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10 Startling Things People Have Discovered in Their Homes

by Julie Henthorn
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

As the old saying goes, “Home is where the heart is.” Whether one lives in an apartment, house, or mobile home or has chosen to experience van life on the road, our home is the place we long for at the end of an exhausting day and where we make a life for ourselves.

In the same way that the types of homes vary from the outside, each home’s interior is also as unique as its occupants, reflecting both their own personal style and organizational needs.

However, with the busyness of life, it’s not uncommon for things inside the home to also get a bit messy from time to time and for items to be misplaced. While you might be surprised to find some lost change under the sofa cushions or a gift card you forgot you received, you certainly wouldn’t expect to find your missing husband’s body among the Christmas decorations, a massive amount of acorns lurking behind your walls, or a coyote seeking refuge behind your bathroom toilet.

Unfortunately, these unexpected finds were all too real scenarios for the occupants on this list. Here are ten startling things people have discovered in and on their homes.

Related: 10 Weird Things Found at the Bottom of the Great Lakes

10 Missing Husband’s Body

Troy, Illinois widow mourns loss of husband who was missing since April  

In the United States alone, approximately 600,000 people are reported missing each year. Those reported missing fall into various categories, such as those who have been kidnapped, are missing in action, have disappeared due to a mental disability, or have simply chosen to disappear.

While many missing persons are able to be found quickly, there is still 1% (6,000) of those who have disappeared that stay missing. Unfortunately, 53-year-old Richard Maedge of Troy, Illinois, was reported missing in 2022, although he tragically never left his home.

On April 26, 2022, Maedge told his wife, Jennifer, that he was not feeling well and decided to leave work early. However, when Jennifer arrived home, Maedge’s car, wallet, and keys were there, but he was nowhere to be found. Jennifer reported Maedge missing on April 27, 2022. When police arrived to search what they described as a “hoarder home,” they noticed a “sewer-like” smell but found no traces of Maedge.

Despite police being unable to locate Maedge, Jennifer noticed a continual odor coming from the house, as did the neighbors and even the mailman. The police were contacted, and after searching the home a second time, they advised Jennifer that the home might have sewer problems. In light of this, the family contacted a plumber, who placed a cap on one of the basement sewer pipes, seemingly eliminating the odor.

Unfortunately, it was not until December 11, 2022, nearly eight months after Maedge’s disappearance, that Jennifer discovered the grim truth of not only the source of the smell but her husband’s whereabouts.

As Jennifer went into a concealed closet area to gather Christmas decorations, she discovered Maedge’s body behind some clothes inside the closet. Jennifer called 911, and an autopsy later revealed Maedge’s cause of death to be suicide by hanging.[1]

9 Coyote Behind the Toilet

Coyotes, also called prairie wolves or brush wolves, are smaller members of the Canidae family, which includes wolves and foxes. These animals can be found in prairies, deserts, forests, and mountains throughout North America and Canada. While coyotes typically try to avoid humans, they can also be found in urban cities such as Los Angeles, California, and Chicago, Illinois.

Therefore, when a family in Trenton, Ohio, left their front door open while packing their vehicle for a road trip in the early morning hours of September 9, 2022, they unintentionally gave a coyote the opportunity to wander inside. However, the coyote chose a rather unusual place of refuge—the area behind the toilet.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until Adam Whaley’s father used the first-floor restroom that he discovered the coyote hiding behind the toilet. Naturally, none of the family members wanted to get too close to the wild animal, so they contacted the police for assistance. Thankfully, officers were able to safely remove the coyote from the bathroom and release him outside.[2]

8 Doll and Creepy Note Inside Wall

‘I Found A Creepy Doll In My Wall & She Claims She Killed A Family’ | This Morning

In 2021, over a million homes were sold across the United Kingdom, with homebuyers spending a total of over $327 billion (£260.5 billion) on residential properties.

Thirty-two-year-old Jonathan Lewis, a primary school teacher in the UK, was among one of those, having purchased his new home in Walton, Liverpool, on September 17, 2021. All the excitement of a new home aside, Lewis surely never would have imagined that a ragdoll containing a sinister note would be located within the walls of his new home.

Lewis was aware of a void underneath the stairs which had been plasterboarded up. However, as he inspected the area, he also noticed a wire coming out where the previous homeowner had kept their refrigerator.

Lewis’s curiosity got the better of him, causing him to knock through the plasterboard. As he then shone a light in the hole, he saw a ragdoll. While there was nothing scary about the doll, the attached note sent a less-than-welcoming message.

