You may not like to think about the crawl space underneath your home. It’s easy for your imagination to go wild wondering what might be lurking below your feet. Unfortunately, your imagination is not unfounded, and there have been unimaginable horror stories about very creepy things found in crawl spaces.
You thought watching Hoarders was bad. Just wait until you learn about the wild things people have left, lost and found again in their crawl spaces.
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Our list of the top 15 creepiest things found in crawl spaces includes animals, living things, crime scenes, historical finds, spooky hauntings and more.
Rodents and bugs are undeniably creepy. They’re also surprisingly common to find in crawl spaces. They can reproduce quickly, filling your crawl space with creepy crawlies.
One study found that 100 percent of houses surveyed in the Raleigh area had cobweb spiders, carpet beetles, gall midge flies and ants. Additionally, 33 percent of people report having or knowing someone who has termite damage, and 29 percent of Americans have had a rodent problem.
If a mouse can have six babies per litter and up to 10 litters per year, a single mouse can turn into 60 in one year. If left untreated, the population could grow to 3,600 in the second year.
Infestations can cause damage to your home and your health. Just consider the statistics on cockroaches. They’re known to spread six types of parasitic worms, seven kinds of human pathogens, and 33 kinds of bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. They can also trigger allergic reactions and asthma symptoms via their saliva, droppings and decomposing bodies. Gross!
Your worst nightmare might not be snakes on a plane. It could be discovering the snakes living in the crawl space under your house.
Unfortunately, they have the advantage of being able to fit in tight spaces. Home inspectors have some shocking stories of discovering dens of slithering beasts.
3. Wild Animal Homes
During nesting season, a crawl space can seem like a perfect home for a raccoon, groundhog, possum or skunk. The result is that you can have a very unwanted pet living underneath your house.
The problem can get even worse. There’s the chance that the wild animal will attract larger predators to your crawl space. They could even start to burrow into your ductwork to look for heated spaces or food. No one wants to find a raccoon in the kitchen rummaging through your leftovers.
Keep in mind that even if a raccoon living in your crawl space reminds you of your favorite character from Guardians of the Galaxy, they’re the #1 species for rabies. If you’re exposed, you could need four doses of a rabies vaccine, and if you become infected, human rabies is almost always fatal.
You might have an animal graveyard under your house.
These remains could be from decomposing wildlife, or there are times when a pet has crawled under a house to pass away. While the bones may not pose a direct health risk, having skeletons under the house is too much like a real-life version of Halloween.
It may not be an animal, but it’s definitely alive.
Mold thrives in damp and dark places like crawl spaces. But unlike a cute patch of fuzz, mold in your home’s crawl space can be dangerous. You may think everything is fine, but when the specialists show up, they’ll be wearing hazmat suits.
Toxic black mold is often considered the most dangerous, and health effects can include
chronic coughing, persistent headaches, sneezing, itchy eyes and chronic fatigue.
Each year, there are about 3.6 million people in the U.S. who are treated for allergic reactions as a result of mold exposure. The total economic cost is estimated at $2.6 billion, including sick days from work, children missing school days, medical expenses and reduced productivity at work.
The results of mold are expensive and dangerous, and mold in your crawl space can quickly spread via airborne spores.
6. Invasive Plants
Aggressive vines like wisteria or kudzu can take root next to the foundation of your home, working their way into your crawl space. While these invasive species plants may seem benign at first, their fast-growing habit can quickly overtake a house.
A single kudzu vine can grow up to 60 feet per season. That means it could reach the top of a four-story building in just one year. Plus, a single Kudzu root crown can have up to 30 individual vines coming from it.
Eradication is not easy. To kill it with herbicides, it can take four to ten years of repeated treatments. It’s not easy to dig up because well-established root systems can weigh as much as 400 pounds. And if you try to mow it down, watch out because cut vines can re-root to form new plants.
There’s a good reason why invasive plants like kudzu have been called “the vine that ate the South.”
