Sharehouse becomes 'horror movie' as man found in basement
IN 2013, Brett Mugglin and Mark Hartman moved into their new off-campus housing in preparation for their senior year at Ohio State University.
The house was huge, and eventually it would house ten of Mark's friends, but in the early stages of the move, there were just three: Brett, Mark and another, MJ.
After a few days in house, they woke one morning to find every door open in every room - room doors, the dishwasher, the fridge, dryer, washing machine, oven and microwave. They joked it must have been a ghost.
"We had been telling everybody the story of the ghost in our house coming in and opening all our cupboards and the microwave and oven and all this stuff," Mark told college newspaper The Lantern at the time.
"We weren't sure how to explain it".
Mark thought it may have been a college prank, he told the Criminal podcast earlier this month. Brett thought maybe he had been sleep walking.
But then they heard a series of "weird noises like dings and alarms" coming from downstairs. They decided to investigate.
"We each grabbed a baseball bat, or a knife, and we were going through all the rooms, opening closets. One of us would have the baseball bat ready to jump at anything that came out of the closet."
They didn't find anything - until they reached the basement.
They discovered a locked door no one had a key to - the sounds were coming from inside.
"A few times, when my roommate Brett was down there, he would hear noises," Mark told ABC News at the time.
"But, when he tried to turn the handle on a door located in the basement, it was always locked."
The men thought it was probably a utility closet.
For weeks, strange occurrences started to plague the house - drawers were mysteriously opened in the kitchen and bathroom, lights were turned on and noises kept coming up from the basement.
One day, when Brett was downstairs fixing the power, he had a strange encounter. He came across a man he'd never seen before.
"He was like, 'I was wondering when I would get to meet the people who live here'."
The pair introduced themselves, had a brief conversation, then parted ways. The man said his name was Jeremy.
"Later that day a bunch of us were hanging out and Brett's talking to the downstairs lodgers. He said, 'hey, I met your roommate Jeremy today'.
"They were like, 'we don't have a roommate named Jeremy'."
No one had ever heard of a man named Jeremy.
So they called the landlord, who called the police.
"The landlord and police pried off the door handle and, inside, we found a liveable bedroom with photos, a TV and clothes," Hartman said.
What was inside astonished everyone - a secret world packed with somebody else's belongings. Pictures of a man with friends and family. An unmade bed. Books.
A secret human living in their house.
What the guys didn't realise was that the basement was the home to a secret bedroom and someone had taken it upon themselves to board for free. The room included a toilet and bathroom.
They person was able to sneak through a side door that led to the basement.
In a creepy twist, Brett identified the man in the photos as Jeremy.
"He was a really nice guy," Brett told The Lantern.
"I feel bad for him. It's just, he wasn't supposed to be living there ... It's funny now, but it potentially could have been extremely dangerous given that some random guy had a key to our house and was just living in our house without anyone knowing."
Jeremy wasn't home at the time of the discovery but a few days later the boys discovered most of his belongings had disappeared.
They later discovered Jeremy's cousin had lived in the house the year prior, which is how he initially got access to the house. He was also a student at the college.
The locks in the house were changed soon after.
"It could have potentially been a scary situation," Mark told ABCNews.com at the time.
"Two of the 10 roommates in our section of the house are girls and our rooms don't have locks on the doors."
Years later, a co-worker confronted one of the men and revealed he was the man in the house.
"He periodically came in and screwed with the people living in the house.
"Probably he decided to stay there as long as he could, he could just sneak in without ever being seen by any one."