By Christopher Shultz
Creepy basements – they’re a staple of horror movies, particularly in titles like The Silence of the Lambs and The Conjuring. But of all the scary basements featured on the big screen, nothing can compare to the real life horrors discovered by everyday people beneath their homes and businesses. From mysterious wells, medical oddities, skeletal remains, animals, and even other people, this list of creepy things found in basements will surely raise the hair on the back of your neck.
Mummified Infant Remains and a Peter Pan Obsession
In 2010, a woman made a shocking discovery inside a trunk tucked away in her Los Angeles, CA apartment building’s basement. Wrapped in LA Times newspapers from the 1930s were two mummified remains of newborn infants, sealed away together with various Peter Pan-related paraphernalia, including a copy of the book by J.M. Barrie and a membership card to the Peter Pan Woodland Club. Weirdly enough, the previous owner of the trunk was Janet M. Barrie – or J.M. Barrie, the same name as the famous author.
While some theorized the woman might have been a distant relative of the writer, it was later revealed there was no familial relation.
Furthermore, DNA tests showed the infants were indeed the children of Janet, and it’s possible they were illegitimate children who died shortly after birth. While the identity of the children and further information about the trunk’s owner were unearthed, the circumstances that led Janet to stow her deceased children in her trunk will forever be a mystery.
Two Fetuses in Jars
Workers tasked with renovating an old building in Hannibal, MO uncovered two fetuses preserved in jars of formaldehyde in the basement. The discovery bolstered rumors that the property once housed an illegal abortion clinic established sometime in the early 1900s.
A Secret Roommate
Ohio State University students made a startling discovery in September 2013, when they found a locker in the basement of their house that led into a secret room, complete with textbooks and photographs on the wall. The room was apparently inhabited by “Jeremy,” a complete stranger to the other residents of the house. The matter was resolved peacefully – Jeremy simply vacated his sweet secret room. Still, the tenants have no idea how many keys to their home might be floating around town.
Three Kidnapped Women
This story rocked headlines in May 2013 – Ariel Castro, a Cleveland, OH man, was arrested following the revelation that he had been keeping three women imprisoned as sex slaves for over a decade. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight had all been kidnapped by Castro between 2000 and 2004, and ranged between 14 and 20 years old at the time of their kidnappings. They were discovered when one of Castro’s neighbors heard Berry crying for help from within their underground prison.
Castro was sentenced to life in prison. One month later, in September 2013, he was found hanging by his bedsheets in his cell, an apparent suicide. He was mourned by few.
The Dolls’ Last Supper
Hanny’s, a restaurant and bar in Phoenix, AZ, offers up tasty late-night food options and spirits, though the latter is not just of the alcoholic variety. Apparently set up by the establishment’s owners, this scene of placid dolls arranged in a way not unlike depictions of The Last Supper, serves as a horrifying discovery for patrons venturing down into the basement.
1,200 Skeletal Remains in House Belonging to Benjamin Franklin
A home on Craven St. in London had a mass grave of over 1,200 skeletal remains, both human and animal, beneath the soil of its basement. They all dated back to roughly 1757- 1775 – exactly the time frame during which notable American founding father Benjamin Franklin lived there.
But this discovery did not reveal Franklin as a secret serial killer; rather, the home was used by William Hewson as a secret anatomy school. At the time, dissecting corpses, even for medical study, was illegal, so Franklin allowed his friend Hewson to use his basement as a literal underground medical classroom, where students could learn without fear of repercussions.
Evidence of Satanic Rituals
The possibility of a hoax is high for this one, but Imgur user booshy992 discovered what appeared to be evidence of Satanic rituals and activity in both his basement and attic. He claims the realtor did not show him either space before moving in. Quite the misstep indeed, but at least it made for a creepy series of photos.
A Hidden Chapel
In September 2010, Pat and Diana Farla of Telford, Shropshire in England discovered a chapel hidden beneath their home that was believed to date back to the 1700s. The discovery came about after the couple, having imbibed a little Good Friday cheer, decided to finally find out where the metal grate near their front door led. It’s possible the hidden chapel served as a place of worship for persecuted Catholics.
A 200-Pound Alligator
A man in Lansing, MI apparently kept a 6-foot, 200-pound pet alligator in his basement for over 20 years. The gator was discovered in January 2016 by a repairman, who immediately notified animal control. Apparently, the man kept his pet a total secret, only occasionally taking the animal into his backyard. Sadly, the animal was confined to a cage for most of its life.
A Spooky Well
It’s difficult to find an exact city for this story, which leads one to believe it might be a viral hoax. Nonetheless, it was reported sometime in July 2015 that a man discovered a creepy old well underneath a mysterious metal door in his basement.
Comparisons to The Ring and The Silence of the Lambs were made, as were cryptic statements like, “The man had no idea where the well led!” despite the fact it was only purported to be 7 or 8 feet deep – meaning the mysterious homeowner in question could easily see the bottom of the structure with a flashlight.
There’s plenty about this story that smacks of BS, but it’s a fun little Internet mystery nonetheless.
This story could have had a far worse ending that it does, but it is no less unnerving. A home in Saukville, WI had 29 rabbits living in cages in its basement. The animals were discovered in January 2016, and while sadly one rabbit had perished, the others were rescued in the nick of time. The rabbits were said to be of adequate weight, though they had been left without food and suffered some hair loss due to their dark environment.
Investigators were looking into the matter at the time of the incident, though there was little hope of finding the person responsible for the animal abuse. The rabbits eventually became adoptable.
A WWII German Panzer Tank
In July 2015, a man in the wealthy German suburb of Heikendorf was found to possess a decommissioned World War II-era Panzer (Panther) tank, which he had stowed away in his basement. He also possessed a German cannon and torpedo, and was apparently an avid collector of WWII arms. The tank was well-known in the town, with the mayor reporting the man was “chugging around in that thing during the snow catastrophe in 1978.”
The question is this: how in the world did this guy get a tank into his basement?