Spending time at other people's houses can feel like a mini-vacation - except for when it turns into a nightmare. Perhaps they have a dysfunctional family, an extremely dirty kitchen, or a dark past hiding in the bedroom closet. Brace for impact, as these houseguests share the moment their blood ran cold while staying inside another's home. Content has been edited for clarity.
"My new boyfriend and I went to take care of some pets at a friend's place. When we arrived, the place was trashed like a tornado had gone through. Playing cards scattered everywhere, wrappers, receipts, small toys, etc.
Then after we feed the cats, we explore the rest of the house to see what the heck was going on. In the kitchen there were three different meals in various stages of preparation just left on the stove and counters. All the dishes were scattered, some with portions of pasta on them (incredibly the cats hadn't eaten it).
We go to feed their chinchillas in the guest bath and when we open the door, every surface in the bathroom was covered in chinchilla poop (imagine little pellets).
The guy was military and had just gone out of town with his family for training. We couldn't understand why he would leave his place like that!"
"When I was 12, I had a friend that owned several hamsters. Always like 6+ at a time. The house smelled horrible. Anyway I spent the night one night and got up to get water at around midnight. I opened the freezer to get ice and it was FILLED with hamster carcasses. Like almost 2 dozen. I practically threw up. I never brought it up and never spent the night again. She moved away a couple months later."
"I was about 10 years old and one day after school, I went back to a friend's apartment to play some games and do some sort of school project or homework (it was a while ago and I don't remember exactly).
His mom made some snacks for us and we were playing something, when his dad got home. He started shouting really bad words towards the mother and started to beat the daylights out of her for forgetting to put his lunch into his work bag. This was for like 6-7 minutes, the mom had blood on her face, crying and stuff. Then he stopped, came to us with a smile on his face, kissed his son and simply went to take a shower and do stuff around the house.
I asked my friend what happened and he said that that's something normal for them, but usually the mother fights back and sometimes she even won (the mom was like 10 cm taller than the father and quite a big lady).
Told my parents about it and I was not allowed to go back there and if I wanted to hang out with my friend, we would do it at my place.
The sad thing is that the next day my friend asked me why was I scared, because 'that's how every family solves its problems' and he was shocked when I told him my mom would get mad at my dad even when he used a bad word around me and my brother and I never saw my parents fight or even lay a finger on each other. He did not believe me and called me a liar.
We remained friends for a few more years, until he started hanging with some super shady people. Now he is in jail for armed robbery or something like that."
"My mom just finished telling me a story about how a week ago she went to her sister's house (my aunt) and she saw a shrine of MY DAD (my mom's ex husband).
There was at least a 20x20 picture of him with an unlit candle.
When my mom saw it, she just kinda tried to play it off like she didn't see it. My aunt, on the other hand, had already noticed she saw and said, 'He's part of my family, too.' Because you see, a couple years (borderline 10 years ago), my aunt tried to get at my dad. Instead of outright telling her no, he entertained the idea enough where she thought he'd leave my mom for her. Didn't happen."
"I was a delivery driver and went on a delivery to a house pretty far out into the country. The woman that answered the door was probably mid-40’s and only had lingerie on. She asked me to come inside since she forgot her wallet and it was cold outside, then talked about how 'her husband usually pays but he’s not here.'
Oh and I forgot to mention, as soon as I stepped inside my eyes were assaulted with the mounted heads of every game animal I could think of. Not one space was left on their walls. And directly to the right of the door was a fully taxidermied mountain lion. I noped out of there as soon as I got the cash."
"I have a friend who has a few mannequins in his house that he dresses up when he throws large parties. It's a little quirky but fun. About 15 years ago, I went to a random late-night party of his and while searching for a bathroom, I stumbled upon a room full of mannequin parts. Legs just standing around with no bodies, torsos with no legs, arms strewn about the room, but no heads. I'd estimate about 100 body parts and there was nothing else in the room. That was really creepy."
"Now my experiences in life might be slightly different than your average person. I worked for a plumbing company in Baldwin Park, CA for a while and during that time, I probably visited 250 homes roughly. So I’ve definitely been in more houses than not. We ran a special ad saying: 'We’ll clear any drain for 79.99' so naturally we were very busy!
