the strangest things you have foundin the crawl space/attic.

Originally Posted By: mjones1
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what is the strangest thing you have found in the crawl space or attic.

I recently found a dead possum that had ate the home owners ant poison. as you can imagine there were maggots everywhere falling from the light fixtures. (should have seen them wiggle in the glass). icon_mrgreen.gif


Originally Posted By: gbeaumont
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Hi Mike & welcome to the forum.

I can't give you any horror stories of my own, but I have seen 2 photo's recently that I hope never to see for myself. The first one was snake skins in a crawl space, the second a grave (complete with cross) in a crawl space.
How ever a good friend of mine from your part of the country says he has seen signs of "Norwegian roof beavers" in Washington state so be carefull out there icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif icon_lol.gif



Gerry Beaumont
NACHI Education Committee
e-mail :
NACHI phone 484-429-5466

Inspection Depot Education

"Education is a journey, not a destination"

Originally Posted By: Russell Stephens
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Well my second home is a crawl space so I have seen some strange things. For starters the occasional snake. I was under one house that was infested with frogs. I mean hundreds of frogs wish I had my camera. I have found…Ready?..BATS yes I have seen bats in one crawl space. In 5 years of being in the termite business I have seen to many dead animals. rats, mice, cats, Occasional Yellow Jackets nest ( that’s scary). Oh yea even a rabbit that decided to dig under the footer and make his home in the crawl space.

Originally Posted By: lmartin
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your stories remind me of Striars woolen mill in Orono , Maine, when I inspected this mill years back it had 3 cellars and many tunnels . there were huge rat skeletons in the basement a Great Stephen King setting , he lives just down the road in Bangor , Maine…lol


Originally Posted By: craig weisensel
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the guy who teaches my home inspection class

said he found a guy growing pot in the attic

of one home.

Originally Posted By: tfoster
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While I was riding with my instructor on training we had the electric panel, water heater, and a upfrow furnace all in the crawlspace. The furnace and water tank were in a hand dug pit. This was a violation being gas appliances can’t be installed were gas can pit and can explode icon_rolleyes.gif . It was quite a sight. Also the plumbing in the same house was plumbed wrong. The house was build in the country by a old framer and thought he new enough to do all the trade work himself. The foundation was on 4x4 stilts spaced every 6 feet apart. The rest was filled in with hay bales with stucco over them. icon_eek.gif Tim Foster icon_smile.gif

Originally Posted By: mrose
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Weren't Norwegian roof beavers in an X Rated movie?

Mike Rose
Cornerstone Home Inspection Co. LLC
Lawrenceville, GA

Originally Posted By: ismetaniuk
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This membership was a big waste of my time!


Top To Bottom Inspections

Glen Spey, NY

Originally Posted By: jhagarty
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Joseph Hagarty

HouseMaster / Main Line, PA

Phone: 610-399-9864
Fax : 610-399-9865

HouseMaster. Home inspections. Done right.

Originally Posted By: Steve Alexander
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Old two story victorian house built in 1878 in Kansas.

In the attic there were large piles of limestone foundation rock stacked in each of the corners. 2 to 3 hundred pounds to a stack at least and in every corner. Was told a histoian said they were put there as the house was built to keep the wind from blowing the roof off.

Originally Posted By: bdoles
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I guess my story would be the snake in the crawlspace.

First, to get in the crawlspace from the full basement I needed at least a 6' step ladder. Got the ladder and ventured into the crawlspace. Great, a 18" height to move around in. Well at least there is a vapor barrier and I won't get dirty.Towards the back of the cralwspace (about 15') there is some insulation laying on the vapor barrier, I had a broom handle that could move the insulation and there she is coiled up. A beautiful black snake. Not a little garden snake, a full 4' snake. Seems she didn't like my stick and decided to slither under the vapor barrier that I was so nicely laying on, at least for 2 seconds. Besides having some cuts and bruises on the top of my head from hitting the joists in a failed attempt at making a quick exit. But I did make it out alive.... icon_eek.gif

This is the same house where the buyer walked right through the full view glass storm door. icon_razz.gif Thank god for the invention of safety glass. What a day..!!

Brian K Doles
Inspection Connection Home Inspections
Northeast, TN

Originally Posted By: jhorton
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Just this week I found a mummified cat. That was interesting.

But on my second inspection I got a real scare. Crawling the crawl space in an older home. Tons of cob webs. Had to slither under the duct work to get to the back half of the space. I slid under and when I got my head to the other side and looked ahead it looked like something out or a horror movie. Cobs webs EVERYWHERE! I decided then and there that no fee was worth confronting that many spiders or worse a few BIG spiders. icon_eek.gif

After a moment I got up my nerve and wiggled the rest of the way out from under the ductwork. (truth is I had to, I could back up) After a few minutes I talked myself into getting a little closer and taking a look.

