Spooky Home Inspection Story Contest 2019
Thanks to all who celebrated the spooky season with us by entering our second annual spooky home inspection story contest. We’ve collected your most hair-raising horror stories and chosen our favorites.
We are pleased to announce our 2019 scary story contest winners, who have received $100, $50, and $25 Amazon gift cards for First, Second, and Third Place respectively.
Read the winning stories, including runners-up and last year’s top picks, below.
Spooky Home Inspection Story Contest 2019
First Place: Scaredy Cat
By Tom Rees, A Closer Look Home Inspection, Utah, USA
I was inspecting a multi-unit building that was built on a crawl space. The crawl space ran under all of the units and, to get from one unit to the other, you had to go through a small opening in the common foundation wall between the units.
I was crawling through the last opening to inspect under the last unit when I became aware that something was staring at me. Two feet from the left side of my head was a cat—just sitting there on the foundation ledge. It scared the hell out of me!
After composing myself, I noticed that it wasn’t just any old cat. The cat was deceased and perfectly mummified in its sitting position. Weird, but true.
Second Place: The Rug
By Bronson Anderson, Inspector Homes, Inc., Virginia, USA
Three years ago, I was asked to inspect a home that was involved in a trust. The family wanted to know what was going on with the house before they put it on the market. The realtor involved said that the mother had died in the house a year earlier. The family had refused to enter the house, and they weren’t changing their position for the home inspection. I was inspecting on my own.
I inspected the exterior of the house, the second floor, the first floor, and then the basement. While I was in the basement, I clearly heard footsteps above me, walking from one end of the house to the other. Assuming that a family member had changed their mind and come to the inspection, I ran up the stairs to introduce myself. But, I couldn’t find anybody inside the house or outside. So, I chalked the sound up to the wind.
Back in the basement 15 minutes later, I heard the footsteps again. Again, I ran up the stairs to catch whoever was there. But, just like the last time, no one was there.
An eerie feeling come over me. I became cold and got goosebumps as I searched the house. Opening the door to the master bedroom, I saw a rolled-up area rug on the floor with what looked like a body inside. There were blood stains on the floor around the rug, and the room was cold and dank. This was the room that the mother had died in.
I bolted, ran down the stairs, jumped into my truck, and sped away. I was in such a hurry that I left my jacket inside the house.
Come to find out, the family had experienced a similar situation when they were in the house. That’s why they’d refused to enter it since.
Third Place: The Staircase
By Scott Patterson, Trace Inspections, Tennessee, USA
The time was mid-August and the year was 2002. I was inspecting an 1860 home in Crystal Springs, Mississippi that had been used as a command headquarters and, later, a hospital during the Civil War. The old home had been vacant for about 20 years and was pretty run down, with no power, no water, and plenty of critters. But my clients wanted to restore it into a bed and breakfast.
I met my clients and their agents at the bottom of the eight-foot, sweeping staircase to the second floor—the centerpiece of the home. As I filled them in on some of my findings and started to head upstairs, a cold breeze greeted me. I honestly did not think anything about it and figured somebody opened a window upstairs.
On the second floor, I realized I’d forgotten my camera, so I started back down the stairs. The cold spot greeted me again. Every time I went up and down those stairs, I felt the cold breeze.
I must have had a strange look on my face because the clients asked what was wrong. I asked if they had opened any windows, and they said they had not even been upstairs yet.
Since the inspection, the home has been on one of the ghost hunter shows on TV.
Runner-up: The Silent Woman
By Zach Shawd, HomeScope Inspections, Arizona, USA
I was in a rough part of the inner city doing an inspection for an investor. When I arrived to the house, the windows were broken and boarded up, which gave me a creepy feeling going into it.
When I opened the front door, I yelled inside, asking if anyone was there. (Just as a precaution.) I waited outside to see if anyone would show. When no one did, I entered.
As I began my inspection, I heard something coming from the other side of the house. Immediately, I froze. Again, I yelled, asking if anyone was there. And again, I received no answer.
Trying to shake off the eerie feelings I had about the house, I picked up where I’d left off. As I inspected, I turned around and saw a lady standing down the hall. She didn’t say a word—just stared at me.
I asked her why she didn’t say anything when I shouted into the house. Turns out, she was homeless and had broken into the house with some other people. She was occupying one of the guest bedrooms.
For my own safety, I skipped inspecting her room and left shortly after our encounter.
Spooky Home Inspection Story Contest 2018
First Place: Dinner and a Show
By Howard Ryan, H&K Ryan & Associates, Western Australia
In 1996, I was in an attic. It was about 4:00 PM. I was on my own. The agent had just left and told me to lock up.
My foot slipped on a ceiling joist, and my foot went through the plasterboard. I couldn’t pull my foot back up because a metal clip had embedded in my ankle. I was bleeding and it was dripping onto the white carpet below. My mobile phone was on the kitchen bench along with the rest of my inspection tools. I panicked a little.
