Approximately 99 percent of haunted house stories begin the same way: The owners move into a house that seems too good to be true. Then there is some foreshadowing via rumors from the neighbors, and finally a gruesome discovery.
But that chain of events isn't just the stuff of movies and campfire stories. Real homeowners have moved into their new digs only to find horrors like ...
#6. An Old Burial Ground
OK, based on what you have seen in horror movies/novels/TV shows, what is the one single thing that ensures your home will be infested with ghosts and/or poltergeists? Without question, it's building your house on top of a burial ground. You're angering not just one restless spirit, but dozens, who are sure to take vengeance on whoever has disturbed their sacred resting place.
"You could at least desecrate our graves tastefully."
So of all the possible things in the world you can find in your new home, none can be quite as unsettling as plunging a shovel into the floor of your basement only to have a child's skull come rolling out.
"See, honey? Kids love basements!"
That's exactly what happened to Helen Weisensel. And it turned out that, yes, her home had been built atop an old, long-forgotten cemetery-- one that archaeologists and local historians estimated to be among the earliest in Wisconsin's Jefferson County, which would make it a good 170 years old. Meaning the spirits could have theoretically been restless over slavery, Native American atrocities, you name it.
"We're just miffed about the dry rot. Have some pride, Helen."
Weisensel's nightmare didn't just end with the bones of a child being unearthed from beneath where she slept. First, there were the pesky -- yet quite pertinent -- inquiries from the neighbors.
"So the cat's vomiting blood and calling for Azathoth. I thought you might know something about that."
"Everybody asks me ... 'Did you have weird things happen in your home?' I say, 'No, my house is just fine,'" Weisensel said of her neighbors. And it's really not a surprise that nothing weird had happened: She probably hadn't made Them angry. Yet.
But then came the real curse known as bureaucracy. See, Weisensel's remodeling project involved her really trying to fix her house. As in, her house needed serious foundation work, which immediately became impossible the moment her home became an official historic burial ground. In order to go through with any renovations, she became legally bound to get the go ahead from the State Historical Society, which in turn would require the hiring of an archaeologist to oversee any and all work, which would cost her $100 an hour.
Eighty percent of that was just wear and tear on fedoras and Nazis.
Before it was all over, Weisensel ended up having to wait 15 months before the state of Wisconsin finally gave her the green light to make those repairs to her home's foundation. Which would constitute a completely happy ending, if it weren't for the fact that she's still living directly atop the skeletons of dozens of slumber-disturbed dead people.
#5. Walls Full of Snakes
Ah, small town Idaho. Is there any place on earth less likely to be host to unthinkable horror? Or anything else?
So, you've bought your idyllic new home, and you're prepared to live the quiet life.
Idaho: A place to exist.
One day, you find a snake in the yard. Well, no big deal. They help keep mice away, right? Then you find another. And then you find three dozen more.
And then you start to hear a rustling in your walls ...
Meet Ben and Amber Sessions, who found out that what they thought was their dream home was actually what the locals had come to refer to as...
Because it's infested with bears.
Soon after moving in, Ben was finding more than 40 snakes in his yard in a single day, carrying them off his property in buckets.
They never had to go to KFC again.
Not long after that, the Sessionses spent a sleepless night listening to a noise ... almost a slithering in their walls.
When Ben removed a panel of siding, dozens of snakes came bursting out.
Ben's harrowing inspection beneath their crawlspace the next morning revealed the enormity of the situation: Their new dream home was sitting atop an enormous snake hibernaculum. Which is to say, they were living smack dab in the middle of Snake City.
Population: All of the snakes.
All the implications instantly came crashing down around them. The curious taste of their tap water, which Ben initially described as "onion-like"? That's the musk that snakes release when frightened. A consultation with a herpetologist informed them that snakes also defecate when emitting their musk, and that snake feces is a good way to catch salmonella and tape worms. And so, to review, the Sessionses and their two children had been using snake shit water to drink, shower and bathe. And Amber was pregnant with their third child.
They'll need to buy her a new baby gown every time she sheds her skin.
Then, just to make everything good and properly horror movie-worthy, Amber was watching TV one day when she saw a brief local story about another family that had fled their home due to a snake infestation. "We're not alone!" she must have thought, feeling at least somewhat relieved. Then she noticed the house was in the same town as hers. Then she noticed it was the same house as hers.
She was watching a TV program about her home's previous owners having fled her current house in terror.
When we move, we usually write warning notes to the new owners. On their walls. In blood.
Amber would later find out from the previous owners themselves that they'd abandoned it without thinking there was any way the real estate company would actually have the balls to try to sell that "Satan's lair" of a home.
In the end, it turned out the only way to neutralize the problem of such a massive, established snake den beneath their home would have been to raise the entire house off its current foundation so as to lay down a new concrete foundation beneath it. In their case, it was a job that would cost a minimum of $100,000. So the Sessionses also ended up abandoning the place, having to file for bankruptcy in the process. When they found out that a "For Sale" sign had gone up again, they went to the media in order to save the next victims from having their shit terrified.
#4. A (Toxic) Hidden Room
You, your spouse and your adorable toddler score a sweet deal on a five-bedroom, two-bath house. You're just about to begin renovations when you scoot aside a book case to reveal ...
A secret corridor.
Screw Narnia. If it's not a sex dungeon, we're not interested.
Holy shit! That's not creepy, that's awesome. Why would that story be in this article? Well, there's the deadly toxins in the air, for one ...
In 2005, Jason and Kerri Brown followed their newfound corridor to a secret room. What would it hold? Torture equipment? Pirate treasure?
The first thing they found was a note from the previous owner:
Congratulations! You and everyone you love are in danger!
Naively eager to begin their next adventure, the Browns continued reading:
"I owned this house for a short while, and it was discovered to have a serious mold problem. One that actually made my children very sick, to the point that we had to move out."
It turned out that George Leventis, the note's author and previous owner of the home, had found out what the Browns were about to learn: The house was contaminated with black mold. When he'd lived there, one of the children he mentioned in the note had gotten so sick that she "was unable to hold any nutrition" and "couldn't breathe." With little money to his name and being unwilling to take the matter to court, Leventis simply stopped paying the mortgage and moved out. But he did at least leave the note to serve as some warning. Luckily, the Browns proceeded to take it very seriously.
"We just assumed there'd been a murder."
Upon further testing by an environmental engineer, the toxicity levels were determined to be so high as to permanently cancel the Browns' move-in plans, and it provoked them to do what the previous owner should have done from the start: sue the pinstriped pants off the Fannie Mae broker who'd sold them that slow death trap of a house to begin with.