Turned out to be 20+ years of dryer lint hanging in cob webs! Man was I relieved too.

Jeff <*\\><
The man who tells the truth doesn't have to remember what he said.

Originally Posted By: Mike O’Handley
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The strangest thing?

I don't think I've found it yet. They just keep getting stranger. Lemme see how many I can remember:

1. Had the floor of a crawlspace literally collapse under me and drop me into a rat warren about 3ft. deep full of, I kid you not, hundreds of rats. (I'm not afraid of snakes, scorpions, dead bodies, spiders, amphibians or even death, but rats scare the bejeezus out of me.) Started rapidly repeating the F word at about 500 repetitions per minute, each followed by a What? from the client. Dropped over the retaining wall, said, "Rats!" and tore out of there like my hair was on fire, leaving my $55. light back there in that hole. I was going up the stairs from the adjacent basement to the house when I heard the client shriek, looked back and saw rats pouring over that retaining wall and the customer and realtor jumping up and down and kicking in all directions. It only encouraged me to move more quickly toward the exit. I was almost to the door when I was roughly knocked aside like my 250lbs was a feather and the client went screaming out the door ahead of me. I'm out at the van and the agent is standing on the porch yelling at me, telling me to get back in there and finish the inspection or I'd never work in that town again. I left.

2. I was up doing a post-on-pier on the Tulalip reservation in your neck of the woods. The insulation has hanging down everywhere like curtains in the crawl, forcing me to lift it and slide underneath it to get through. It kept getting narrower and narrower. Near the back in the dark, I lifted up a hanging batt, slid underneath and came face to face with a huge raccoon staring me straight in the face, only about 6 inches away. I'm a country boy born and bred. I know how much damage a coon can do, so I instinctively reared back (and up) real fast - knocking my head solidly against a joist so hard I conked myself unconscious. I suppose it was only a few minutes later, when I woke up, looked up and realized the coon was dead as a doornail and had died with its eyes open, very, very recently.

3. Found a dog's skeleton, complete with little red leather collar and chain. The elderly sellers were home. So, when I came out of the crawl I asked them if they'd ever owned a dog. "Yep," answered the owner, "About ten years ago. She disappeared one night. Whoever took her even took the chain." "Well, she's been with you all this time, underneath the house in the crawl," I said. The client had this kind of wry look on his face, but the elderly owner's wife let out an exclamation and began crying about her "poor baby." Pretty pregnant and awkward moment. Now I never say anything in front of the owners when I find animals in crawls. I'd rather not be around to see the expression on their faces.

4. Lots of aluminum foil on the underside of joists and on the floor, florescent lamps with UV tubes hanging from the floor joists and flower pot imprints on the floor foil. (Hwa! Bummer, maaannnn!)

5. The possum graveyard of the northwest has to be beneath a condominium in the Ballard subdivision of Seattle. You know, the place where all opossum go to die? Found no less than seven beneath only one unit. (Can't imagine what it must be like under the rest of this units in that block and what it must smell like around there in warm weather.)

6. Six dead cats - some skeletons, some still relatively fresh and ripe. Estate sale where a bunch of cats had been taken away to the shelter when the elderly disabled homeowner passed away.

7. The front fenders and radiator for a Model T.

8. Posts, girders, joists and flooring so badly decimated by deathwatch beetles that I stopped inspecting and got out of there 'cuz I was afraid if I brushed one too hard the whole floor above would collapse on top of me.

9. On a tabletop flat lot - a 4ft. deep hole hollowed out beneath the home within 2ft. of the perimeter of the footings at the perimeter and downspout drains that passed from outside to the interior and emptied into the hole. Every intermediate post supported by tall homemade concrete piers. It was half full of water at the the time of the inspection and there was barely enough room around the outside of the hole to inspect the band joist at the perimeter.

10. A pile of possum(?) excreta about 10 ft in diameter and about a foot high.

11. More abandoned oil furnaces and water heaters than I want to think about.

12. A refrigerator

13. Footings where fully 80% of the soil has subsided around the perimeter leaving them unsupported.

14. The remains of an old growth fir stump about 10ft. in diameter.

15. A cistern

16. A vapor barrier nicely taped and clean that felt like crawling across a waterbed 'cuz it had about 3-4 inches of water beneath. 27 year old home built at the edge of a flood plain. Underside was pristine and looked like it had been built yesterday. Owner said there is water beneath the barrier 9 months of the year.

