10 Unexpected Things Found in the Walls of Homes

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You don’t need to go to a desert island and find the “X” on a map to discover hidden treasure these days. As it happens, hundreds of homeowners and businesses are routinely discovering things hidden in their walls. Sometimes they’re treasures, and sometimes they are decidedly not. 

10. The First Appearance of Superman

In the history of comic books, few of them are as coveted as Action Comics issue one. This is the legendary first appearance of Superman, and it dates back to 1938. At the time, no one could have imagined what a pop culture force the book and the character would become. The cover price was 10 cents.

Fast forward to 2013 when contractor David Gonzalez was renovating an old house he had bought for just over $10,000. The walls had been insulted with old newspapers and, in among them, was a copy of Action Comics #1. The book was in rough shape, the back cover had been torn off, but it was still the real deal. Gonzalez had it appraised based on its condition and it was rated a 1.5 out of 10, which means it was in close to the worst condition it could be in.

Despite the shoddy condition, the book sold at auction for a staggering $175,000. That’s a huge return on investment. If the book had been in good condition, Gonzalez could have expected a much more lucrative deal as another copy in good condition sold two years earlier for over $2 million. In 2014, a copy in excellent condition became the most expensive comic book ever sold when it took in $3.2 million at auction.

9. $500,000

Who among us hasn’t entertained the fleeting fantasy of one day running across a secret fortune in buried treasure or just a sack of money on the side of the road somewhere? That was the reality waiting for a couple in Arizona who bought a rundown house “as is” with the intention of performing some renovations to improve it. 

The story has more twists and turns than you might expect. While doing renovations, a contractor’s employee found ammunition cans hidden in the walls. Inside the cans was $500,000 in cash.

The worker told his boss, but the boss neglected to mention the find to the homeowners, opting to keep the cash for himself. Luckily, the honest employee informed the homeowners and police came to take possession of the money. Now you’d think it would go to the homeowners at this point, but that was not the case.

Several lawsuits were filed. The contractor sued the homeowners, and they sued the contractor. But the daughter of the previous owner sued as well, claiming the money was rightfully hers as part of her father’s estate. The courts agreed, saying that when they sold the house as is, they did not know what they were giving up as it related to the cash, and it was still rightfully theirs. 

8. Surveillance Equipment

When it comes to creepy things in your walls, there are not many things that will set you on edge quite like discovering evidence that someone has been secretly watching you. That was the weirdness one couple in Arizona had to deal with upon buying a new home and giving it a thorough search.

The new owners had noticed that there was a mirror in the bathroom that seemed out of place, so they decided to take it off the wall. Unfortunately, someone had permanently affixed it there. So they cut the wall. What they discovered was that the mirror was actually a 2-way mirror and behind it, in the wall, wires set up for video equipment. There was also plumbing for a sink set up and cabinetry.

Some people speculated that this was not an insidious set up for filming people in a bathroom and maybe even was a setup for something as innocent as a wall aquarium. But if that was the case, why had someone installed a two-way mirror at some point?

7. Prohibition-Era Booze

Every so often people find some unusual or exotic treasure in their walls but when it comes to the real, practical goods if you can’t find gold or money, maybe the next best thing is what a New York couple discovered hidden in the walls of their upstate home: 60 or more bottles of Prohibition-era whisky.

Neighbors had told the couple that their new home had once been owned by bootleggers about 100 years ago, but it seemed like nothing more than a charming story. That was until they started renovating and discovered the illicit stash. Dozens of bottles in walls and under the floor, many of them still unopened. 

They dated the bottles of Old Smuggler whisky to the 1920s, so the bootlegger stories seem to have been real. Experts said the full bottles could be worth between $500 and $1000 a piece at auction.

6. Bones

Imagine buying a new home and as you go through the process of moving your things in and going over the house, you discover something inside the attic wall. Something that looks suspiciously like human bones. That’s what one couple had to deal with in their new Houston area home back in 2017.

Bones had been stashed in the wall, along with a pair of glasses that resemble the ones worn by the home’s previous owner. The same owner who had been missing for two years. She had been a quiet, pleasant woman as far as the neighbors knew. But one day she vanished and her mail began to pile up. A missing persons report was filed, and eventually firefighters came to clear the home out. At the time they noted the place smelled terrible, but it was also full of cats that hadn’t been taken care of since the owner disappeared.

