You’d think that the worst things that structural inspectors find would be faulty foundations, hideous holes in houses, as well as asbestos in the attic. However, some inspectors seem to have bad luck following them about because they stumble upon the weirdest, creepiest, and horrifying things during their examinations of buildings. Like skulls. Or occult altars. Or dolls that have a ghost living inside of them and whose eyes are totally following you when you look away.
Bored Panda interviewed Derek Marier from California-based Alpha Structural, Inc. about the strange things that he and his co-workers find during their inspections. In fact, there are so many peculiar finds that Marier makes a weekly thread on Imgur about them and always gets the internet’s attention. In fact, the company already has nearly 11,000 followers on Instagram because of the interesting things that its employees see while on the job. We’ve collected some of the best examples to help showcase that the supernatural might be among us.
According to Marier, he found a skull during one inspection and it turned out to be over 1,000 years old!
“Coming across things such as the dolls or a skull shake you up at first. You’re expecting to locate a structural defect but come end up finding something you can almost label as satanic or ancient. I would have to say the skull gave me the biggest chills by far. I assumed that it was fake right from the start, but I didn’t realize that I picked up an actual skull from Peru which was estimated at being 1,000+ years old,” Marier went into detail during an interview with Bored Panda.
Scroll down for Bored Panda’s full interview with him.
So scroll down, upvote your favorite freaky finds, and leave us a comment about which things you thought were the strangest and why. When you’re done with this list, be sure to check out Bored Panda’s previous posts about nightmares and miracles spotted during inspections, as well as the worst thing seen during inspections.
This subterranean basement had a window that opened up into an open area underground. Imagine opening the window in your basement and a group of bats fly in. That probably wouldn't happen here but it's possible! This is a great spot for putting your disobedient kids.
“I would say the tunnel somebody dug under the foundation put more fear into me than any of the creepy Items I have found. I’ve heard horror stories of people getting trapped under houses by attempting to squirm through those gaps. That’s a nightmare in itself. Thank the lord there was no scary doll or human skull staring me in the face while I was attempting to crawl through!”
During structural inspections, if Marier finds anything weird or creepy, he first takes photos of the items, then informs the homeowner about them, and then contacts the authorities. However, he contacts the police only if he finds things that are a bit ‘sketchy or require forensic investigation.’
We are doing a seismic retrofit on this apartment building and our crew took off the bottom portion of stucco on this column to expose the column connections. This is, quite literally, what we discovered. There was nothing supporting the unit above. No connections or even anything touching the ground besides the stucco facade. Thank goodness we had shoring put in place.
“The Nkondi [a type of mystical doll] was just hanging out in somebody’s garage, as if it were normal to just have a spiritual statue from a Congo Tribe. I don’t think it was fake at all either,” he said, also mentioning that he has no idea where the 1,000-year-old skull ended up. The authorities took the skull for further investigation. I didn’t really stay in touch with them so I’m not entirely sure where it ended up. I can only assume it’s in some holding facility for contraband or at a local Peruvian Museum.”
“The dolls stayed there because I know better than to touch those! Most of the structural issues you see in the gallery were completely handled by our company. It’s definitely scary for the homeowner at first, but we’ve been doing this for 25+ years and are very experienced in structural repair. Especially if they’re labeled as ‘scary.’”
According to Marier, not all owners are aware that they have scary things hidden in their homes. “In the case of the skull, the owners didn’t know it was there. The previous owners brought it back some time in the 70s or 80s and just threw it under the home. They were just as surprised to see it as I was! The dolls were also found under the home creepily enough. Whether the owners knew they were there or not is beyond me. But they had no reason being there and that made me think it was either a prank or that they’ve been sitting under the home for decades becoming more and more evil looking.”
We discovered this REAL skull while doing a foundation inspection on a property in LA. The authorities were called and it was discovered that the skull was in fact real and that the previous owners brought it back from Peru in the 70s or 80s. There wasn't any TSA agents to stop them from bringing it back, and when it came time to sell the property they threw it under the home.
In a previous interview, foundation repair contracting firm Alpha Structural, Inc. talked to Bored Panda about poor structural conditions in some buildings, as well as giving advice to help homeowners make their homes safer. Company representative Ben Reinhart had this to say: “I would say one of the worst homes we inspected was back in 1992. We went to a 3-story hillside home located in Playa del Rey.”
