Our homes are the one place we can truly be ourselves. Our personalities may be normal to us, but when someone else enters, all bets are off. So, put those car bumpers and scrambled eggs away because they’re probably the weirdest thing your guest will see.
#1 Valuable Pet
I used to install smoke alarms for the hearing impaired all over the state of Oklahoma. I would get addresses for the installations the week before and plan routes accordingly. This place I'm thinking of was in the middle of nowhere, which says something considering that the entire state of Oklahoma is in the middle of nowhere.
When my ASL interpreter and I made the trip, we had to ramp our minivan over a nearly washed-out bridge, bounce down a forest road, and choose which of three broken-down trailers these people were using as shelter. Once there, we met the people and they explained that they had a tornado rip through their home that ended up sparking a fire somehow.
Since then, they decided to be more fire safety conscious, which I applaud. But, their home had holes in the roof the size of people. One wall was just a tapestry of duct-taped trash bags. I didn't feel right just installing fancy smoke alarms when they clearly needed much more help, but there wasn't anything I could do.
So I did the only things I could do: install smoke alarms, explain basic fire safety, and teach them to use their bed shaking devices. When I started to explain that they should exit the home without stopping to grab anything — including pets — they explained that their pet is very valuable. As in, it had a monetary value.
I'm not one to pry, so I took this at face value. I reiterated the importance of leaving the home immediately if it’s on fire, especially because it's a trailer home. They had a long, silent conversation with my interpreter during which she looked more and more concerned. The occupants went into a room I hadn't yet entered and emerged with a bald eagle on a leash.
#2 Neglecting the Job
I was working with adults with intellectual disabilities who lived in residential homes. It was one of my first weeks on the job and a co-worker took me out to a home to show me what she did during home reviews. We got to the house, opened the door, and instantly smelled something rancid. The whole house was in shambles.
The fridge was full of moldy foods and I’ll never forget picking up the shredded cheese, shaking the bag, and seeing green mold flakes go up and down. Food was also splattered all over the cabinets, the beds were stained and expired canned food was found everywhere. The staff there had been neglecting those guys for a long time and no one had bothered to check up on them.
#3 Always Prepared
I do construction sales, so I'm in people’s homes a lot. For me, the weirdest thing is the sheer number of preppers that exist today. Walk into a suburban American basement and bam. Someone has two dozen buckets full of survival food. Or they have survival gear stuffed into every alcove and rafter. It's definitely not just the ones you expect.
#4 Wax Figure
I worked as a delivery driver for a “deliver anything” company in the early 2000s. At the time, it was a very novel idea for a business. We had a lot of regular weirdos. One night, one of these weirdos ordered about $30.00 worth of candles from a dollar store. So, of course, I initially got the wrong kind of candles for the weirdo. So, he showed me what he wanted at his apartment door.
Luckily, the store was literally a couple of blocks away, so I didn't have to waste much time. He welcomed me in when I returned and I saw a three-foot-tall wax pile. I bought candles in jars the first time and could definitely see why those would not work for our gentlemen. Clearly, he needed freestanding candles so he could just plop one down and light it to continue building his wax mountain. This structure was so big that it was starting to spill onto the floor.
#5 Spring Cleaning
I had a neighbor who offered me money to clean her apartment. She had mental health issues and got some kind of subsidy from the county for home assistance, which she didn't like. But, she had an inspection coming up to continue her other benefits. I walked in and there were dishes everywhere. Glasses with dried stuff in the bottom, pizza boxes that smelled of old cheese in stacks, ashtrays piled so high they were pyramids of butts. Cans and bottles were scattered everywhere too.
Things were just as bad everywhere else. I went into the kitchen and both sinks were piled up past the faucet. One side had water in it that was covered in a white film. The kitchen trash can overflowed to the floor and had flies buzzing around it. It was gross, but I needed the money. So, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
After I got the dishes under control, I moved on to the stove. When I opened the door, the entire bottom was crawling with maggots. The wave of smell was enough to knock me out and I ran out gagging. I went home, got a mask, went back and finished cleaning. I still can’t figure out what she did to that oven. There was no food inside and it looked like it had never been used...
#6 Easier to Clean
I once saw a house where the entire main floor had drains in every room. The owners thought it would be easier to hose their house down to clean it. The bathroom had a shower where you had to hold a button down for water. There was no ensuite either. Instead, the master bedroom had the tub and toilet right in it, with the toilet facing the bed. The tub was a massive jacuzzi, but with a kitchen tap for a faucet so it couldn't fill up quickly enough to stay warm. Oh, and the house was filled with raunchy pictures of the homeowner.