So we’re in the van and the tablet dings that means we have a new service request. We get the address... It’s down by the beach in Laguna Niguel. At this point I’m already rolling my eyes in the passenger seat because that’s on the far end of our operating zone. It’s only a drain call so no commission really and rich people are notoriously hard to work for in my industry.
We pull into the gated community and drive up to the house. This house is NICE. I feel like calling it a 'house' is a disservice. This is a mansion. I mean, white doric columns on each side of the door, lawn manicured perfectly, they even had a fountain. We knock on the front door and for about 4 minutes no one answered. Doesn’t seem like a long time, but to be knocking on a door, that's right where people shrug and say, 'Guess no one's home.' Well as we were about to walk back, a very short very old man unlatches the door and greets us. At this point everything seems okay. He’s very old, maybe 80-85, but still walking unassisted. He’s wearing country club kinda stuff: white polo, white shorts, loafers and nice jewelry. But he had snow white hair and liver spots and a general 'oldness' to him.
Anyway, so we head on in. There’s marble floors, big fake plants, a small bronze bust of someone I don’t recognize, all kinds of nice things in the foyer. But it seems like a white room that’s never actually lived in and only used for 'company,' which I’m guessing they never had. Again, everything seems normal here. Once we walk further into the home I start noticing the smell. Anyone reading this that’s worked in a restaurant, the smell was similar to the drains in the dish pit area. Food and moisture and wet floor smell that’s been sitting for a while.
We got to the kitchen where the drain problem was. Dude... The drain in the sink had backed up in their home. Because of that, they had stopped doing dishes for 'a while,' which was what the man said. No, these people stopped doing dishes 90 days ago at least. The two sink basins were STACKED with dirty plates. The counters on either side were STACKED with dirty plates. Their cabinets were empty because they had used all available dishes and after those were all gone, they used Tupperware containers. Once those were all gone, they bought paper plates and were stuffing those into a garbage bag by the door.
THERE WERE ANTS EVERYWHERE. Again I can’t emphasize this enough. THERE WERE SO MANY ANTS EVERYWHERE, I THOUGHT THE COUNTERS WERE A DIFFERENT COLOR THAN THEY WERE. Truly a staggering number of ants. Swarming this huge stack of rotten food and plates and trash. The counters looked alive. Like a fuzzy counter top that moved. I mean to think these people were living in this house is beyond me. They had ants all over the floor, crawling in the windows above the sink and even in the carpet in the living room. Me and my boss look at each other in disbelief. We spoke to them and respectfully declined and had them follow up with the owner of the company.
Basically the guy was very wealthy early on in life. Bought the house and married. His wife was about 10-15 years his junior but she was completely senile. The entire time we were in the kitchen, she was by the glass doors and sat at the breakfast table staring into space. The man himself was probably on the edge of dementia since speaking to him was difficult because he would get off topic and completely forget what we were speaking about. Even though we’re holding plumbing equipment both wearing Rooter shirts.
It was a very sad situation realizing that even though they retired with all this money, it does them no good. They were in serious need of a caretaker or live in nurse. They could obviously afford it but I’m not sure why that wasn’t happening. But anyways, I’ve never been so taken back walking into someone’s home like that. It felt like a horror movie."
"I was about 10 and staying with a friend. We were completely asleep when her mom and dad came in and woke us up and calmly said we were all going outside now. It was summer, so it wasn’t too cold or anything. We all went outside (her 3 older teenage siblings and her parents and the two of us) but it was the middle of the night, so it was extremely strange. Then the bomb squad showed up.
Turns out, there was a grenade with the pin still in it from WWII in their garage - my friend’s dad would stay up super late cleaning and organizing his late father’s belongings when he came across it one night. My parents ended up coming to pick me up a short time later and the bomb squad took the grenade, I believe."
"I’m an EMT and from time to time we go out with the fire department or police department for wellness checks. On one such call, we arrived at a home of an elderly man whose family hadn't heard from in a week.
Knock on the door, peek through the windows, don’t see anything because the windows are covered. The family tells us where to find the spare key, so we open the door and are greeted with the most horrid smell ever. Instantly everyone knows he’s dead and has been cookin' for a bit in here. We move in and see this is a hoarder house. Just like the show there are piles of garbage, junk and god knows what else in that house. There were rats the size of small cats scampering around us as we looked for the guy.
