Sometimes houses can contain little surprises here and there–like secret rooms. Here are ten hidden rooms people have found as well as what some of them found inside.
10. Underground Railroad Room
A house in Litchfield, Connecticut, has several rooms that were part of the Underground Railroad, a realtor told Reader’s Digest. The word “FREE” was etched into the beam outside the attic doorway, which is where the passageway to the Underground Railroad was located.
Meanwhile, Alexandra Poulos of Lansdowne, Pennsylvania, believed she discovered what could be part of the Underground Railroad in a secret room below her basement. It all started when several things in Poulos’ basement started breaking, including an oil tank and a cast-iron sewer pipe. Then, the walls started cracking. It was then that Poulos remembered a neighbor telling her father years ago that there was a basement under their basement. So, she called Baldwin Masonry to take care of the cracks in the basement. And, while the worker was there, she asked him when he was digging in the basement if he could dig deeper. When he did, he found a room 14 feet below the basement. According to ABC News, a local historian said there are a number of reasons why the hidden room exists, and since the region has been known as an an abolitionist sympathizer area, it’s possible that the room could be part of the Underground Railroad. “The only way to really follow up on that would be to research who the owners were in the past and follow up on property records and see if there were people who were known to be vocal abolitionists, based on the actual documentation of that,” Rachel Moloshok, the managing editor of publications for the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, told ABC News.
There’s nothing strange or secret about an attic, unless of course it’s discovered in the “world’s strangest home.” The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, is a haunted mansion with 160 rooms that feature a séance room, secret passage ways, false doors, and hallways that lead to nowhere. And, then a preservation team stumbled upon an attic in the house a couple of years ago. The attic had been boarded up by Sarah Winchester, the home’s owner and the widow of the Winchester rifle fortune, because she was trapped in the attic during the 1906 earthquake and she thought evil spirits were responsible for the earthquake. Inside the attic was a pump organ, Victorian couch, dress form, sewing machine, and paintings.
8. Michelangelo’s Secret Hideaway And Drawing Board
A secret room discovered in Florence, Italy’s, Basilica di San Lorenzo is thought to have been Michelangelo’s secret hideaway and drawing board, NPR reported earlier this year. The room’s walls were covered in drawings believed to be the work of Michelangelo and his disciples, although none of the drawings are signed. Experts, however, say that some of them are almost certainly Michelangelo originals because they bring to mind known works by the artist.
The room was discovered in 1975 by a museum director who spotted a trapdoor below a wardrobe that led to the room. It’s been said that Michelangelo likely went into hiding there after betraying his patrons and joining a 1527 revolt that drove the Medicis out of Florence.
7. Gangster Hideout
While cleaning at Chicago’s Harry Caray’s restaurant last month, the restaurant’s general manager, Grant DePorter, discovered a mystery room in the basement that was once used by gangsters. “That room was filled with stuff that went back over 40 years,” DePorter told WFLD Fox 32 in Chicago. Among the items they found was an address book from the gangster era. “We looked inside. It’s got mobster’s home phone numbers in it. And also aldermen and city officials,” DePorter added.
Before it became a restaurant, the building was owned by prohibition-era gangster and bootlegger Frank Nitti. It was his gang’s headquarters.
6. Hidden Basement
A married couple found a hidden room under their garage floor after a sinkhole caused the floor to cave in. The room had shelves full of children’s toys, a woman’s handbag, hair curlers, and a letter addressed to Melaleuca, an online wellness shopping club. The couple called their insurance provider and an engineer came out to inspect the damage. According to The Daily Mail, the inspector said the room was not a bomb shelter but most likely just a second hidden room. The couple told The Daily Mail that the home was built as a “basement home” in the 1950s, yet the room doesn’t appear on any local government records.
Meanwhile, a group of Ohio State University students found a room in the basement behind a door they thought led to a maintenance cupboard. Inside, they found a double bed, textbooks, and photographs belonging to some guy named Jeremy. The students changed the locks and left a note for the squatter, telling him that he could no longer live there.
5. Secret Room in the Great Pyramid
Thanks to cosmic rays from the sun, a secret room was discovered in the Great Pyramid. According to an article published by The Washington Post, a team of researchers used high-energy radiation from space to discover the secret room located just above the Grand Gallery. At the time the article was published, it wasn’t known whether the discovery is a single room or multiple smaller rooms, or if anything is inside. It’s also not certain if the room is connected to the other rooms and corridors inside the Great Pyramid.
4. Spy Room
A couple of potential home buyers were looking around an unoccupied house when they stumbled across a cellar with peepholes. The walls of the cellar were covered in messages that read “No watching Isaiah through the hole,” “No writing or drawing on the walls,” and “Stop watching me.”
Meanwhile, someone discovered that some of the paintings in Singer Castle in New York could be tipped back so people can be spied on via a secret passageway. There are also spying grates on the walls, and there’s a dungeon in the castle as well.
3. Drinking Room
A woman’s daughters were playing in a closet in the library one day when they put their feet on the wall and it moved. After further examination, the woman told Reader’s Digest that she believed the room was once a hideout during the Prohibition era.
And, in case you didn’t know, there’s a secret drinking room in the Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore, Jeff Miller, co-founder of Dependable Homebuyers, told Reader’s Digest. During the 20s, the Owl Bar was a place where people could secretly get their drink on. But, it wasn’t easy to find. You had to walk through an elaborate maze of tiny hallways to get to the room.
Lastly, Flavia Berys, a real estate broker in San Diego, found a hidden room in a historic home in San Diego. The home’s basement was used as a makeshift liquor bar during Prohibition. The drinks were served through a window in the door.
2. Guest Rooms
HarbourView Inn in Charleston, South Carolina, has six rooms hidden from its guests, Reader’s Digest reported. The rooms, hidden behind an industrial-style door, housed a former 1930s cotton warehouse.
And, the Deer Path Inn, an English-inspired manor house just outside of Chicago, has a secret, exclusive private wine cellar. It’s hidden behind the dining room of The Bar, one of the most popular gathering spots on Chicago’s North Shore. The cellar has 500+ varieties of wine, and couples can book one-on-one wine tastings and pairing dinners.
Did you know that there is a secret library at Shutterstock’s global headquarters in the Empire State Building in New York City? Yeah, neither did we. It’s actually hidden behind a wall decal that looks a lot like a bookshelf. And, if you push on just the right spot, the door will open. According to Reader’s Digest, Krystina Puleo, Communications Manager at Shutterstock, said the secret room is a quiet space that employees can use to either unwind or get motivated.
Have you ever found a hidden room in your home or in someone else’s residence? Tell us all about it. We’d love to hear from you!