#7 Giant Portrait
My parents have a friend who commissioned a portrait of herself without any clothing on from the waist up. She and her husband hung this giant professional portrait, front and center, in their living room. They’ve had it there since their children were young. To put it diplomatically, those people are… interesting.
#8 Nike Shoes
As a maintenance guy at a large apartment complex, I've seen some things. I remember doing an emergency water repair and had to go into an occupied unit. It was the strangest thing, it was pretty much empty, dirty but empty. It was as if no one lived there. There wasn’t any furniture, not even a bed. There was only a gross mattress on the floor and some clothes scattered around.
The only standout objects there were at least 30 pairs of Nike shoes. They were all sorts of weird colors. I mean, this guy had no TV or couch but had a collection of expensive shoes. They were also all the same size from what I could tell. I don’t know. To be fair, at least it wasn't as bad as a few hoarder units we had.
#9 One Crazy Night
I was on a ride-along with a fire department. We responded to the “smell of smoke” in an apartment building. We found the apartment fast enough because the fire alarm was going off inside. We walked in to find this guy free as the day he was born, passed out on the floor in front of the TV with an adult movie on way louder than it should be. We also spotted the remnants of a pizza in the oven.
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#10 Two Days
I check fire alarms and test emergency bedside buttons in a nursing home. These rooms are like individual little apartments. I once opened the door to the stench of something awful. Sure enough, there was a lady on the bed who had been there for about two days. The bedside button worked fine, though. Nobody was in trouble for her not being found for two days since this specific place is very independent.
#11 Angry Monkey
I worked as a furniture delivery guy in Iowa for a couple of years. We were delivering a couch to someone and when we arrived, there was no answer to our knocking. We called our manager and explained that no one was home. He told us to hang out for a minute while he tried getting in touch with the customer. While waiting, we heard this weird sort of screeching coming from a detached garage.
We decided to investigate the noise. We turned the corner to the front of the garage and came face-to-face with the meanest, scariest looking monkey I’ve ever seen. It was in the garage but they had this wire fence keeping it inside. The entire garage was its cage. I have no idea what type of monkey it was, but it was large and very angry.
#12 Cat Walk
When I was cleaning a huge condo for a wealthy book publisher, the owner felt that cats were sacred. So, they had suspended walkways through the entire 6000 sq. ft condo for the two cats to walk on, so they could move through every room without having to touch the floor. Additionally, every 12 feet or so in each room was a cat balcony the cats could sit on. They were made out of real crystal. We weren't allowed to touch them as they were valued at $10,000 apiece.
#13 Cameras Everywhere
I used to work for a concrete company and our mixer trucks would sometimes damage property. Typically, my partner and I did maintenance on the plants, but we’d get sent to job sites to fix whatever the drivers mucked up. While at one house, we had to tear up the driveway, replace the culvert and repour the end of the driveway.
The first day we were there, all the old snoopy neighbors were standing around watching us, but I had to go pretty bad. So, I asked the homeowner if I could use his bathroom. He agreed and led me through his house, past a bathroom, into the bathroom in the master bedroom. I was already creeped out by that. Oh, also I noticed cameras all over the place. Some pointed out windows, some pointed into the rooms.
So, he led me to the bathroom, opened the door and held it for me. I said thanks, but he still stood there. I had to walk past him and yank the door closed. While leaving, I noticed a bedroom decked out in kid stuff. With all the added creepiness, it just didn’t seem normal at all. I told my partner and he laughed, pointing out there were probably cameras in the bathroom. If either of us had to go after that, we drove to the gas station.
#14 Surprise Visit
I was an estate agent for rental properties once and one crazy scenario comes to mind. The first was when I was given the green light by a member of a male couple to let myself in. I needed to show his apartment one Saturday morning, but he must have forgotten to tell his partner. When I opened the door to the bedroom, with my middle-aged couple, we found one of the tenants with… a guest. I still have no idea how we didn't hear them before we opened the door.
#15 Background Noise
I was tasked with entering every room in a small hotel to verify dimensions for an architectural project. In one room, two men who looked like they were from the ‘80s were clearly doing some sort of business. There were computers, printers, and filing cabinets. But, there was also some serious adult content on the TV. It was just background noise.
#16 Deep Woods
I was on hurricane relief in the mountains of New York. We had to go and supply water to this guy whose house was deep in the woods. His property was surrounded by trees and hanging from those trees was a bunch of black baby dolls. There was also a wooden archway as you approached his house that said “Arbeit mach frei,” which means “work sets you free.” That was on the entrance to Auschwitz.