17. Hidden porno stashes.

18. Hidden bottles of alcohol.

19. Gasoline cans with fuel in them.

20. So much water (more than 2ft.) beneath one 9ft. deep crawl near Sumner that I asked the owner to let me use the hip waders hanging in the garage. (500ft. from the banks of the Snoqualmie).

21. Enough black cats to ensure I'll never have an ounce of good luck in this lifetime.

Those are some of the more memorable. They're all so danged special that I have a hard time picking one as being the most notable. Nah, I guess that would be the rat one. Anyone want to know where to find a nearly brand new scuba light with dead batteries and the toggle in the on position?


Mike O'Handley
Your Inspector(tm)
Kenmore by the Lake, WA

Originally Posted By: rbracklow
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The worst thing that I ever saw, after I crawled into the crawl space I realized a basement that was not accessible from any inside or outside. I heard strange noises coming from the basement and crawled over to take a closer look. I could spot a cement block removed shedding some light on the noises - the basement was filled with approx. two feet of water and the noises were a family of Ducks!! It seems the owners fed the ducks through a missing floor furnace register - that was a sight.

Oh in Southern California in the Pacific Palisades area, in a rather large crawl space, I came face to face with a rattle snake. I don't know who moved faster the snake or me, but I guarantee you it took me a hell of a lot faster to get out than in!!

Originally Posted By: jmyers
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Mike, have already been through world war III. Must be too many crawls around your area, you better move to a state with basements! icon_biggrin.gif

Joe Myers

Originally Posted By: Mike O’Handley
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It's not just a job, it's an adventure. Todays crawl was under an early 40's cape that had been added onto no less than 3 times, going from a rectangular shape to an L shape, to an L shape again and finally to a rectangle again. At some point, the owner decided that he wanted a basement, so the crawlspace was excavated to make it deep enough to walk through by bending over a little bit. It was cool because the client was able to accompany me for a change and boy did he get an eyefull.

The original cape foundation was brick masonry over a poured footer. The first and second additions were poured concrete and the third addition was on CMU's over a poured footer. The interior of the crawl had been excavated so close to the foundation that top of the angle of repose left 2/3 to 3/4 of the footer unsupported around abouit 80% of the perimeter. The exterior was graded poorly and all the rain we've had lately is draining back toward the foundation and into the crawl (All of the vinyl splashblocks were piled up in the basement on the floor) and the foundation was actively settling and had cracked recently in at least four places.

The guy had removed two walls of the original brick masonry foundation of the cape, including the footers, and had replaced them with wood posts supporting a couple of girders. That would have worked, except the posts rested on dirt with nothing under them. Better yet, wherever the poured concrete stem walls of the additions ran pependicular to the perimeter walls and jutted into the crawl and function essentially as grade beams, he'd removed the earth from beneath the stem walls, broke the footers off and had wedged wood blocks between the underside of the stemwalls and the earth, so that the order from earth to sills goes wood blocks, poured concrete wall, cripple wall and then mudsill. Gee, I wonder if the guy has ever noticed that we have this little periodic annoyance around here known as earthquakes?

The client wanted the house pretty badly because the lot is sub-dividable into three building lots and had appraised way over asking price. However, once he saw what was underneath it he asked me to stop the inspection, handed me my check and told me not to bother going any further - he'd seen enough to know any move-in equity was shot. Like I said, crawls are an adventure. icon_wink.gif


Mike O'Handley
Your Inspector(tm)
Kenmore by the Lake, WA

Originally Posted By: Blaine Wiley
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I was inspecting an attic in a 180 year old house which had been vacant for quite some time. The house was an L shape and was very large. Venting in the attic was minimal, except for the 4 to 6 inch round hole at the rear gable end of the L. From the outside, the hole looked like an old pipe had been removed. Access to the attic was through an undersized scuttle, maybe 15x20. I squeezed through and started looking around. When I went to the one end and started to make the turn to the other end of the L, I aimed my flashlight toward the ridge at the rear, but I couldn’t see any more attic. What I did see was literally hundreds of bats hanging from every conceivable area of that portion of the attic. I have never been so nimble or so skinny, but I’ll bet it didn’t take me three seconds to be back on the floor below. I don’t mind bats flying around my yard, but I thought bunches of bats like that only happened in the movies. icon_eek.gif icon_eek.gif


Originally Posted By: Robert L Dean
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How about this: I am an air conditioning technician training to be a home inspector.I was in a crawl space under a mobile home inspecting some flexible duct.I found some cats that had made a home under the trailer. They had shredded the flex, and sprayed all under there. It was a pisser to stay under there and repair the duct. Luckily as a home inspector, I will no longer have to make repairs.It was really disgusting though. icon_redface.gif icon_redface.gif