I heard movement on top of the paper insulation. It was a rat. It had smelled my leg and walked over to where I was bleeding.
Then I felt something slide across my hand. It was a venomous, red belly black snake. I couldn’t move and just froze. I remembered watching a snake show with Australia’s famous snake guy who did not move, so I didn’t either. The snake pounced at the rat and was rolling all over my leg trying to devour its prey. Still didn’t move.
Twenty-five minutes later, the homeowners came home. They screamed when they saw the blood and my foot dangling through the ceiling.
I yelled, “Don’t move!”
The homeowners thought I was a burglar and called the police. The cops saw the funny side and got me out.
Second Place: Uninvited Guest
By Joseph Pruitt, The House Reporter, Washington, USA
The vacant home was an old house, nearly a century old. Old homes are noisy and this one was no exception. The floors creaked, the doors squeaked, and the coastal winds pushed up against the home. These sounds I expected. But every now and then, I heard something different. A shuffling noise, the sound that a large animal might make while moving slowly.
After my first hour, I was convinced there was an animal in the crawlspace. I had not yet inspected the crawlspace as I always leave that dirty chore for last. I was starting to dread the final part of my inspection.
Opening the old wood door to the crawlspace, I scanned the interior with my flashlight before I entered. Nothing. I entered.
After a few minutes of belly-crawling through the crawlspace, I became completely engrossed in my task. I forgot my concerns over the noises I’d heard earlier. I made my way around the perimeter, nearing the access door when I came upon a pile of fallen insulation. As I approached, the pile moved.
“Okay, time to go!” I said aloud to myself.
Not wanting to see what angry animals might burst out from the pile, I turned to crawl out.
“I don’t want to. Cold,” came a muffled reply from the pile.
Turns out that a homeless man named John had found the vacant home and its dry crawlspace. He has been living under the home for about week.
I called the local police and spoke to one of the officers I had inspected a home for the previous year. He got John into a bed at a shelter.
I hope John is doing better. But without a doubt, that was my scariest inspection!
Third Place: The Model Walk
By Levi Adair, Palm Springs Inspections, California, USA
I was inspecting a fairly large $1.2 million dollar house. Judging by the age of the appliances and overall condition of the property, the place had been neglected for the past 15 years. Every room just felt empty or like it had a void in it. It was odd to me because I just do not get “feelings” about homes while I am inspecting them.
While I was standing in front of one of the bathrooms on the second floor, I clearly saw a person walk out from the other bathroom into the bedroom next to it. I hadn’t seen or heard anyone come up the stairs with me. I walked over to the room to greet whoever it was, but there was nobody there.
After finishing my inspection, I headed downstairs. I ran into my buyer’s agent, with whom I have an extensive work history, and I told him what had just happened. He gave me this really weird look and just kept about his business.
About a month later, I got a call from the same agent. He told me that the buyer had arranged for a mold specialist to evaluate an exterior closet that I had called out during the inspection.
While the agent and the mold specialist were standing in front of the closet, discussing the buyer’s options, the owner walked up and just blurted out: “By the way, the house is haunted.”
That’s when the agent told the owner what I had seen.
The owner replied in a harsh tone: “Yes, I know. It’s my wife. She died and will not leave.”
Turns out, the wife was a model who died from asbestos exposure from the very makeup she modeled for years. We looked it up and found the lawsuits and everything.
By Joshua McKay, Lake City Inspections, Idaho, USA
During an inspection of a home in a remote, wooded area, I noticed what appeared to be religious cult literature in multiple locations. In the kitchen, I also found strange jars filled with weird substances, including animal body parts.
The basement was strange, too. Much of the basement was filled with survival supplies. On one side, there was a makeshift living space with a bed. On another, there was an empty, wood-paneled room with no lighting and a padlock dangling from the latch outside the room. There were even pictures drawn in crayon on some areas of paneling.
As I began inspecting the main service panel on the entry level, I heard the distinct sound of the basement entry door opening and then closing. I walked down to the basement expecting to see the homeowners or my client. Nobody was there. Door was locked. After about 10 min of walking around the basement with my flashlight, I gave up and went back to my inspection.
About 20 minutes later, I moved to the upper level. That’s when I started to hear weighted creaking sounds coming from the main floor —the kind of creaks you would expect to hear if someone was trying to walk across noisy flooring undetected. I snuck over to an exterior window to see if a new vehicle was in the driveway. Nope. But I did notice neighbors at a nearby property gathering and looking in my direction.
In the most manly and authoritative voice, I said, “Hello? Who’s in here?”
Immediately, I heard a hurried version of the same creaking footsteps. Then nothing. I made my way downstairs only to find that I was, indeed, alone in the home. Was I really being stalked? Or was it all in my head? Was it supernatural? Who knows.
