Show Mobile Navigation
Creepy |

10 Creepy Stories of Intruders Hiding in People’s Homes

by Robert Grimminck
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Your home is where you should feel safe. It is where you let your guard down and perform your most personal routines. It is where you are most vulnerable.

So, what if someone broke into your house and was hiding somewhere? It’s the stuff of urban legends, but the following stories are anything but fictional.

10Theodore Edward Coneys


By September 1941, Theodore Edward Coneys had fallen on hard times, so he went to visit his old friend Philip Peters, whom he hadn’t seen in many years. When Coneys got to the house in Denver, Colorado, he found it empty and unlocked. Peters was out to see his wife—who had broken a hip—in the hospital. So Coneys let himself into the house. Inside, he found a small door that led to a tiny attic room. Coneys, a rather small man, managed to get into the room and decided it was better than living on the streets for the winter. He lived there for a few weeks. Whenever Peters left the house, Coneys slipped out of his hiding spot, helped himself to some food, and used the bathroom. That lasted until October 17. On that day, Coneys slipped out of his attic room and started cooking, but Peters hadn’t gone out. He was actually napping and was startled by Coneys, whom he didn’t recognize. Coneys attacked Peters and pistol-whipped the 73-year-old man to death.

Instead of fleeing, Coneys went back into his hiding spot. Police were called after friends discovered the body, but the police were incredibly puzzled by the crime scene. All the doors and windows were locked, so they were unsure how the killer got in and left the house. A short time later, Peters’s wife returned to the home and hired a series of housekeepers. However, they kept leaving because they were sure the house was haunted, so the woman ended up moving in with her son. Coneys, on the other hand, stayed right where he was.

When people passed the house, they’d see lights or hear strange sounds. The police investigated but could never find anyone in the house, so people assumed the house was haunted. Eventually, the police started doing surveillance on the house. On July 30, 1942, 11 months after moving in, the police finally saw Coneys move a curtain, exposing his face. They raided the house and caught Coneys climbing into his attic room. They had always assumed the door was too small for anyone to fit through.

Coneys was arrested and convicted of murdering Peters. He died on May 16, 1967, in a prison hospital.

9John M. Dubis

It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone reading this, but celebrities can have problems with stalkers. One person stalking singer and actress Jennifer Lopez was a man named John M. Dubis. Lopez already had an order of protection against the 49-year-old man because he had a habit of stalking her, but that didn’t stop Dubis from breaking into the pool house of Lopez’s $10-million mansion in Southampton, New York.

On August 8, 2013, workers at the house discovered Dubis on the property and called the police. It turned out that Dubis had been living in the pool house for an entire week before anyone noticed, despite there being security at the house. Dubis even posted Facebook pictures he had taken all around the property. Lopez was not at that home while Dubis had taken up residence in the pool house. Dubis was arrested and charged with burglary, criminal contempt, and stalking.

8Davis Wahlman

Davis Wahlman arrived at his Seattle area home one night and noticed a couple of lights inside that would usually be off. He noted it was not ordinary, but he didn’t seem too concerned. He thought maybe his parents had stopped by and forgot to turn off the lights. When he entered the house and went upstairs, he also found a screen from a bathroom window inside the tub. Again, he didn’t think too much of it until the next morning when strange noises in the attic startled him. The bathroom window, which was a small space, was located upstairs but can’t be easily accessed without something or someone to lift a person.

He jolted out of bed when he heard rummaging above him, which he knew was the attic. Realizing the noises were weird, he tried to figure out what was going on when he noticed a light was on in the office. The door was locked, so he knocked but got no response. He went to find something to protect himself then knocked on the door again. It was then he heard a woman’s voice. She asked if he was Jimmy. Wahlman replied no and ordered the woman to open the door.

When the woman eventually opened the door, she told Wahlman that Jimmy told her she could live there. She also claimed she had been there for three days. Wahlman Wahlman called 911, but the woman escaped before the police arrived at the home. He never learned how the woman entered his house, but she appeared to have been living in the attic for at least a few days. Wahlman said that nothing was stolen, but a few things were moved around the house.

7Miguel Lua


Photo via: CBS Sacramento

In December 2010, an unidentified woman in Modesto, California, was getting worried—strange things were going on in her house. She was sure it had something to do with her ex-boyfriend, 27-year-old Miguel Lua. She was very suspicious and believed that Lua might have broken into her house. One night, the woman plugged in her cell phone to charge overnight. When she went to retrieve it, the phone was missing. She called the police, and they searched the house.

In the attic, they found Lua hiding under some insulation. It appeared that he had been there for some time, spying on his ex-girlfriend. Lua had taken the cell phone to see if she was calling other guys. Lua was arrested, and it turned out this wasn’t the first time he entered an ex-girlfriend’s house without permission. In July 2010, he was arrested for a similar crime, and that ex had two restraining orders against him.

6Ohio State University Student’s Secret Roommate

Students discover stranger living in basement

In September 2013, an off-campus house near Ohio State University was a busy place with many people coming and going. This is why, at first, the nine students living there did not think anything too unusual was going on when the cupboards were left open or the microwave door wasn’t closed. However, this kept happening. The students started to investigate, and it made them wonder what was behind the locked door in the basement.

Before the strange happenings, the residents believed that it was a door to a utility closet. So, some of the residents got a maintenance team from the property company to break down the door. When they did, they found a fully furnished room with textbooks, framed pictures, and even a sink and a toilet. That night, they changed the locks on the house.