One of the firefighters found him wedged between the bed and wall covered in junk. His toes had been gnawed on by the rats. As the firefighter was clearing the stuff off the body his eye suddenly pops open and he grabs the firefighter by the hand, scaring the living daylights out of all of us. We rushed him to the hospital where he died a few weeks later. From what a nurse told us, he fell while getting out of bed and broke his hip. While trying to get himself up, he got buried under a pile of junk until we found him."
"My friend's dad had a full on nervous breakdown during dinner while I was over one night. He and his wife were having a relatively light disagreement about something and then all of a sudden, he starts losing his mind and crying uncontrollably. He got up and began pacing back and forth in the kitchen. I didn't see what happened after that because my friend's mom quickly shuffled us off to his room and made us lock the door. I was probably 9 or 10 at the time.
I told my dad what happened the next day and he just kind of made a face and that was it. A few years ago, I asked him about it and my dad said he and my mom put the kibosh on our friendship, at least me going over to their house, based on that event. No idea what actually was going on."
"One time a girl I knew said she had a skeleton in her closet. I laugh, being a few drinks in, and figured she was talking figuratively and about to tell me a story.
Nope. She took me to her closet and sure enough there was a skeleton hanging in it, staring back at me. Real skeletons look like real skeletons, not the stuff you see in classrooms. Discolored bones and weight to the thing.
So apparently her grandfather was a doctor and I gather if you donate your body to science there is not a lot of paper work, so you can end up as a joke ornament.
Now I admire her for the dedication towards the joke, however the thought of sleeping in a room with a dead person in your closet still freaks me out."
"House sitting provides so many stories. I was at a place in very rural southwest Virginia (not West Virginia) pretty much right after I moved to a town about an hour away. I’d moved from the Midwest.
It was an old plantation house with a porch off of the upstairs master bedroom. The porch had been built long ago for family members with tuberculosis, so they could 'get some night air.' It had maids’ quarters with a hidden spiral staircase that went down to the kitchen. The house was kept up, but not remodeled—it must have been from the mid to late 1800s.
There were a multitude of rocking chairs—on the first floor, sitting on the landing of the main split staircase, some in the upstairs bedrooms. Creeptastic.
When I had gone through the house-sitting duties with the owner, I didn’t pick up on anything that made my hair stand on end. It was her family’s house, there were beautiful fruit trees on the property, cattle grazing down the hill. But when I got back two weeks later to stay at the house, it felt different.
When I opened the front door, the whole place felt heavy. I put my things upstairs, and while on my previous tour I imagined it would be 'cool' to stay in the maids’ quarters, the house felt so Stephen King to me that I decided to stay in the master bedroom.
That night, I called my best friend back home to talk to someone while I walked down the hallway to the bathroom, because that heavy-house feeling was too much.
The next day, after going to work an hour away, then coming back to Stephen King house, I could feel dread spreading down my arms from the interstate exit to the house itself. It was at the start of dusk.
When I opened the front door, I felt like I interrupted a huge party. Don’t know how else to explain this. Like I opened the door, and the proverbial record needle did the wrrrrrrripp, and 20-some people (I didn’t actually SEE anyone) were staring at me with drinks in their hand. It really jarred me.
Put my things upstairs, put the TV on, was in bed trying to sleep before sundown.
Next day, went to watch TV in the front room and felt as if there were people standing in the two doorways leaving the room, watching. I went outside to jog and had that same dread returning to the house. I wept sitting on the porch because I didn’t want to go back in.
I didn’t have any new friends yet, and no other contacts to come stay with me. Worst part? It was a two-week gig. A coworker told me, 'Go back to the house, say really loud "I’m just here for awhile, I’m taking care of the house and am not here to bother you."'
So, I did that. It helped marginally. I ended up leaving the radio downstairs on continuously for two weeks.
On the last night, my mom and her boyfriend had come to town to visit. They stayed in one of the upstairs rooms, and were thoroughly convinced the whole place had a weird vibe. However, my mom was really matter-of-fact about it. Like, yeah it’s creepy, but that’s just how it be.
