We know New York real estate is notoriously undersized, so finding a hidden room in your apartment could feel like the stuff of dreams. However, as one TikToker discovered, it can also be more of a nightmarish situation – depending on what you uncover in your secret space …
Samantha Hartsoe was renting an apartment on Roosevelt Island in New York City and noticed a strange breeze coming from behind her bathroom mirror. After curiosity got the better of her, she decided she just had to know what was going on, but she couldn’t possibly have been prepared for what she discovered.
“Seriously never would I have expected to find this … and I documented all of it,” wrote Hartsoe in a caption for the first viral TikTok clip in a series she used to document her spine-chilling discoveries.
“Curiosity killed the cat, curiosity is going to kill me,” Hartsoe told NBC New York. “I can’t not know what’s on the other side of my bathroom.”
Hartsoe and a friend decided to take down her bathroom mirror and see if they could find the source of the breeze. Horrifyingly, underneath the mirror was a long corridor with a hidden room at the end. Hartsoe’s friend compared it to the secret dungeon from 2019’s Parasite.
Ignoring all of the warnings every horror movie fan should keep in mind, Hartsoe then decided to explore the bizarre space further. “I have to figure out what’s on the other side of my bathroom,” she explained in her video, before climbing through the hole left by her bathroom mirror …
Other viewers likened this moment to the Candyman franchise, in which unsuspecting victims are killed by the titular character after saying his name into a mirror.
In Part 4 of the series, Hartsoe arrives back from her adventures through the wall with a truly odd discovery. Behind her bathroom mirror, there was a whole other abandoned three-bedroom apartment. The space was empty apart from a few exposed pipes, some trash bags, and some cardboard boxes.
Even more creepily, Hartso discovered a half-empty water bottle, which she considered a “sign of life.” “I was kind of expecting there to be somebody, especially with the water bottle being there,” she explained to New York magazine. “And that definitely put me on edge.”
However, upon further inspection, it became clear that the space wasn’t inhabitable. “I’m not sure if it was being renovated or if it is empty. It’s really old, and nobody’s been in there a while. The shower-bathroom area is all piping — there’s no actual bathtub or toilet. The floor, and what I think would be the kitchen, was ripped up,” she explained to Curbed.
But if you thought Hartsoe had just inadvertently accessed an abandoned apartment next door, you’d be wrong. She explained that after she exited the mystery space, she was in a hallway elsewhere in her building, and then had to walk through the complex to get back home. “Made it out alive,” she joked, adding, “My landlord’s getting a really fun phone call tomorrow.”
In fact, Hartsoe claims that the hidden rooms are a mystery even to her landlord and the building’s management!
There remain ongoing theories about the strange abandoned space. One person wrote in the New York Post: “I owned a large 1920s house in NYC area, had little rooms in the darndest places & a strange old basement toilet. Many people took in boarders in times past, especially after the depression. It was a way for women in particular to earn a living.”
“I think everybody in New York has such small apartments, you don’t know what you’re going to find,” Hartsoe joked to New York Magazine. “And everyone’s hoping for more space.”
You can see a full compilation of the TikTok series on YouTube.