#17 Clown Car
Years ago, I drove a tow truck at night to put myself through college. I got a call to go get this woman’s car. I pulled up and she was in the car and wouldn't get out. I asked her politely to leave so I could safely tow her car. She said, “That’s never going to happen.” I told her it was an insurance violation for me to let her ride in her car.
But, it was late so I thought, “To heck with it.” I asked her to move to the passenger seat so I could put the car in neutral and steer it on the flatbed. She complied. I got in the car and she said, “I can’t leave them alone in here.” I asked what she meant before turning around and seeing 30+ cats in the back of this old station wagon. Every single one of them was in some sort of Halloween costume. The car smelled worse than anything I’ve ever encountered in my life.
#18 Bachelorette Party
I had my bachelorette party and my friends got me a doll with my fiance's face on it. They then handcuffed it to me and put a bunch of fake tattoos on it. After the party, I threw it in my basement. But, the electrician came and saw it. I'm not sure if he wanted to laugh or if he thought I was a giant weirdo.
#19 Abandoned Dogs
I was a firefighter for 15 years. One time, the code enforcement department called us to assist with condemning a house. The smell was so strong from the street that they knew we needed air packs to enter. The owners were moved to the nursing home and left their dogs behind. Instead of doing anything about it, their daughter just kept throwing bags of dog food in the door periodically.
There were four generations of dogs ranging from nursing puppies to 40-pound adults. I think the final count was in the low twenties when animal control rounded them up. You could see the fleas crawling on one guy's khaki pants when he came out. The daughter ended up getting well-deserved animal neglect charges out of it and I think the house got torn down. The weirdest part was the family portraits and knickknacks still on the walls, like they had just left.
#20 Warehouse Fire
A cop once told me he arrived at a warehouse fire to see a fireman hand off his hose and run back to the truck where the others beat him with shovels. Then, he ran up to the hose and traded off with another guy, who ran back to get beaten with shovels. The reason why was that rats were fleeing the fire and crawling up them, getting entangled in the rubber of their coats.
#21 Les Girls, Girls, Girls
When I did pest control, I had a house I serviced where three dancers lived. They had poles all over the place, obviously, and there was so much glitter everywhere. I guess that shouldn’t surprise me in hindsight. But, they always hooked me up with some really good coffee that one of them received from back home.
#22 A House Overrun
I was a plumber going through college. While in training, I went to an abandoned home that was being bought by a homeowner. We entered the house to find that it was used by squatters up until a few weeks ago. The sink was literally overflowing with garbage and mold, the bathroom was also quite literally overflowing, the bathtub and the wall next to the bathtub was covered in mold as well. We took one look at all of it and left.
#23 Doll House
I do property management for multi-millionaires, one of which has a plaque in her house from when she sold her shares in a company for around $50 million. Her house is extremely nice, right on the beach, but it’s pretty old. Inside, everything from the furniture to the wallpaper is pretty old. She has an abundance of creepy pictures dating back to the 1800s on her walls and on her tables. Even the cup holders have creepy-looking people on the bottom where you’d put your cup.
I imagine it’s all old pictures of her family, but it’s really bizarre. She also has really old dolls that look as creepy as you can imagine. Some of them actually resemble Annabelle from the movie. This woman has probably three or four dolls in every room in her 5,000+ sq. ft house. Jeez, I hate going in there.
#24 Stacked Guy
I do property maintenance. One guy had been having problems with his heater, so I went to check it out. The breakers were in the closet on the wall. I'd gone in a few times and noticed this huge stack covered by a big blue blanket, but never thought much of it. Well, the other day I got curious and took a peek. It was a huge collection of Playboy magazines. It wasn't just one stack either, there were two stacks. I'm basically 6' tall and these came up to my chin. I've seen all types of nasty apartments but this had me chuckling all day.
#25 Asleep on the Job
In my last job, I knew several people who got back from the bar and decided to cook in their extended-stay kitchenettes. Of course, they would then just pass out and set off the smoke alarm, forcing the entire hotel to be evacuated at 3:00 in the morning. I'm going with good old fashioned “partied out” as an excuse.
#26 Persian Cats
I do appliance repair. I walked into this mansion in West Austin and in the kitchen were 20 Persian cats. They lived there and were not allowed to leave. There were cat beds everywhere. Granted, this was a huge kitchen, but there were eight cat beds on the island. They were on every surface possible. But… the smell. I was covered in hives in 10 minutes.
#27 Animal Lover
This lady had seven huge birds — parrots, etc. all without cages and ruining the floor. The floor only had a pad that goes under the carpet, so everything seeped through. It was horrible. This woman just got a German Shepherd puppy as well and proceeded to show me her weird collections. My coworker called animal control on her, but we ended up closing her case shortly after.