The Angry Mother
By Tim Nisly, Nisly Inspections, Kansas, USA
I did a home inspection for a client that I thought went very well. After he moved, he had sewer problems, so his mother called me. At first, she seemed quite nice, but then she asked if my insurance would take care of her son’s sewer problems.
My reply was that, in my pre-inspection agreement, it says that we cannot inspect things that we can’t see—including sewers. Furthermore, I said that the online disclosure says that all the plumbing was new from the house to the main. I suggested that she talk with the realtor and seller about the issue.
Later, I found out that it went to court. That scared me, but I never got a call.
Then, the same mother sent me a VERY nasty text saying that she was going to make me miserable and make the sewer issue public. She was blaming me for her son’s sewer problems.
I replied that I would no longer communicate with her.
Fast forward two months: I received a call from my actual customer—the son. I was quite scared of what he was going to say. In short, he called to apologize for the way his mother treated me, in fact he said I did such a great job that he told the realtor to refer me to other people. Needless to say, I was SO relieved!
The Littlest Demons
By Paul Cummins, No Surprises – Home Inspection NOVA-DC, Virginia, USA
The $2 million-plus house in D.C. was well cared for, but everything was so damp. There was a grate over a pit to the basement bathroom window that was covered in moss and algae. The basement stairwell was sodden and green, but the wood basement door in perfect shape, so no worries, right?
Clients showed up, a mother and her boy, so I walked them around. The boy, about eight, didn’t want to be there. I mentioned the tree and the pit, but the mother said it looked well cared for and, well, the HVAC system was getting old.
I went right to the basement expecting it to be wet given the situation outside. Just a little surface mold behind the air handler—not uncommon. At this point, I was feeling really good about the house and was just trying not to knock over any priceless artifacts.
It was dusk and the home was dimly lit so the client noticed mold on the register in the dining room before I did. Dang.
“Yes, looks like Penicillium or Aspergillus—likely just surface mold due to condensation. The house has been unoccupied for a long time, and we’ve gotten more rain this year than ever,” I said.
All the registers had the same coating. There was no forced air system on the top floor. I said the ducts and air handler should be sanitized and the ventilation improved, but I didn’t see any reason to suggest a serious mold problem. (Those are caused by floods or long-term, persistent leaks.)
The client called her husband and they insisted on a mold test. I repeated that I didn’t think it was necessary, but I took the samples.
108,000 spores of Aspergillus and Penicillium per cubic meter upstairs! The highest count I’d ever gotten was 20,000 before that. The house needed complete remediation and an improved HVAC system. Frightening!
The Bubbles Below
By Allen Blaker, Inspection Specialists, Arizona, USA
Home was a standard, single-family residence with a rear yard swimming pool. It was being sold by “Open Door,” which meant 24/7 access to the property by using the entry code. At the time of our inspection, the rear pool was full but green, and I was unable to see the bottom. My company policy is to return, for no added charge, to complete the inspection after the pool has been cleaned up.
I can usually fit this type of inspection in between scheduled inspection times, but on this particular day, I was completely booked and was unable to get to the property until well after dark. At night, it was difficult to see the bottom of the pool until I turned on the pool light. With the light on, I could see half bubbles, about a dozen of them, on the bottom of the pool. Some were as big as 24 inches in diameter and raised up 8 inches high, and some were 6 inches in diameter and raised up 2 inches high. I took many photos of the pool and put them in my report.
When I met the realtor and my customer the next day in the sunlight, you could not see the bubbles on the bottom of the pool without looking very very closely.
The property had four mature fruit trees and deep watering these compromised and rusted the steel pool structure. The hydrostatic pressure from the ground water lifted the Gunite in those large blisters. The pool ended up requiring a $14,000 re-build, which I would have missed had I not gone out there at night!
I have now raised my pool inspection price considerably and look very closely at the bottom of every pool.
By Ed Neyland, AC&E Home Inspection Corp., New York, USA
A number of years ago, I did an inspection on an old house. The current owner and buyer were talking in the rear yard. Now, keep in mind, the yard was flat—nothing special.
The buyer said to the owner, “I think I want to put an in-ground pool in the yard on the right side.”
The owner said, “I don’t think that is the best place for the pool. I think you should use the left side of the yard. You will get much better light.”
Now that is all he said about the yard.
The next day, the buyer went into town to look over the survey. He points to that space in the yard and asks what the survey says about it.
“That is a graveyard. You have six people in the rear yard,” the clerk said.
“But there are no grave stones!” the buyer said.
The clerk said, “Well, if you dig your pool there, you will find six people. In the 1800s, people were able to bury their kin in the yard.”
Three weeks later, I was reading the newspaper over breakfast and there was an article about how the town found gravestones in the dump and traced them back to the same house. The town fined the homeowner for throwing out the grave stones.
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