The squatter—an OSU student identified only as “Jeremy”—got a hold of the people living in the house and asked if he could collect his stuff, which they allowed him to do. One of the residents had previously seen Jeremy but thought he was just someone’s friend. Jeremy had gotten a key from his cousin, who’d lived in the house the summer before.

5Velma Kellen’s Squatter

In Yelm, Washington, 73-year-old Velma Kellen wasn’t sure what to make of the strange things happening around her house. She would find her back gate open, even though she knew for sure that she’d closed it. She also picked up an odd smell, which she described as similar to cigarette smoke but weirder. When it got to be wintertime, Kellen noticed that she was having problems heating her house. So, she called a repairman to come to look at the ventilation.

When he inspected the underside of the house, the repairman discovered that someone had been squatting in a crawl space and had cut the vent to heat it. In the crawl space, they discovered alcohol bottles. Amazingly, none of Kellen’s three dogs had barked or detected anyone below the house. It is unclear how long the person, or persons, were squatting there, but it is believed that they were doing it for up to a year.

4Carlo Castellanos-Feria

Clothes on the floor

Carlo Castellanos-Feria first met Michelle Fredenburg-Onion at a hospital in Washington, D.C., where they both worked. Castellanos-Feria was a valet, while Fredenburg-Onion was a director of physical therapy. After meeting Fredenburg-Onion, the 32-year-old valet became obsessed and started stalking her. At some point, she left her keys unattended, and Castellanos-Feria swiped them. He made copies and then returned the keys without her noticing.

One day, Castellanos-Feria entered Fredenburg-Onion’s home and set up a camera on a desk in her bedroom. Then, whenever he would hear Fredenburg-Onion and her boyfriend come into the apartment, Castellanos-Feria would hide under the bed. He managed to do this for two days before the boyfriend finally caught him. Under the bed, Castellanos-Feria had condoms, latex gloves, a change of clothes, and a power cord.

Castellanos-Feria was arrested. When police searched his home, they found six framed pictures of Fredenburg-Onion, another stack of unframed pictures, and a video from her first wedding. Castellanos-Feria had broken into the house of his victim’s ex-husband to obtain the material. He was convicted and sentenced to 38 months in prison. The creepy story was made into a movie called Under the Bed by one of the co-directors of The Blair Witch Project.

3Stanley Carter


In 2008, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the Ferrance family started noticing strange sounds in the house during the days leading up to Christmas. At first, Stacy Ferrance just assumed that the cats or one of her three children made the noises. On Christmas Day, a few things went missing at two separate times—first in the afternoon, then in the evening. It was as if someone had broken into their house twice and stolen some of their Christmas presents, so the family notified the police. The following day, they found footprints in the closet of one of the bedrooms, which led into the attic. They called the police again, and the police brought a dog with them. In the attic, they found 21-year-old Stanley Carter. He was wearing Stacy’s sweatshirt and sneakers and her daughter’s pants.

Carter had been staying with the residents of the other part of the duplex, connected to the Ferrance family’s home. They had asked him to leave and discovered him missing on December 19. Presumably, that’s when Carter entered the shared attic space. In July 2009, he was convicted and sentenced to up to 23 months in jail.

2Tatsuko Horikawa


In 2008, a 57-year-old man living in Kasuya, Japan, was convinced that someone was repeatedly breaking into his home and stealing food. However, he didn’t know how that was possible: The man was sure that he locked all the doors and windows when he left. Yet, someone kept stealing food. So, the man set up a surveillance camera that could send images to his cell phone. One day, while he was out, he saw that an intruder was lurking about his home. The man called the police, who arrived only to find the home securely locked.

Once inside, they looked around the home and found 58-year-old Tatsuko Horikawa hiding in the closet. It turned out that the homeless woman had been living on the top shelf of the man’s closet for about a year. Horikawa had sneaked inside when the man left the house without locking the door. It is believed that the woman also squatted in other people’s houses. She avoided detection by being incredibly neat and showering regularly while the man was out.

1Tracy’s Ex-Boyfriend

Woman finds ex-boyfriend living in her attic

Tracy, who didn’t want her last name revealed, was a single mother of five who lived in a house in Rock Hill, South Carolina. In September 2012, she noticed weird sounds coming from the attic, and nails were popping out of the ceiling. Tracy and two of her sons went into the attic to investigate but didn’t find anything out of the norm. Her children thought she was just delusional, but Tracy was sure something was going on and felt really uneasy.

One night, when Tracy was working on her laptop in the bedroom, a little bit of plaster fell on her from the movement in the attic. Another night, at 2:30 AM, Tracy heard a loud noise and knew that someone or something was up there. Tracy got her nephew to look into the attic. There, in the back corner, was Tracy’s ex-boyfriend, whom she’d dated 12 years prior. It looked like the unnamed ex had been living there for about two weeks. Just 90 days before that, he’d gotten out of prison for stealing Tracy’s car.

In the attic, they found cups of feces and urine. They also found a hole that he had cut so he could watch Tracy in her bedroom. The ex-boyfriend fled, and no report of him being caught could be found. So you might want to check your own attic before going to bed tonight.

Robert Grimminck is a Canadian crime-fiction writer. You can follow him on Facebook, on Twitter, or visit his website.

fact checked by Jamie Frater