It takes a lot to freak out tattooed, motorcycle-riding — but sweet as apple pie — Redfin field agent Daren Carper. Most of the homes he visits are your typical freshly painted, ready-to-move in pads. But sometimes things get a little creepy.
It’s sunset and Daren and his client are touring a 100-year-old mansion in a posh part of town. From their first steps on the creaky, semi-rotted front porch, it was obvious that the place hadn’t been updated or well-maintained for decades. Cue Daren …
Inside we found original wood floors that were warped and buckled, and high-vaulted ceilings that made the creaky floors echo throughout the house. We explored the house and found several issues that seemed to come from neglect – the house felt like a mausoleum that hadn’t been touched since the 70s. That, combined with the fact that it was an old house, was already starting to make me feel a little creeped out.
We started to explore the outside of the house hoping to find an exterior basement access that might have washer and dryer hookups, and also give us a chance to see what the wiring and plumbing looked like. We found a rotted access hatch on the side of the house, and went underneath the mansion to explore the unfinished basement. The ceilings were about five-and-a-half feet high, and spider webs threatened to strangle us wherever we went; if the house hadn’t been touched in 30 years, nobody had been in the basement for about 50.
There was no light in the basement, so I was cowering behind my four-D-cell Mag-Lite trying to see what was down there. My client had has hand on my shoulder, and was just steps behind me. The image of one of those horror movies comes to mind where you are yelling “DON’T GO IN THERE!” at the screen, but the characters in the movie are too stupid to hear your advice – in our case the curiosity was just too much.
My flashlight caught a shadow of something interesting in the back corner of the unfinished basement. Fighting our way through the fallen insulation and spider webs, we continued further underneath the house. My flashlight caught an out-of-place wall in the basement. As we got closer we realized that it was not only a wall, but a full room. Again, curiosity got the better of me, and with my hand shaking I reached to open the door. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was ready to swing my flashlight like Babe Ruth.
We found a single folding chair with a bare-naked lightbulb swinging overhead — a 40-year-old abandoned torture chamber in the basement of a mansion in a nice neighborhood (picture the James Bond torture-chair scene in Casino Royale). I felt my client’s grip on my shoulder tighten, and I quickly swung the flashlight around to make sure nobody was rushing from the shadows with some ancient medieval weapon. As far as I could tell we were alone. My client leaned over and whispered “This is f*ing creepy!!! Let’s get the hell out of here!!!” and we bolted. Finally our curiosity was satisfied, and we were able to run from the house without looking back.
What’s your creepiest, wackiest, wildest home-tour tale? Redfin’s field agents tour homes day in, day out, so we have plenty more to share if you’re too shy. Maybe next time we’ll tell you about a tour in Wonderland, minus the hookah.