It probably shouldn’t surprise you that people who spend time in the homes of strangers often see things they can’t forget.

I figured it happens every once in a while – gross things, disturbing things, stuff that’s just weird – but honestly, after reading through these 15 stories, I realize I wasn’t giving people enough credit.

They’re way weirder than I imagined.

15. Time to call the cops.

I was in a private home once working on a copier (doesn’t happen very often) and was led thru the art studio area where there were drawings of young naked girls all over the wall.

You don’t want to know how old…

14.  A horrifying hoarder.

My dads business partner bought a home on our street after the lady who lived there passed away— she didn’t have any living relatives. My dad was tasked with getting the place cleaned out and ready for contractors since we lived across the street.

The woman who passed was always a nice lady and we’d often go hang out with her on her porch, where she taught my sister and I to knit. We were never invited inside and never really asked to be— at my age I didn’t really think anything of it.

Anywho, my dad was REALLY excited to show us the place but kept a secret what was so “crazy” about it. We walked in to find out she was a hoarder! The entire house was filled with 6 feet tall piles of junk, save for the walking paths thru each room which were actually quite neat and the bathroom which only had a pile as tall as the toilet seat.

What was strange is that it didn’t even smell much at all! I’d seen hoarding tv shows and they always noted the horrible stench. It definitely didn’t smell good but all the junk was basically brand new things still wrapped up in their packaging or their store bags.

It seemed she just had a shopping addiction but was still a neat lady?

13. I have questions.

At least 30 bicycles in the living room and a wall of car radios in his bedroom.

I quickly figured out what my client did for a living.

12. A garbage troll.

Working as locksmith, get call to rekey house. Talk to client before I show up, she seems like a completely normal lady.

I show up, we talk for a moment outside, completely normal house from all looks, she’s an RN, 0 warning signs.

She goes to open the door and let me in and starts acting sheepish, she starts apologizing and says something like excuse the mess. The door can’t open all the way, there’s 3-4 FEET of trash everywhere. Not hoarding boxes or collecting weird stuff but just garbage, rotting stuff, piss, shit, piles of it.

There’s a 9inch wide walkway through the garbage that’s 6inch deep of compressed garbage, togo boxes, fast food bags, magazines, you name it. She goes in walks through to the living room sits down on a couch that cant be seen, garbage everywhere, a cat appears out of nowhere and sits on her lap lovingly.

She seems for all practical purposes like a completely normal functioning adult. I looked it up it’s some weird form of the hording condition but just rotting waste. She seemed so normal. I did the job and left, felt bad for her. still kinda freaks me out like there’s no way you’re guessing this nice nurse lady is actually a garbage troll.

11. You should see my face right now.

Current realtor, former cable and fiber optic tech. Chicken intestines. Just draped over a wooden bar hanging from the ceiling, dripping onto the floor in the basement. From the looks of the stains, this was not the first time they’d done it.

The smell was indescribable.

10. What in the world.

When I worked as a housekeeper there was this one airbnb we would clean and in the office there was a giant bookshelf full of books, but upon further inspection we realized that they were literally all books about Hitler and the Nazis

Also not a house but the mechanics of a car dealership we cleaned would ROUTINELY shit on the bathroom floor instead of the toilet

9. We hates it.

Walked into a house to sell them a home security system. In the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia.

See a big muscley guy with his skinny wife, turn the corner their 2yo son is playing on the floor of the lounge room. Next to the son is a cabinet of… rifles. Ok.

And the biggest wall in the house, maybe 4 metres wide and 3 high, has a flag the full size of it, with a big, proud, swastika.

They did not buy my home security system.

8. People who need help.

During my plumbing apprenticeship I worked in north London for the local authority. Our job was to go into houses and update their boilers to new high efficiency boilers.

One home was a top floor flat and we were told in advance that the guy who lived there went by the nickname of “birdman”. He was called this because he left his windows open year around allowing all the pigeons to roost in his place. On approach via the stairway, you could could smell the ammonia from the bird shit. By the time we got to the door we were gagging and called the job off. The local council had to call in deep cleaners in hazmat suits to clean the place before any work would go ahead.

Another place a guy lived who I’m pretty sure had some mental health issues. When we got in he had broken computer parts covering every single square inch of the floor. He said that he wanted us to remove our boots to work there but we flat out refused on health and safety grounds. Whilst we were there he spent most of his time on the phone calling local zoos asking what they did with their “spare” porcupines. He was calling because he wanted to eat them. When they refused he accused them of being racist as he claimed to be from Africa and it was a delicacy for him. He was a white guy with a north London accent. Not saying he couldn’t have been born in Africa and emigrated, but it sounded made up.

Last was a very friendly family but their place was a mess. When we got in they offered us tea which we politely declined. When we got into the kitchen there was dirty cups and plates stacked head high and a decomposing fish on the floor. It was gross. The worst part was having to get in the bedrooms. One room, which was barely big enough for one adult, had 3 adult men staying in. It smelled of old mildew and sweat. When one of the guys got up out of bed to give us the room, his toe nails were so long that they made a tapping noise on the laminate flooring, kind of like the velociraptors in Jurassic park.

I’m not sharing this to make fun of any of these people. They were clearly living close to or on the poverty line. If anything I think these type of people need more help from society, better mental health resources, more living space and just general wellness checks could all help these people.

7. An umbrella for bugs.

Thousands of bed bugs. Crawling all over the walls, the resident, and his motorized scooter. There’s a reason some Home Health workers take an umbrella or large brimmed hat (think classical sombrero) into the home until they can assess for such issues.

For those curious, I believe the home was eventually demolished.

6. That poor man.

I walked into a travel trailer to perform wound care on a elderly diabetic man. The floor was covered I human feces and urine, he was laying in bed, wrapped in blankets, make and also cover in feces. At this point I decided to walk out and fully gown up put on boot covers and an N95.

I have to move several 5 gallon buckets overflowing with feces and urine to get to the man. I cleaned up his legs, which had several large diabetic ulcers in them. Dressed the legs and immediately left and called adult protective services. I could have walked away as it was an unsafe environment, but those wounds looked very neglected and needed cleaning.

I have no idea if APS was able to do anything. I’m guessing the county and police got involved. He was renting the trailer from a friend. It had no sewer or running water. The trailer was gone a few months later when I drove past it again.

I also once knocked on a patients door, just a normal knock to let them know I arrived. I heard a load thump and yelling. The knocking scared him and he fell. I got into the house and found him on the floor.

His femur was broken in middle and bent to the side, like he had a second knee.

5. Impossible to imagine.

Approx 70y/o woman fell in her trailer and injured her hip/femur but was able to drag herself to the couch and climb onto it. Unfortunately due to her injury she was unable to walk (plus the trailer was a disgusting hoarder situation with clutter everywhere so navigation was already difficult).

She sat on the couch in the same spot for approx 10 days until a neighbor called 911. When we arrived she was naked and covered in 10 days worth of feces and urine, and was physically stuck to the couch. The worst parts were that the rats that also lived in her trailer had eaten two toes on the left foot down to the bone and approx half of her right foot. She had such bad neuropathy that she said she could feel the pressure of them chewing but no significant pain and was unable to kick them off.

On top of that she had several sores on her inner upper thighs, along with a skin tear on her right forearm that had live maggots in them. We had to peel her off of the couch which caused a large portion of skin to slough off as it was dead/decaying after soaking in urine for a prolonged period of time. I’ve never smelled anything worse than when we broke that seal.

The crazy part is that she had a phone near but didn’t want to call 911 because she didn’t want to “spend all day in the hospital”. The neighbor that called had been coming over and giving her food and water, but didn’t call us for 10 days since “she said she didn’t want us to and it didn’t seem that bad at the time”.

I still have a hard time processing it all, but this is just one of many.

4. Not a clean surface anywhere.

Oh God I have so many. The one that springs to mind first is the house where the firefighters already on scene pointed to the carpet and said “careful, there’s poop on the floor…but, uh…I haven’t seen evidence of pets.”

The whole place was bad.

Then there was the old man whose only “clean” part of the house was a small portion of his bed where he slept. Everything else was COVERED with clutter and filth. I have no idea how food was made in his kitchen or how he used his bathroom to either bathe or shit, the bathroom was similarly covered with junk and filth. There just wasn’t a clean surface anywhere.

Think about the ruins of buildings you see in post-apocalyptic video games like Fallout. Think about how dirty, stained and cluttered those bathrooms and kitchens are. Then, quadruple the amount of dirt and random junk in any given room so it covers every flat surface, and you’re getting pretty close to this guy’s house.

I took pictures and filed a report with Adult Protective Services; this guy couldn’t care for himself. It was really sad.

3. Visible bone is never good.

72 yr old male, brown recluse bite. Didn’t want to call though his back hurt,family came to see him, he said he was okay, but was trying not to cry. His family called.

We arrived pull him off his chair and a large piece of white tissue and fat and purulent MN after seeped from an area starting at his mid back to the back of his right knee, minimal blood just weeping. Lots of bone was visible, and the smell was invigorating in the worst of ways, eyes and noses were running and lots of coughing and gagging, of course he was filtny in his nether regions as well.

He died 2 days later, I can’t see him being able to survive the infection regardless.

2. So much filth.

I did home hospice nursing for a few months. You’d be surprised how cluttered and dirty even homes in nice neighborhoods can be.

I had one house I went to the patient had vomited all over the carpet hours before. The family member said they didn’t clean it up yet because they were waiting for someone to bring them carpet cleaner. So they laid a towel over the vomit pile/chunks. Mind you this carpet was matted and stained all over.

It didn’t need specialty cleaner. They could have used any cleaning product they had on hand and it would have been better than waiting hours.

Bleh.

1. So many interesting people.

I thankfully don’t have to go into peoples homes, but my dad does as he works for an internet company in the Midwest. The area he works in is full of…. interesting people.

I know I’ve heard dozens of stories of the horrors of other people’s houses but aside from the elderly men that brick their computer with porn and claim “they don’t watch that stuff” or clear hoarders with feces everywhere insisting he takes his shoes off in the house, (he never would he always tells people that it isn’t allowed by his company for insurance reasons) one story from my teenage years sticks out more then others.

He visited a middle aged woman’s house who was complaining about her internet not working, pretty standard stuff. He showed up, noticed the inside of the house wreaked of s*%t and was told the modem is downstairs and led to the basement. The lady told him, “careful, we’ve been keeping our puppy downstairs because he likes to bite” bit of a red flag but my dad still decided to go downstairs.

Told us that everything in the basement was soaked in urine and covered in dog shit, but found it a little odd that after 10 minutes or so the dog hadn’t appeared. Didn’t think much of it and continued to work on the job at hand, as he tracked some of the cables he stumbled upon a python he described as being about 5-6 feet long, and soon saw another in the basement.

One was moving freely but the other had quite a large object in its stomach that kept it mostly stationary. He then left the home, without fixing the internet, citing it to his work as a danger to his safety and never had to return.

God bless these people doing this work, y’all. I try to not talk to strangers at all if I can help it and here they are, doing it every day.

If you work in people’s houses, we’d love it if you’d add your story to the bunch in the comments!