I’m not scared, you’re scared! We were casually scrolling through Reddit the other day when we stumbled upon the most interesting if not creepiest thing we’ve ever seen posted on the platform…
A Redditor who goes by the username “Mr Griff” shared photographs over the weekend of a recent excursion up to his attic where he discovered the dilapidated remains of an entire house – a real Texas Chainsaw Massacre– looking house at that, complete with rotting floral wallpaper, windows intact, light fixtures, a bathroom, some abandoned belongings and a whole lot of spiders.
According to ‘Mr Griff’, the mysterious abode hiding in his attic used to be a 2-story building where the owners lived upstairs and ran a store out of the ground floor. The second floor of the old clapboard house was later sealed off and a large attic built around it, while a c-shaped add-on was built around the ground floor and converted into a church. The age of the original house within is not known. “I’m guessing the church owners didn’t want to bother with knocking it down so they just built around it,” says Mr Griff. The property was recently purchased with plans to be converted into a private house again.
An exterior photo of the house (above) shows the side where the attic and roof goes higher (because there’s a damn house up there). Mr Griff says the floor in the old house is lower than the attic, which is only accessible by a small square hole.
After a brief poke around the old house, he found items like a hat, an old cabinet, a toilet, a sink and lots of junk and dirt (evil clown in residence not yet confirmed).
The unsettling discovery brings to mind strange and dark history of “Disappointment rooms”. The term was attributed to what was until fairly recently, a tragically common practice for keeping family members (usually children) suffering from mental or physical disabilities out of sight from the public eye. Until well into the 20th century in the United States and England, a Disappointments room might have been found in the attic or top floor of a house, cruelly depriving a family member of special care, dignity and respect, while the rest of the household continued to live freely under the delusion that the arrangement was for the good of society and the unwell. Amongst elite society, these rooms became one of the world’s best kept secrets.
Such instances of abuse have spawned numerous works of fiction that weave the very real mistreatment of the mentally ill with fanciful tales of haunted houses, most famously in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, which was inspired by rumours of a “mad woman” who was kept hidden in the secret attic of an English manor house (above), and most recently in a Hollywood horror film The Disappointments Room. The 2016 box office flop starring Kate Beckinsale, is based upon the true story of a real life discovery and investigation of just such a room in a colonial Rhode Island property. Upon purchasing the property, Laurie and Jeffery Dumas found a secret room in the attic that was constructed much like a typical children’s playhouse, wood-panelled with two exterior and two more interior windows, that only locked from the outside.
“I had no idea why it was there, I just couldn’t for the life of me even think of what the room could be used for” recalled Laurie Dumas in an interview with the local newspaper. “I go to work at the library, and I was telling my coworkers and an elderly historian about the room and her hand just comes over and she sets it on mine and she says ‘you have a disappointments room.’”
The home was formerly owned by a local judge, Job Smith Carpenter, who lived there with his wife from 1866 to 1906. The well-respected judge, who was frequently in the local headlines at the time, seemed to have kept their child a secret, but the family plot at the cemetery reveals that they did indeed have a daughter, Ruth Carpenter, who is believed to have been the occupant of the Rhode Island Disappointments room.
While Laurie Dumas is certain her home is now haunted, she decided to decorate the room asa memorial to Ruth, in “colors a little girl would appreciate,” included drapes, chairs, a table, and even some dolls, adding that “Ruthie has become just part of the household,” says Laurie.
The story of Ruth Carpenter, a child nearly forgotten, is sadly just one of many of victims of abuse towards the mentally ill around the turn of the century.
As for our house within the attic on Reddit, the true scenario is heopfully far less sinister. One Redditor responding to Mr Griff’s post noted that “some cities have rules that will allow you to freeze tax rates, bypass heritage rules, even tax breaks if you use some or all of an existing structure when rebuilding or remodelling”.
So are there plans for the creepy old house in the attic? “It would be fun to fix up. I’d have to see if the walls are moldy and I’m sure all the plumbing and wiring need redone,” says Mr. Griff.
He plans to return to the attic, so we’ll keep you updated if he finds that clown. In the meantime, you can peruse some other remarkable things found hiding in attics here.