Within two years, the bank foreclosed on the property and it was sold. The new owners were the first to discover the remains despite firefighters, police, animal control and even roofers being through the house before they got to it.


The medical examiner later confirmed the remains as belonging to the previous owner, Mary Cerruti. But as to the mystery of how she died and ended up in the wall, that remains unsolved.

5. Missing Boy

Your mind can go to some dark places when you think about what could be hidden in the walls of a home. The idea of finding a body is, as we’ve seen, not impossible at all. But what you’re less likely to find is not a dead body, but a living one. 

Ricky Chekevdia was believed to have been abducted in 2007. His father had just been awarded custody and the boy’s mother disappeared with her son. For two years the father had no idea if his son was even alive or dead. And then, in a baffling twist, authorities discovered the boy had been living in a secret room behind the wall of his grandmother’s house the entire time.

The mother had claimed that the father was abusing the boy before she disappeared with him, but officials say there was no evidence to support those claims. What they did have evidence of was the boy being kept in a windowless room for two years, during which time he never even saw the sun and was not allowed out for any reason, even medical treatment.

The mother and grandmother both faced charges for their involvement, and Ricky was returned to his father’s custody.

4. 100,000 Bees

If you were to compile a ranked list of all the things you hope are never in your walls, probably somewhere near the top would be a massive population of stinging insects. And that’s why this particular story is so disturbing, since it involves one Canadian homeowner discovering that their walls were home to a nest of about 100,000 bees.

After buying an old Victorian-style home in a historic part of town, homeowner Chantelle Ryan noticed a curious affectation – her walls buzzed. After realizing what the problem was, Ryan called a local beekeeper who came to help with the issue, but no one at the time appreciated the scale. A colony of bees up to 100,000 strong that was likely growing in the walls for the better part of a decade.

Along with the bees, 250 pounds of honeycomb was removed from the walls as well. And Ryan took the time to sample the honey and share it with her new neighbors as well.

3. Stolen Painting

The last thing any art gallery wants is to lose their exhibits. Whether it’s to a disaster like a fire or to thieves, if a priceless painting gets destroyed or taken, that’s a piece of history lost forever. That’s exactly what one gallery in Italy thought happened to an important piece of their collection.

Known as “Portrait of a Lady,” the painting by Gustav Klimt dates back to 1917. The painting had been a part of the collection at Galleria Ricci-Oddi in Piacenza since 1925, but in 1997 the painting was stolen. They found the frame near a skylight that was too small for the actual painting to have passed through. 

In 2019, gardeners found a hidden, recessed portion of the wall outside in which a bag was stashed. Inside the bag was the missing painting. It’s not known if the painting was there the entire 23 years it was gone, or if someone returned it later, but either way the museum is returning it to the collection for viewing.

2. Chuck Palahniuk Time Capsule

Although he’s written over a dozen fiction novels as well as non-fiction and short stories, Chuck Palahniuk’s debut novel Fight Club sealed his legacy as a quirky, visceral author whose creativity was only matched by his weirdness. So maybe it makes sense that he takes care of houses like he writes books.

A homeowner in Portland, Oregon moved into a house that the author had previously owned and, while doing renovations, discovered a gift. Palahniuk had sealed up a time capsule in the wall of his old home, complete with a signed copy of Fight Club, some old family photos, and a history of the house.

The time capsule had been added to the walls in 2002, while Palahniuk and his family were also doing renovations. At that time he’d published four novels and Fight Club had already been made into a movie, but he still signed off his time capsule letter saying he assumed whoever found it would have no idea who he was.

1. Message in a Bottle

Typically, when you hear about a message in a bottle, it’s a story that takes place at sea. And every so often a tale shows up in the news about a very old bottle coming to shore with a message inside. Maybe that was the intention of the person in this story, they just couldn’t get to the ocean in time so instead they sealed their bottle in a wall.

A Boston homeowner discovered an old whisky bottle sealed between the chimney flue and an interior wall of their home. There was a rolled up note inside that was dated September 23, 1894. And as for the note itself, it simply said, “Tom Ford 6 on Shea.”

The note was shared on social media with people speculating on what it might have meant. Popular theories including a betting slip indicating someone had bet six on a horse named Shea, or something to do with six games at Shea Stadium. Others guessed Tom Ford lived on Shea street at number 6. But without further evidence, it’s going to have to remain a mystery.


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