I have a painted-over attic door in my apartment. I've never been brave enough to open it and see what's inside because I'm terrified that a human has been living up there. We have a camera set up (for our dog, not specifically to catch rogue attic-dwellers), and I have absolutely no reason to believe someone's up there, but I can't help but be worried that one night I'll wake up in the middle of the night, head to the kitchen for a glass of water, and see a strange human being staring back at me.
Apparently, this fear isn't all that unfounded. Horror author Grady Hendrix recently wrote one of the spookiest Twitter threads in the history of Twitter about the man who lived in the walls of his house when he was a kid. Is it true? I'm not sure. It's definitely presented as if it is, and I wouldn't put it past someone who experienced that trauma as a kid to turn to horror stories as an adult. But it could also be the musings of a creative author trying out a new premise or a new way of storytelling. Truly, it doesn't matter. This is one of the scariest stories you will read this Halloween season.
"Everyone's telling scary stories for Halloween so I'll talk about something that happened to me when I was a kid because hey, trauma never gets old," Grady's thread begins. He proceeds to tell us about how when he was 9 years old, he realized he could sneak downstairs after everyone else was asleep and eat whatever he wanted from the kitchen. "I could make a peanut butter, Cheez Whiz, and mayo sandwich," he writes, which might actually be the most terrifying thing in this story. I mean, gross.
He was always careful to leave things the way they were when he got there, but as long as he did that, no one ever noticed the missing food. "Creeping down was the hardest part," he writes. "I had to navigate the pitch dark house all the way downstairs in total darkness like a tiny ninja."
Here's where it gets spooky. One night, they ordered take out, and Grady couldn't wait to sneak down after everyone was asleep to eat some leftovers. I don't blame him. Leftovers are the best.
But when he got to the bottom of the stairs, he heard a fork hit the counter! There was a man! In their kitchen! Just sitting at the counter! What in the actual heck?! How terrified would you be if you were a kid and you saw an intruder in your house, just sitting at your kitchen counter in the middle of the night, eating the leftovers you were supposed to be eating (admittedly not the scariest part, but no more sweet 'n' sour pork is a pretty terrifying thought)?
But Grady was smart. He didn't scream. Instead, he slowly backed away, crept upstairs, and woke up his mom and dad. But, he writes, "They made way too much noise and took way too long and by the time they got downstairs the kitchen was empty." He was a horror fan as a kid, so everyone wrote off his story as just that — a story.
From that day forward, Grady took stock of where everything was in the ktichen and noticed multiple times that things were moved around in the night. How he didn't tell his parents what was going on, I don't know. Maybe he knew they wouldn't believe him. Parents never believe their kids, especially parents of kids who are living real-life horror movies.
Grady took to sleeping with a knife under his pillow. "I must've stabbed myself in the hand 1000 times checking to make sure it was there," he writes. "Then in August, I was in my room reading when I looked up. There's an A/C vent over my bed. Behind the vent a pair of eyes were watching me."
NUH UH. That's a big NOPE from me. Ooh, a shiver just went down my spine. Grady obviously flipped out. He made his parents search the attic and check the crawl space under their house. But they couldn't find anything. "I wasn't very popular for a few weeks," Grady writes.
Now, I have to warn you: When you read what happens next, you might throw your phone across the room or slam your computer closed. I won't blame you.
Rice. Maggots. Dead guy in the ceiling. Can you even believe it? A man had literally been living in their walls for months. But somehow, it gets spookier. "He'd put a foam pad beside my bedroom vent so he'd be comfortable while he watched me," Grady writes. "The police said he'd made lots of 'drawings' but when I asked they pretended they hadn't said anything."
"No one ever identified him," Grady's story concludes. "He was buried as a John Doe. To this day I can't look inside the vents in houses." Chilling. Sure, there's a big chance this story is a work of fiction. But there are plenty of similarly spooky stories that are 100 percent real.
Remember the time a college student found a man living in her closet and wearing her clothes? "I just hear rattling in my closet," Maddie told Fox 8. "It sounded like a raccoon in my closet. I'm like, 'Who's there?' And somebody answers me. He's like, 'Oh my name is Drew.' I open the door and he's in there, wearing all of my clothes. My socks. My shoes. And he has a book bag full of my clothes." Can you imagine?!
How about the woman who found her ex-boyfriend from 12 years earlier living in her attic? My personal favorite has to be this classic horror movie in the making... A man who lived alone in Tokyo found a woman in his cupboard. She had been secretly living there for a year. My favorite part of this story is this: "The police described [the woman] as looking neat and clean. She was charged with trespassing." Happy nightmares, everybody!