I was so disturbed by the incident (and I’m a long time house-sitter—have stayed in dozens of places without incident) that I nearly called the owner to ask why she didn’t warn me."
"I was cleaning out a storeroom at my sister's house (a kind of half-outside basement under her garage) which was full of cardboard boxes, most of which had been pretty much destroyed by rain and dampness soaking up into them. All the contents belonged to another in-law relative.
As I was going through the boxes to see if anything could be salvaged, I found one full of old black and white photos. They seemed to be photos of murder scenes, the type the police would take. Some had tape outlines of bodies, others had grisly photos of (what appeared to be) corpses. All the photos seemed to be from (what looked like) South East Asian city streets/alleys.
The owner of the boxes wasn't a policeman, but had travelled extensively. No idea why he would have had these."
"So I'm 13, at a new school, and walking home after school. A kid I didn't know kinda joins me and says after a few minutes, 'Hey here's my home, wanna come in?'
'Yeah, ok.' The house was the biggest mess I've ever seen. I guess 3 or 4 adults and 4 or 5 kids lived there and they never cleaned up. There was trash everywhere; paper bags, fast food containers, soda cups and bottles. My new friend asked if I wanted a glass of water and we went into the kitchen.
His older sister was there and sweeping a pile of trash out the open back door into the back yard, which had trash and junk everywhere; junk washing machines, car parts, refrigerators. The kitchen counters were stacked 2 feet deep in dirty dishes and pots and pans. The kid grabbed a dirty glass and filled it with water; I drank it and didn't die.
In a corner of the kitchen was a 50 pound bag of dry dog food, open. 'Oh nice, you have a dog, huh?' New friend grins and says, 'Oh no we don't have a dog.' I thought about that for a minute and told him I'd better go home now, see ya later. After that I took a different way home after school."
"My ex's parents had an entire corridor of their house turned into a bizarre shrine to him. His birth certificate was mounted on the wall, surrounded by hundreds of pictures of him. Most of these pictures were photographs, but one...one was a nude portrait of him. Painted by his grandmother. Who was not a talented artist. For some reason known only to her, she'd painted him sitting naked on a theatre stage. One of his arms was bent to cover his crotch, but she'd botched the pose so it was unnaturally long and had an extra elbow. His skin was painted bright orange, with bright yellow hair, creepy blue eyes, and an oversized set of hot-pink lips. It looked like a portrait of a Donald Trump blow-up-doll that was suffering a slow leak.
There was another, thankfully clothed, portrait that his grandma had done of him, sitting at a camp-fire and playing a guitar whilst the rest of his Boy Scout troop danced around happily. Except his grandma had no idea of how perspective worked, and thought you were supposed to draw closer objects smaller, not bigger. So he was some sort of 60-foot colossus, with tiny little boy scouts dancing around his feet like they were worshipping some Lovecraftian god."
"The most unsettling thing I've seen in someone's house was at my boss's neighbors' house. I was out late with some coworkers at the apartment of one of our bosses after a team outing with a lot of drinking. It was me, two coworkers who were about the same age as me, another coworker who was several years older than us, and our boss, who was probably in her late 40s.
We were all hanging out on the balcony out back when some of her neighbors noticed she was out and told us all to come over. Our boss told us to go and meet these guys because they were awesome, so we went.
When we got there, they introduced themselves and gave us all a drink, even though we all already one in our hands. Then they gave us a tour of the apartment, which was pretty normal, until they got to their bedroom. The point to the wall across from the bed and say,
'And this is our leather wall...'
The two coworkers who were around my age and all exchanged looks that conveyed the sentiment of 'what the heck?' It was literally a giant piece of plywood that had been upholstered and put up on a wall. I don't know if it was just a weird decoration or for some torture thing or what, but they were really proud of it."
"When I was in high school, I visited a friend at her house. She never told me her mom was a hoarder.
I did everything I could to be polite and not call attention to the fact as we walked through narrow paths in the house. There were some rooms that were inaccessible because there was so much stuff. The weirdest part might have been that 6 people were living in this house like it was no big deal, or maybe it was when the mom got back from running errands with a bag full of junk from a Halloween store and just added it to the piles."