7. Mysterious locked cabinet
Your house has a history, and finding a mysterious locked cabinet in your crawl space could reveal unpleasant secrets of a truly terrifying past. The safe could be a steel cabinet that was added later, but some homeowners have found a cylinder floor safe that was set into cement.
If someone hid something in a locked cabinet in a crawl space, there could be a good reason they didn’t want it to be found.
8. Mob cash
Finding cash hidden under your house may at first seem like you’ve won the lottery. However, it can get you in trouble with the wrong people.
Even in the hit Netflix show Ozark, the inside of a house’s walls was used to hide $50 million worth of cartel money. Just consider the problems that could arise. You’d make a powerful enemy if you turn it over to the FBI. Collaborating with your local crime family is never a good idea. And as we learned in the show, the option to take the money and run usually doesn’t work out either.
Luckily, mobsters tend to keep track of their money and its hiding spots.
A crawl space can seem like a perfect spot to hide guns and weapons. In one case, a Civil War-era sword was found in a crawl space in Virginia.
Both preppers and fugitives have been known to stash guns in crawl spaces. Hidden guns don’t even need to be from a previous owner. A fugitive could have used the exterior access to your crawl space to hide their weapons.
10. People living in crawl spaces
The creaks and noises you hear in a new home may not actually be the structure settling. Instead, you could have an unwanted houseguest who is trying to evade authorities by living underneath your home.
For example, when a 73-year old woman called a repairman about the heater, she got quite a surprise. “Well I’ve got good news and bad news,’” said the repairman. “I’ve got your ducts fixed, but somebody’s been living under your house.” The squatter had left beer bottles as evidence. He even cut her furnace’s air ducts to redirect the heat into the crawl space rather than the women’s living room.
11. Unexploded artillery
If your house has a military history, you could be in for an unwelcome surprise. War relics could lay dormant for years, until one day they’re jostled. Then kaboom!
Smithsonian Magazine says there are still thousands of tons of unexploded bombs left from WWII, and in London, building contractors found one lodged in an underground crawl space. It was a yard long and weighed 500 pounds. The evacuation included 150 people within a 650-foot blast radius.
It’s not just in Europe. When a woman was cleaning out her late father’s home in Massachusetts, she found a 70-year old unexploded U.S. military tank shell. The state’s bomb squad said, “It’s fairly typical of what we find.” Yikes!
12. Disturbing journals
You may not want to know what’s happened in your house. Finding a journal could reveal stories of disturbed residents who went mad. Or a journal could reveal your home’s history as a part of the Underground Railroad, for example.
Anne Frank may be the most well-known case of finding a hidden diary within the house. However, some hidden journals reveal a story that’s on the wrong side of history.
Your crawl space could also be home to something paranormal, and a haunting could mean eerie sounds, scratching noises and voices.
One Illinois woman said, “Our crawl space door would start banging, jumping up and slamming really loudly. The main ‘ghost’ was a tall, thin man in all black with a wide-brimmed hat. He was mean and had a gruff deep voice.” She said that the problem started after there was a flood and the cleaning stirred up the spirits. She called in the Paranormal Mom’s Society to help her deal with the problem.
14. Monsters that were too big to live in the closet
Monsters usually live in the closet. However, a tiny bedroom closet isn’t much room for a truly large ghoul. These bigger monsters might upgrade to living in a crawl space for more spacious accommodations.
15. Structural Problems
Bugs may be creepy, but the scariest thing in your crawl space could be foundation problems.
At JES Foundation Repair, we’ve spent 25 years helping residents of Virginia avoid the risks of foundation and crawl space problems.
The damage can be twofold. First, there’s the potential financial loss. Foundation problems can reduce your home’s resale value by 10 to 30 percent. That means for a $300,000 house, you could lose up to $100,000 in value.
There’s also the health risk. More than 50 percent of the air you breathe comes from below your home, and an unmaintained crawl space can have serious health consequences.
Learn more about how JES Foundation Repair can help you take care of your home with crawl space repair, basement waterproofing and foundation repair.