#28 Look at Me
I used to be a house painter. One weekend, I was working with my female partner at a house for a woman and her daughter. The woman’s daughter was only a toddler; she was chatty and cute, mostly sitting on the couch watching TV. But, she would talk to us while we worked, which neither of us had a problem with.
I was on my knees painting some trim with my back to the daughter. Suddenly, she said, "Look at me." I turned around and saw her on the couch wrapped in a blanket. She opened the blanket and was totally bare, announcing herself. I immediately turned back around and said loudly, "I don't need to see that!" From the other room, her mom yelled, "Is she taking her clothes off again?" At the end of the day, we were laughing about it with the mother and I said, “She's going to be really popular when she gets older." Luckily, she took it well.
#29 Doctor Frankenstein
I used to work for my dad when I was a teenager. We did all sorts of things, like plumbing, electrical work, things like that. We once went to this elderly woman's house to replace her dining room floor. The entire time we were in there, we were watched by what I can only describe as a taxidermist's attempt at being Dr. Frankenstein. The woman was very proud of her collection.
#30 Rampant Rabbits
I used to work at a junk hauling company just out of high school. We got a call for a couch disposal and showed up at the house. The lady who answered the door was a little strange. We went inside to a gloomy apartment with no lights on and floor-to-ceiling rabbit cages. There must have been 20+ cages in her front room alone.
All the floors were covered with sawdust and rabbits were everywhere. As you would expect, the whole place smelled horrible and flies were everywhere. We walked to the back room, saw the couch and some lady sitting in a chair in the corner who never said a word to us. We stepped outside, called our boss and said we weren't going back in without hazmat suits. We then got out of there.
#31 Regular Call
My father is a firefighter. They have regular calls to this one man’s apartment for disturbances, suspected medical distress, cries for help, the works. His name is ironically Norm, and he’s a regular call for them. Norm is clearly mentally ill, but that doesn’t change the fact that he has a weird apartment.
My dad said that Norm’s apartment walls are covered floor to ceiling in egg cartons that are hot glued on. You can’t see an inch of wall in any room. Each night, Norm seals doors and windows in his unit with toothpaste. My dad said that the dried toothpaste around the doors and windows is easily four inches thick. Norm says these are protective measures to keep evil spirits out.
The last call my dad responded to was that Norm had lit his TV on fire and threw it out the window of his fifth-floor unit. I suppose this was before his nightly toothpaste ritual. There was a cardboard box with a TV drawn on it sitting on the entertainment unit when they arrived. My dad also said that every time they’ve been there, there’s a single beet boiling in a pot on the stove.
#32 Dad’s Stash
My dad has an entire chest filled with old-school Playboys in his attic. It's not a complete collection, but is almost every issue from the late ‘60s until the mid-'80s. Basically every issue from his adolescence, until a few years into his second marriage. The funny thing about it is he thinks no one knows about it. But, it's one of me and my brother’s favorite things to joke about because we've all found it at some point in our childhood.
#33 Selling Pizza
This one time, I was selling Chicago pizzas for a fundraiser and had to go around town to people's houses. I had to use the restroom, so I went to a house and politely asked to use the restroom. A normal-looking lady opened the door and let me in. She brought me to the bathroom and I was immediately greeted by a bunch of really inappropriate things. I did my business and booked it.
#34 More Furniture
I’m a carpenter and this one client has a four-storey house. The entire place is stuffed, top to bottom, with antique furniture. You can’t move in there. Her house is so full of furniture, but she wants more, so on top of every surface is a dollhouse, filled with tiny replicas of antique furniture. She also has a teenage son who has a trap door that goes to the attic. Evidently, he "lives" up there. It has a sleeping bag and is lit with a lava lamp.
#35 Just in Case
I do insulation and I've sprayed some impressive prepper spaces. My favorite was a 1200-square foot house with a 2000-square foot basement. There were concrete ceilings and walls, part of the area was under his porches, and it was a bunker. The dude even installed hydraulics on the vault door "in case the house falls on it, I can still open the door."
#36 Maintenance Man
I worked as a maintenance man in Australia and have met some really interesting people. One woman didn’t have any lights, just candles in her house. She said the shadows were from the spirit world. Another time, I was sent to fix a front door handle. When I got there, the door and frame were missing and the owner was burning it all in the front yard.
#37 The Director
My dad does electrical and HVAC work. I once went with him to install new kitchen appliances. The door opened and the tenant was shooting a video in his bedroom. Me being an 18-year-old, could not hide my excitement. My dad told the guy we couldn’t do the work with multiple people in the unit, so we had to go back. That was almost 15 years ago and I still bring it up to this day.