The note read:

“Dear reader/new homeowner,
Thank you for freeing me!
My name is Emily. My original owners lived in this house in 1961. I didn’t like them so they had to go. All they did was sing and be merry. It was sickening. Stabbing was my choice of death for them so I hope you have knives.
Hope you sleep well.”

Given the sinister warning, Lewis’s friends urged him to sell the home and move out. However, Lewis found the situation to be more funny than frightening.[3]

7 Naked Man in Bed

Police: Naked man broke into woman’s apartment, got in bed with her

Since property crimes are the most common type of crime in the United States, it makes sense that people in the U.S. spend over $20 billion each year on security devices and security systems to protect themselves from crimes such as home invasion, burglary, or breaking and entering.

However, even with a surveillance system in her home, 35-year-old Krista Brown of Providence, Rhode Island, was awoken to a startling discovery—a naked man in her bed.

On the afternoon of March 28, 2022, Brown decided to take a nap after working the night shift. However, as she was sleeping, she felt someone cuddle up and put their arms around her. Brown naturally assumed it was her boyfriend. Then she remembered that he and her son were busy doing chores, so she turned over only to find a naked stranger lying next to her.

Naturally, Brown began screaming for the man, who was later identified as 50-year-old Jason Kendrick, to get out of her home. While Kendrick did leave Brown’s apartment, he then ran upstairs to where her brother Justin lived. Her brother also chased Kendrick away.

Kendrick, who ironically happened to live next door, was still naked and sitting on his couch when police arrived. He was taken to a local hospital for a mental evaluation before being arrested and charged with breaking and entering.[4]

6 Seven Hundred Pounds of Acorns

700 pounds of nuts discovered in wall of CA home, thanks to Woodpecker

There are approximately 180 different species of woodpeckers that can be found in almost every area of the world, with the exception of Australia and New Guinea.

For example, the downy woodpecker, which has a black and white checkered pattern on its body, a short beak, and black markings on its outer feathers, is the most common woodpecker species found in North America and is also the smallest, measuring only 6-7 inches (14-17 cm) in length.

Woodpeckers primarily feed on insects such as beetles, ants, aphids, flies, and caterpillars. However, one particular species, the acorn woodpecker, will drill thousands of tiny holes into trees and store acorns individually in the holes to ensure it has enough food during the winter when insects or flowers are not available.

Unfortunately, one pair of acorn woodpeckers decided to stockpile their acorns in a rather unusual place—a hole in the chimney of a home in Glen Ellen, California.

In December 2022, the homeowners placed a call to an exterminator after discovering “little maggot-like worms” coming out of the bedroom wall. When Nick Castro, the owner of Nick’s Extreme Pest Control, arrived at the property, he initially assumed a dead animal was to blame.

However, after cutting into a wall, Castro discovered that the “maggot-like worms” were actually mealworms that had been feeding on a massive hoard of acorns—700 pounds (317 kg), to be exact. The acorn woodpeckers had made hundreds of holes in the home’s wood siding and had been dropping the acorns through a hole in the chimney. As the acorns were dropped, they then made their way through a separate hole in the attic which began filling the cavity of the home’s walls.

It took Castro and his crew of three an entire day to remove the huge stash, which piled and reached approximately 20 feet (6 meters) high. Once the acorns had been removed, Castro ensured that all holes and open areas were covered to ensure the woodpeckers would no longer be able to use the home for storage. The acorns were then disposed of as they were covered in droppings and fiberglass from the wall insulation.[5]

5 Serval

Atlanta woman wakes up to find wild African cat in her bed / courtesy CNN, WGCL

Servals, which have been given the nickname “giraffe cat,” are small, slender cats with a tawny-colored coat that has both black lines and spots. The serval also has both the longest legs and the largest ears for its body size of any cat.

Given that these cats live near the thickly planted rivers and streams of both central and southern Africa, you certainly wouldn’t expect to find one had wandered into your bedroom. However, that is precisely what happened to Kristine Frank of Brookhaven, Georgia.

On the morning of June 30, 2021, Frank’s husband, Dave, had gotten up early to let their dog out while she stayed in bed to rest. Dave also left the door open. Shortly after that, Frank was awoken by movement on the bed. Frank didn’t allow the dog to sleep in bed, and given that her husband had already gotten up, she knew the movement couldn’t have been from either of them. She then discovered an “unfamiliar, large cat” lying in the bed, which was later identified as a serval.

The cat then jumped out of the bed, and Frank began yelling for her husband. With the cat cornered, Frank was able to get out of bed, and thankfully, her husband managed to get the serval out of the house. The serval, named Nala, was later trapped by a neighbor and returned to its owner—Anna Fyfe—on July 5, 2021.

