossip, Otto and Dolly had a posse of paparazzi following them everywhere. The jury found Otto Sanhuber guilty of manslaughter on July 1st, but as the statute of limitations was seven years, and the trial was held eight years after the crime, Otto’s charges were dropped. Dolly was acquitted for her charges of conspiracy and soon after found a new lover whom she kept for 30 years and eventually married. She died a free woman in 1961.
Info from AtlasObscura.com and LATimes.com
Let’s take a break from murder and mayhem for a moment.
Whitaker Wright--what a name--Whitaker was a character, an unforgettable one. In 1890 Whitaker, a “self-made” millionaire, bought and renovated a 32-room mansion on a 9,000 acre, lavishly landscaped, estate located near the British village of Witley. Whitaker was absolutely rolling in money and loved spending it. Probably the best known example of his lavish indulgences was the smoking room he had constructed.
While not exactly a secret, the room was hidden…beneath one of the three man-made lakes on his property. While he constructed it to be a smoking room, those who saw it were quick to call it a ballroom. No matter what you call it, the room was stunning. The underwater room is accessed by a spiral staircase leading down to a vaulted tunnel under the lake. The tunnel then opens to the large circular room under a domed, windowed aquarium roof that lets in the natural sunlight filtered through the water of the lake. It’s glorious…and wet.
The room still exists all these years later but lake silt has built up on the sides of the domed roof darkening the bottom two rows of windows and algae grows on all the other windows casting the room in a green light. And water is very hard to control for extended periods of time so the floors, walls, everything is damp and moldy. Nevertheless it still is spectacular to see. I couldn’t find any information on it but I don’t think people are allowed access to the room now due to the dampness, mold and the fact that the structure is about 130 years old. What you can see though is the statue of Neptune on top of the dome roof. He seems to be rising out of the water in the middle of the lake.
Whitaker Wright’s wealth didn’t last long as it was built on illegal investments and business dealings in which he stood trial and in 1904 was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Royal Courts of Justice. Whitaker wouldn’t go to prison though as he was found in a small sideroom of the court lying dead on the floor. There was a revolver in his pocket presumed to be used as a backup in case the cyanide pill he had swallowed didn’t quite do the trick…but it did and so ended the larger-than-life epic story of Whitaker Wright.
I got my info from AO and a March 2020 article by Katarina Papathanasiou for thevalemagazine.com
ODDITY DU JOUR: Eight Days a Week
Time is such a weird thing. We’ve talked before about how time can get wonky in our TIME WARP episode from earlier this year. The different ways we’ve invented to keep up with time can get a little bizarre as well. You remember when you had a real thing for The Beatles? Remember the song “Eight Days a Week”? Well there was a time in 1867 when one particular state in the US experienced a week consisting of 8 days instead of 7. Any guesses? What if I gave you the hint “Seward’s Folly”?
The United States purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 through the negotiations of Secretary of State W. H. Seward. The press started calling the acquisition Seward’s Folly because despite the bargain price of $7 million, roughly 2 cents an acre, the mostly frozen land seemed like a worthless waste of government money.
People changed their tune however when gold was discovered in 1898 and the Alaskan territory has since proven to be rich in many different resources.
But getting back to the time slip…Alaska officially became part of the United States on Friday, October 18, 1867. And for the people living in Alaska it was a pretty seamless changeover except for one thing: the calendar. The United States was using the Gregorian calendar, the one we still use but Russia was using the Julian one. When Alaska switched countries it also switched calendars which required a shift from October 6, 1867 which was a Friday (under the Julian calendar) to October 19, 1867 a Saturday (in the Gregorian system). Alaska would lose 12 days that year but at least it still had the weekend.
The other glitch had to do with time zones. While Alaska was a part of Russia, the International Date Line ran between Alaska and Canada, putting Alaska in the same time zone as Russia and on a different day altogether than the US . That couldn’t continue when the territory changed hands. The easy fix was to shift the International date line to the other side of Alaska but in doing so Alaska gained a day. Instead of going from Friday October 6 to Saturday October 19th, it went to Friday the 18th. It’s probably the only time in history that there were two Fridays back to back.
I got my info from the Now I Know email newsletter by Dan Lewis and History.com
People purchase homes all of the time and end up finding hidden portions of the house or hidden rooms that are either not visible from the outside at all, or hardly even visible inside the house, being hidden in crawl spaces, behind bookcases, or even below carpeted floors.
Taking that idea to the next level is when you live in a place and don’t know there’s a secret space---but someone else knows! When someone takes up residence in an unlived-in or abandoned house or building, they are known as squatters. But sometimes a squatter will secretly take up residence in the attic or crawlspace of a home that is being lived in. They hide while the residents are home, but when they are gone the squatters will take advantage of the food in the kitchen, the bathroom facilities, and generally make themselves at home. This is called “Phrogging” and depending on how stealthy they are, the “phrogger” can live like this long term without the residents finding out about it.
The phroggers often come out of hiding at night while the residents are asleep. They roam around the house, moving things, eating food and many times stealing items. As you can imagine this is a huge invasion of privacy and security and when the crime is found out a lot of the times the residents face a big hurdle to overcome the psychological violation.
And so with that in mind let me tell you a ghost story that isn’t really a ghost story. Warnin that
Not a Ghost
In 1986 Annie and Jessica Andrews were teenage sisters who had tragically lost their mother to cancer and really missed her. Their mother’s somewhat sudden death shook the family to its core and they struggled to find a new normal. Their dad Brian had to start working a lot more hours to make ends meet and so he left Annie and Jessica alone at home a lot. He worked 2nd shift so he didn’t get home until late into the night or early morning hours.
Annie and Jessica were hit really hard by the loss of their mother so one night they decided to play around with a Ouija board in in an attempt to contact their mother. They really didn't expect anything to happen they just wanted some connection with their mom so they held a little seance but nothing happened and after a while they returned upstairs. That night as they were both lying in bed trying to fall asleep both of the girls in separate rooms started hearing tapping noises. Jessica got up and went into annie's room and they listened together to the tapping sounds. They missed their mom so much they were really hoping that the tapping sounds were communications from their mom’s ghost, so they began asking questions. The tapping sounds were responding correctly to the questions. It was scary but also reassuring.
When Brian got home the girls told him what was happening, but he thought they were making it up. He was very concerned and thought that it was part of the grieving process and maybe he should get the girls into counselling. The tapping continued for several days but it changed from feeling reassuring to being downright annoying. The tapping would continue all throughout the night disturbing Jessica and Annie’s sleep. Anytime the girls would have their dad come in to hear the tapping it would stop.
Anytime all three of them would leave the house when they returned it seemed that things would be slightly out of place, furniture moved around just a bit. Any and Jessica were insisting that it was the ghost of their mom who was in the house, but Brian wasn't having it. He began to get a little bit angry at the lengths they were going to in order to convince him and told them it was not healthy. And on top of it he felt incredibly guilty that he had to leave them alone so often. He told them that if they didn't stop this whole ghost thing then he was going to make them to get counseling.
The girls were in turmoil they felt completely alone and now we're afraid to be in their own home. The Knox had progressed to a point where the girls no longer thought it was their mother they were scared to be alone in the house at night. They now thought that they had invited an evil ghost through the ouija board that had just pretended to be their mom at first and had now progressed to tormenting them and keeping them awake at all hours.
The situation took a turn in January of 1987. the girls were home alone and in the living room when they started to hear sounds coming from the basement. They were frustrated at the whole situation had decided to confront the problem. Together, they head it down into the basement but as soon as they reached the bottom of the steps the tapping sounds stopped. frustrated they turned to go back up the stairs when they saw a note written in red on the wall saying, “I'm in your closet, come and find me.”
This took things to a whole other level. The girls were scared before but now they felt threatened. They immediately left the house and ran to the next-door neighbors. When Brian came home from work the girls told him everything that had happened and showed him the writing on the wall, surely now he would believe them. Brian didn't believe them and was very frustrated and concerned with the whole situation. He ordered them to go to counseling and the next day called to set up appointments for them.
Several weeks went by with nothing happening, no tapping or anything. But then one night when Brian was working late into the night the girls were alone and started hearing tapping again. They followed the sounds to Annie’s bedroom where they found another note written on the wall that said, “I’m back. find me if you can.”
Again, Annie and Jessica ran to the neighbor’s house and waited for Brian to come home. Brian was furious and at the end of his rope. He told them to stay at the neighbor’s house while he went to search the house talk to bottom to show that there was nothing to be afraid of. But when Brian opened the door to his house, he could not believe his eyes. The house had been completely ransacked drawers pulled out and emptied, things knocked off shelves, he knew that his girls did not do this.
Brian was on edge as he started methodically searching the rest of the house. It was dead silent with no tapping or anything. He went up the stairs to Annie’s bedroom and saw the writing on the wall. Then as he turned to scan the rest of the room Brian saw a man standing inside Annie’s closet. The man was wearing women's clothes that Brian recognized as his wife's clothes and he was holding a hatchet.
A moment passed while the two men Just stare at each other taking in the situation. Then suddenly the guy in the closet rushed past Brian and ran away deeper into the house. Brian chased after him but the guy disappeared. That's when Brian thought that it might be smart to get out of the house so he went back to the neighbors and called police.
When the police arrived they looked through the entire house but couldn't find anyone. They believed the story but there was nothing they could do if they couldn't find anyone. Brian could not understand how the guy had gotten away.
Brian, Annie and Jessica went to go stay with family while the police agreed to keep a lookout on the house. Brian felt horrible for not believing Annie and Jessica and for leaving them alone in the house with a lunatic. The girls felt traumatized from having lived with and communicated with this guy for so long.
They couldn't stay away forever and so after two weeks they decided to move back home. They planned to get a security system installed with cameras everywhere. As they drove up the street back to their house Brian saw that a window on the second floor of the house was lit up. He knew he had turned all the lights off and as he was looking at the window, he saw the guy in a dress walk across the window. Brian stopped the car and called police.
Police surrounded the house and then carefully went inside. No one, not Brian or the girls or even police had entered the house in the last two weeks, but it was apparent that someone had been inside the house. The furniture had all been knocked over or turned upside down, and oddly enough pennies were glued to the ceiling everywhere. There was also red, strange writing all over the walls.
One observant officer finally found the entrance to a crawlspace behind the washer and dryer. Inside they found that someone had made tunnels through the insulation to all the different rooms of the house and had poked peepholes through the walls. Police found and apprehended a teenaged boy that would turn out to be Danny LaPlante, a boy Annie had very briefly dated in the past.
When Annie broke it off with Danny, he had entered their house and started living in the crawlspace spying on the family and listening to their conversations. He lived there for months all through the loss of Annie and Jessica’s mom. Danny was arrested and put in a detention center.
Later in 1987 when Danny was let out of the detention center, he then broke into someone else’s house. Things were very different this time. LaPlante sexually assaulted and murdered a pregnant mother and her two elementary school aged children. He is currently serving multiple life sentences.
My info Mr Ballen, “Terrifying Secret in the basement. And Wikipedia
For my last story, let’s take a look at the viral sensation of 8800 Blue Lick Rd.
This seemingly innocuous house located in Louisville, Kentucky became a spectacle after a 3D tour of the home began circulating online in 2020. The home, formerly belonging to Bonaventure Boulevard Church of Christ, has a distinguishably odd layout, attributed to the churches continual renovations and additions in order to accommodate its growing demands. The church was later sold and became the warehouse of a fencing operation, where thousands of random items were stored as they were bought and sold by the new owners. The house became intensely cluttered by this mess of items, and when the owner had it listed on Redfin, who took the 3D photos, it wasn’t long before the strange house made its way onto many forums and threads full of people baffled by its contents, leading to “scavenger hunts” where people would find an item of note and challenge others to take the 3D tour and try to find it.
The most notorious item was the bathtub. I remember when this circulated, I thought to myself, “It’s a bathtub, how hard can it be?” the challenge just reeked of clickbait. But I was lured in and sure enough, the bathtub just doesn’t make any sense. Located up two flights of stairs, on opposite sides of the house, and tucked behind mounds of junk, I finally found the bathtub, and it was its own room, entirely walled in, with a staircase leading to nowhere on the opposite side. Growing up in the church, a Church of Christ coincidentally, I recognized it as a baptistry, and without the backstory, it made no sense whatsoever that a baptistry was just tucked away in the middle of the upper floor of this house, with soap bottles and disposable cups lining its sides. The owner would later be interviewed where he explained that he had added quite a few walls to make the property into more of a house than a church.
Unfortunately, the listing has been taken down due to someone purchasing the home in March of this year, so we were unable to find the 3D tour. However, many youtube videos still exist of popular youtubers taking the challenge, so you can go watch them and see the house through their eyes.
Info from BoingBoing.net, InputBag.com, AVClub.com, and KnowYourMeme.com
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