#38 Shopping List
I did moving for the summer. My co-worker came up to me and told me I had to see what was written on the wipe-off board of this old, rich couple we were moving. So, I walked and there were some… interesting marital aids on a shopping list in big, bold letters. They also had a circle around them. So, either this old couple was exploring a bit or they were purposely messing with us.
#39 Three Dogs
The homeowners had three dogs in the basement while the rest of the house was getting worked on. We would have to go down there to run new circuits for the kitchen, as it was the only access. They wouldn't let the dogs out and there were piles of stuff everywhere. The smell alone was disgusting but the fact we had to work around or in it made me want to throw up.
#40 White Carpet
Back in the 90s, I had to install a new computer in the home of a very out and proud gay man who happened to be quite wealthy. The house was decorated very nicely, but the weird part was the dude had the brightest white carpet I'd ever seen. My brain stopped when I entered the house. All I could think of was how I was going to get around without stepping on the floor.
#41 Scrambled Eggs
When I worked as a therapeutic support staff member and went into the homes of my clients. One of the weirdest things I encountered was scrambled eggs everywhere. The scrambled eggs were in every room and on every surface. I couldn’t find a place to sit down and do work with my client without first having to clean up a pile of scrambled eggs. That was almost five years ago and I’m still upset about it.
#42 Writing on the Wall
I deal with subsidized housing once in a while. One house I inspected, which was thankfully vacant, had writing all over the walls and ceilings. The good news is that it wasn’t too, too crazy. It was mostly random numbers and letters, nonsensical equations, and stuff about the axis of evil. It creeped me out, though.
#43 Dirty Laundry
I clean houses for a living and this one house we do bi-weekly never fails to have dirty thongs thrown all over the house. They’re on the stairs, the bathroom floor, the kitchen floor, etc. I know I'm supposed to be cleaning, but you'd think people would have the decency to pick up their nasty underwear. Wouldn't you be embarrassed having strangers see that?
#44 Love Letter
Well, the guy who walked into our home had quite a story to tell. The ventilation in our bathroom made a weird noise for some time, so my parents had a repairman come over. When he was done, he gave my mom a letter. As it turned out, my dad was dating someone and forgot that he hid the love letter over there.
#45 Don’t Ask
I work for a utility company and have to relight appliances after shutting the gas off. I walked into this one place and asked the customer where all the appliances were. He pointed to the basement without saying a word, staring me down. I awkwardly fought my way past a ton of boxes and into an unfinished basement.
Strapped to this rickety table was a cat, spread-eagle. I winced but went about my business. The cat was clearly gone and when you're in a customer's house, you don't ask questions. Essentially, you do the work and get out. But, curiosity got the better of me. As I walked up the stairs I asked, "Did you know there's a cat with an IV strapped to your table?" The customer, without looking up from his bowl of Froot Loops said, "I failed my practical app lab for school I'm practicing. Mortician."
#46 Rabbit Den
I deliver groceries at home for anyone who needs the service. One of my regular customers has transformed the small entrance hall of her apartment into a giant rabbit ren. It stinks even worse than you could imagine and I can’t really deal with it. To be honest, I always just drop the stuff off right at the door.
#47 Hoarding Brothers
I've seen 500-pound brothers who were hoarders. Their house was beyond stacked with trash and everything but the kitchen sink. They could barely move due to their weight alone, but when you threw in all the objects, it made it that much harder. We would get called all the time to their house because one of them would trip, fall and couldn't get up.
#48 “Find the Stinky”
I was an exterminator for 15 years, and have seen some truly horrible things. Most people just need to clean up their homes, some just needed to fill up gaps in doors and foundations. That said, though, it can definitely get pretty bad. I've had to play “find the stinky” many times. It’s usually just a mouse or something.
#49 I Love You, Hugh
I install blinds and curtains. The weirdest thing I saw was a woman who decorated the entire second floor of her home with pictures and posters of Hugh Jackman. There were movie posters, newspaper clippings, photos of him, photos of him and her at fan meet and greets. I counted over 30 posters and well over 100 framed photos, many of them being signed. There were stacks of Playbills, but only of plays that Hugh was in.
#50 Car Bumpers
I work in the community mental health field, so I visit my clients in their homes. We had one guy who was getting evicted, so we had to clean out his apartment. We had to rent a dumpster to get rid of all the stuff in his studio apartment, including three car bumpers. It was on the third floor with a super narrow stairway, but he got the bumpers in there. We ended up throwing them out the window into the dumpster.