"I once ran into a crazy old gynecologist, who didn't want to sell his house but still wanted to have a good market analysis to present in court for his divorce proceedings. He offered me $500, so I was happy to come out and write it up for him.
First off, I didn't know he was a gynecologist. He never told me until much later when he asked me to put Dr. First name Last name on the paperwork and I asked what kind of medicine he practiced.
I showed up and the outside of the house looked great. It was super clean, very well maintained for a 70-year-old house, and looked pretty as a picture. I walked in and there was nothing but shelving units lining every single wall. Floor to ceiling shelving units. They were also in the middle of every room on the first floor. All of them were loaded with plastic storage bins that were all labeled. They all seemed to have pretty routine stuff. I thought the guy was just a very organized hoarder. One had boxes and boxes and boxes of new pens. One was all rolls of tape. One big one was all toilet paper.
As I got further into the house, the storage bins went from office supplies and toiletries to 'spoons.' Just a giant clear storage tub full of random spoons. One was 'used paper clips.' Used paper clips? He was differentiating between new and used paperclips? Ok. Whatever.
That's when I noticed every room had a TV and a surround sound system. And it was all set up on a shelving unit. This was back when flat screens were like $5,000 and every room had one. Every room also had 'flying saucers' on the ceiling which he said were repeaters so he could change every tv to the same channel at the same time. I must admit, that was pretty cool.
Then we made our way upstairs and it was a mess.
The shelving units were all along the walls (but not in the middles of the rooms) and he had a toaster in the middle of the bedroom floor with a bag of Butternut bread next to it and a plate with a mushy stick of butter that looked like it was a week old. It had that sick, yellow crystallized look to it. There were books all over the floor and it looked like he just sat on the floor, reading, and eating toast. Everything was sprawled out in a perfect circle around where he would sit.
That's when I noticed the clear storage tubs were much stranger upstairs. One entire rack was 'used tissues.' Another several boxes were 'lubricant.' A couple were 'speculums.'
Then I realized there were A LOT of boxes of tissues (new and used) around his little toast and book circle.
I took my measurements and couldn't help but look at some of the titles on his bookshelf. The two that stand out the most were 'Personal Intimacy, and 'Show Me.' I mostly remember 'Show Me' because it was a very controversial book when I was a kid. It's basically a published book of kiddie (teen) smut disguised as a reproductive health education book. Everything else on the wall of books was similar.
And we were not even close to being finished with the walkthrough. I walked into this other bedroom and realized how dark it was. He had tin foil taped in the windows to black out the room. It was filled with computers on a giant custom-built horseshoe desk. If I recall, there were eight or nine screens wrapping around the room (in addition to the two big flatscreen TVs). As I measured the room, I noticed more used tissues and several boxes of new tissues. The screensavers were all showing slide shows of either nude women or women in bathing suits. I said nothing and we moved on.
And here's where it got weird.
He took me to the basement. It was a love dungeon. Not some flashy dungeon either. This was dark, dank, and musty. Two cages in two corners, some kind of crucifixion cross with restraints, some weird table with restraints, a wall full of whips and chains and needles. One was a spanking paddle that had tacks sticking out of it. Swings of varying sorts hanging from the rafters. A wooden trough filled with what I hope was water. There was also a coffin, a 'rack,' an iron maiden, and stocks (like the medieval head and hands town square punishment device). Every wall, support, and piece of furniture had some kind of restraints on it. And he walked me through as if nothing was strange about this.
And the coup de grâce. He showed me the utility room and then showed me his 'secret room' where the door was disguised as paneling on the back wall of the laundry room. Inside looked like a torture room out of a horror movie. A giant shelving unit filled with VHS tapes was along one wall. A computer desk with a computer and old-school video editing machines (I assume). Boxes of his favorite tissues all over the editing station. Then there was a brass bed with restraints. There were no sheets on the bed and it was HORRIBLY stained with God only knows what (not blood, though - I probably would have called the cops if I saw blood on it). There was a mirror above the bed with a microphone dangling and two VHS cameras on tripods trained right on the bed.
This guy acted like this was all totally normal. He was like, 'Oh, and here's the secret room! I like to come down here to relax. It's just so quiet down here and it feels so safe because it's just hidden away from the rest of the house. If someone ever breaks in, I'd come down here and they'd never even know to look here!'
I collected my $500 and got out of there as fast as I could. No one believed me back at the office, and you know what, I don't blame them either. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I'd heard it from someone else. I have no idea what happened to that guy. I'm guessing he's dead now since he was probably 75-80 years old and this was about 15 years ago. His age and frailty (in addition to my morbid curiosity) was probably the only reason I didn't take off immediately. I remember thinking in my head 'Keep your guard up... You'll fight this old man if you have to.'
That's one terrifying visit I'll never forget. It's also the only time I didn't shake a customer's hand as I was leaving. My hand still tingles when I think about the introductory handshake and all those clear tubs filled with 'used tissues.'"