Fyfe and her family had previously found the cat near their home in South Carolina (where it is legal to own a serval without a license), but when Fyfe decided to move to Atlanta for college, she brought Nala with her. Nevertheless, owning a serval as a pet in Georgia is illegal, so the cat was taken from Fyfe by Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources on July 8, 2021. They then made arrangements to send the cat to a sanctuary.[6]

4 Stranger Living in Attic

Man found living in Washington homeowner’s attic after residents smelled cigarette smoke

The term “phrogging” is defined as the act of someone secretly living in another person’s home without their knowledge. While it would seem impossible to most to have a complete stranger living in your home without anyone else knowing, this became an all too real situation for one homeowner in Mill Creek, Washington.

In March 2023, the unidentified homeowner began noticing items missing from his home and smelling cigarette smoke. He traced the smell to an upstairs loft, where he made a startling discovery—a makeshift bed, half-eaten food, drug paraphernalia, and a heater turned on.

Police made a visit to the home on March 20, 2023, after the owner reported the theft. While officers removed the items that were found in the upstairs loft, they were unable to locate the intruder responsible.

The police returned a second time on March 21, 2023, after the homeowner reported that his house had been locked from the inside and he had been locked out. It was then that officers found 24-year-old Daniel Tomoiaga inside with over $3,000, a passport, and a wallet, all of which he had stolen from the homeowner. He was also in possession of meth and fentanyl pills.

While it took police an hour and a half to get Tomoiaga out of the home, he was finally arrested and charged with second-degree theft, residential burglary, and possession of fentanyl and methamphetamine.[7]

3 Car on Roof

SUV Crashes into House Roof after Mistaking Accelerator for Brake

With a population of 1.4 billion people, China is the most populous country in the world. Such a large population also, unfortunately, means that a large number of traffic accidents occur each year. For example, nearly 248,000 traffic accidents occurred in 2019 alone. However, one particular vehicle crash in the town of Taizhou took quite an unexpected turn.

In March 2017, a homeowner in the Jiangsu province began hearing a loud noise inside his home. The source of the noise and what he discovered was quite startling—an SUV on his roof.

The unidentified driver attempted to avoid a collision with a tricycle and another vehicle but accidentally stepped on the accelerator, causing him to skid off the highway and onto the home’s roof. Police were able to rescue the driver using a ladder but required the assistance of a crane to remove the vehicle from the roof. Thankfully, neither the driver nor the homeowner were injured.[8]

2 Snakes in Walls

Centennial homebuyer finds snakes in the walls just over a month after closing

While the process of purchasing a home can indeed be stressful, buying your very first home should also be an exciting milestone in life. Unfortunately, for 42-year-old Amber Hall of Centennial, Colorado, finding her dream home quickly turned into a snake-filled nightmare.

Hall, along with her two children and two dogs, moved into their 4-bedroom, 2-bathroom home at the end of March 2023. However, as Hall began to unpack, she noticed her dog had started studying a particular area of the garage. As Hall went to investigate, she spotted two holes and also saw snakes slither up the wall.

This was sadly just the beginning, as more snakes were hidden within the walls of her home.

Hall enlisted the services of a snake wrangler in hopes of eliminating her unwanted house guests. Within ten days, ten snakes had been located and removed. He advised Hall that based on the size of the snakes he captured, he believed they had been living in her home for at least two years. He also mentioned the possibility of a snake den underground near her garage.

Until all of the snakes are removed, and their home is located, Hall stated she will not be able to fully enjoy her new home without fear.[9]

1 Previous Owner in Basement

Decomposing body found in basement of Cleveland Heights home

A sheriff’s sale is one type of public auction that allows people to bid on foreclosed properties that are owned by the lender. Sheriff’s sales will typically happen at either a local courthouse or even at the sheriff’s office and offer a wide variety of residential and even sometimes commercial properties that can be bid on.

While this might seem like a great opportunity to purchase a residential or investment property at a reduced cost, one man in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, made a gruesome discovery at the property he purchased at one such sale.

On November 29, 2022, the unidentified man who had purchased the home from a sheriff’s sale went to check on the property. However, during his inspection of the interior, he discovered a decomposing body in the basement. The homeowner then called the police.

The 71-year-old woman in the basement was later identified as Nina Fielden, the previous owner.

Fielden’s body showed no signs of trauma, and it was unclear as to how her body had not been discovered in the property prior to the sheriff’s sale.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen