When Dubliner Daniel Carly stumbled upon this seemingly perfect pad in England’s Leamington Spa, the rent was so low that he signed the lease without even viewing the property. It was only after moving in that he discovered something sinister lurking deep beneath the floorboards. A week later, he invited the internet into his new home for a video tour that will make you shudder. Watch your step…
The week after Carly moved to his new pad in October 2013, he uploaded a tour of the apartment to YouTube and imgur. It quickly went viral – having been viewed almost five million times on YouTube alone – but it’s definitely not the interior design that made his new home an internet sensation.
Because, let’s face it, apart from a precarious, cramped-looking mezzanine bedroom and a few oddly placed ceiling fixtures, this looks like a pretty standard apartment. But just outside the bathroom things begin to get a bit weird.
Still, perhaps that was to be expected. Carly knew, after all, that the apartment building contained around 30 different apartments, and yet before it was converted into homes it had served a very different purpose.
Indeed, this was once home to an order of monks. It’s thought that the old monastery dates as far back as the 19th century, but all traces of the property’s cloistered past have since disappeared. All, that is, but one.
Hidden among the wooden floorboards is a carefully concealed trapdoor. Only a small latch gives the secret entrance away. The door lifts up easily, and at first there doesn’t seem to be anything down there worth exploring.
The torchlight falls on a collection of DIY equipment. “A bit of under-floor storage for some tools and old paint cans,” Carly explains. “Pretty unexciting.” But then he looks a little closer.
Beneath the paintbrushes and toolboxes, a brick stairway tumbles down into a secret underground lair. “We have a dungeon. We have a dungeon,” exclaims Carly, with the enthusiasm of someone who has just been told he has won a million dollars. “I couldn’t believe my luck.”
As the torchlight reveals more of what could easily pass as the cellar from The Conjuring or the man-cave of a madman, he begins to think better of this unexpected discovery. “It’s 10 o’clock at night here, and I’m on my own,” he whispers into the camera, a little nervously.
Unsure now of just exactly what lurks beneath his floorboards, the Irishman decides to batten down his hatches and calls over a friend before venturing any further. For good measure, he maneuvers the toilet door over the entrance, too, just to make sure no one can get in – and nothing can get out.
When company arrives, the mysterious trap door is opened once again. Armed with a torch and a camera, our host and his friend descend the staircase into the pitch-black mouth of the dungeon.
The underground lair is a crumbling maze of brick tunnels and hidden chambers, and it extends far beyond the boundaries of Carly’s flat. Unbeknown to his neighbors, he can even creep around beneath the floorboards of the home next door.
The gloomy pathway between the cells is littered with dislodged bricks, exposed pipes and loose wires. It’s not at all welcoming. Even so, Carly soon finds evidence that someone has been hiding out in the bunker pretty recently.
The creepiest chamber lies right underneath his own apartment. On one of the walls, sprayed over layers of peeling white paint, are the letters C.C.F.C. O.K. The screaming caps could be the markings of some sinister kind of symbolism, but – disappointingly, perhaps – they’re probably more likely something to do with nearby soccer team Coventry City Football Club.
There are grave-like trenches in the ground and on the other side of the cloistered room, meanwhile, while an unusual brick formation protrudes from the wall. From its long rectangular shape, Carly guesses that it’s either a very uncomfortable bed or the raised roof of a burial crypt.
All of the windows have been bricked up. The staircase is the only way in to the dungeon, and it looks like there’s no way out. In one enclosure, meanwhile, someone has been tunneling feverishly into the ground. The soil looks freshly dug up.
The underground lair is scattered with abandoned relics, too. Some look innocent enough, such as a tattered tabloid newspaper dating back to April 10, 1984 and an old unhinged door. Others, however, seem decidedly more sinister.
Under the vaulted ceiling of one chamber lie what looks like the discarded remnants of a brick shrine. This, perhaps, was once the setting for some kind of pagan ceremony. “Sacrificial altar,” surmises Carly.
“The basement space is beautiful,” he continues. “Great headroom down here.” Even so, with its bricked-up windows, musty walls and unfathomable furnishings, the underground cell probably wouldn’t be first choice for a dinner party.
Fine dining aside, the unusual basement has had the internet guessing as to what hidden purpose it could have served over the years. Some claim it could be a great place to grow drugs. Darker imaginations envisage it as a “kill room” or torture chamber.
As for its newest tenant, he’s still unsure. “I’m debating my next move.” Carly says. “But it’s very scary living above it alone.” Just in case he isn’t quite as alone as he thinks, though, perhaps his next move should be to move out.