“The condition of the soil supporting the home was so bad that, during our assessment, we found that the home was cracking and actually moving. We are not alarmists in any sense but this was the first time we had to evacuate. Temporary shoring was put in the next morning to prevent the home from collapsing. The complexity of the repair required, getting a large rig on a steep hillside to excavate a 55’ deepened foundation, made this one of the worst most challenging in our long history. Let’s just say if we were on a reality TV show, this episode would’ve been a season finale.”
This was brand new, 2019 construction and this is what they do. How lazy can people get, you ask? This lazy.
One of the worst structural cracks we've ever seen. The entire back side of the home was sinking down and pulling away from the rest of the structure. A knock down if you ask me.
Found this Nkondi while doing an inspection. Nkondi are statues made by tribes of the Congo. They can mean many things but are often said to hold a spirit which hunts down bad people and wrong-doers.
According to Alpha Structural, Inc., there are lots of reasons why some homes aren’t repaired and have problems with their foundations, such as “budget constraints, timing, accessibility of workspace, etc.” However, the company believes that most of the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the contractors who are hired to repair their homes and don’t always do a good job.
The company also had some sound advice to help home-owners keep their homes safe: “Our advice would be to clean out gutters, ensure you have downspouts that direct water away from your foundation and see that the hardscape (walkways, patios, etc.) and landscape grade away from the home. Most foundation problems are caused by water and poor drainage.”
“If you look under your home, check to see that there is no earth to wood contact. Not only will moisture from the ground get to the wood and cause rot, it also allows for wood destroying organisms to get to the framing of your home. Additionally, earthquake retrofitting is a cost-effective upgrade encouraged by not only engineering communities, but also local and state officials.”
This is an old septic well covered up under a parking space of an apartment building. It's about a century old but was still in decent shape.
Whoever did this has quite the sense of humor, but lacks the proper funds.Mickey Mouse Job: A job done incorrectly in an extremely poor manner using the simplest, easiest, cheapest and fastest way possible.
Another extremely creepy doll which had no reason to be where it was.
If you wanted a visual representation of what evil looks like, this is it. And the brick foundation is in really bad shape...
At least they braced it, but still a total mickey mouse job.
Almost stepped on this during an inspection but I decided not too. He looked like a fungi. Ha.
Here's a few post and piers under the same house that are also clearly leaning quite a bit.
This is a wooden column which is currently the main support for an apartment unit above. Moisture has basically eaten away the bottom of the column, rendering it pretty useless. We're currently doing an earthquake retrofit for this building and will soon be replacing this column with steel. Would you feel safe if your unit was being help up by this column? I wouldn't.
If you have foundation issues, your internal cracking should resemble this. Large, diagonal cracking. Though, this was a pretty severe case.
Slab crack to the max... At times homeowners can be overly concerned about cracking in their homes. However, this type of cracking is definitely a cause for concern...
Grab some 2x4s and a little DIY creativity and you have yourself a recipe for mickey mouse work.
Always remember, doing the cheapest repair is the best route to go no matter what!
(Please do not take that seriously!!)
This was a front porch that had been sinking a few inches over a short time. This created some separation from the columns that help support the roof above (as most porches in LA connect directly to a portion of the roof). You can see that they added a large post to the right of the column so it would help with supporting the weight-load from above. Scary stuff!
There's 11 different pieces of wood connecting to each other in this photo.
This was a wooden retaining wall with a stone facade on the front. Over a short time, the hillside began to erode and the dirt started coming down the slope. This caused the retaining wall below to pull away and lean downward, taking parts of the facade with it. Don't use wood for retaining walls. They can be used for compacted and tiered hillsides, but not full on retaining walls.
Here we have a decent sized sink hole we inspected this week. From the top it doesn't look too bad... But once you poke your head inside, it gets a little more serious. The hole is a little over 7 feet deep and 5-6 feet wide. You can see that there are some very large tree roots in the background. The fact that these are exposed is a sort of blessing in disguise. They do help stabilize the surrounding area but it's still at risk of expanding. We proposed a exploratory investigation to see exactly what's going on and what's causing this too occur. I'll also add that it's only a few feet from the home's foundation and could create some serious structural issues if left without being properly handled.
This is just like Tetris when you try to flip your piece at the last second and it offsets everything. :(
We inspected this old porte-cochère that had been slowly sinking and displacing over time. You can see that the deck at the top is clearly sloping down a few inches.
Termite damage and dry rot do not go well together. Notice he's using a flashlight to crumble the wood to pieces.
Here's an old girder that's been split in half. We tried finding the missing piece but it was nowhere to be found and the cause isn't really known either.