House of Treasures

Abandoned House of Treasures

I explored this abandoned house of treasures in March of 2014 after a friend had given me the coordinates and Intel needed to access the house. I knew this house was special from the many antiques and artifacts that were found throughout.  The story about this abandoned house of treasures has been featured by media outlets worldwide and it all started when Petapixel published it originally. PetaPixel – Urban Exploration Photographer Finds a Stash of Cash in an Abandoned House

What I did not know, and what my friend didn’t know was that there was a secret buried somewhere in this house. A secret that had been hidden for possibly 30 years.


Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

I arrive at the house early on a day off of work, park up the street and make my way inside, my approach was invisible thanks to all of the blowing snow and white out conditions. There are neighbors right next door with a kitchen window that faces directly to the entry.I hang my coat and get my bearings in the house, unpack my gear and get ready to shoot this pic of the kitchen…when something catches my eye at the corner of the mattress.Surprised, I pick it up to inspect it, my adrenaline jumps a bit and my heart (and mind) start racing. I think I may be in a squatters house, or maybe someone is stashing stuff here.But I stay and I keep shooting…the house is great, seems to have been abandoned a very long time, quite possibly early 80’s.The kitchen counter and cupboards were full of old products and canisters, as well as old family photos


One of the residents of this home had been battling cancer, they had put this hospital bed in the dining room. I’m told the woman eventually died here.


Exploring the upstairs of the house was like walking through a time capsule, unfortunately holes in the roof had caused an advanced deterioration of the interior.

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography


My friend who had discovered this home had been able to locate a deep history of this home and the family who lived here, but For privacy and ethical reasons I will not be sharing any of that story on this public forum, but let it be known, it’s a very tragic story.

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Following the death of the two elders in the home, the property was willed to their children, however the tragedy that struck the family had caused them to move from the house prior to their passing.

The siblings who took ownership of the property had also eventually passed away, passing the property to three siblings who have not kept in touch for years. Leaving the home in this condition for years.

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

I go back down to the kitchen, something tells me that there is more of what I had found by the mattress – I was right and behind the mattress was a yellow Home Hardware bag – full of this stuff. I’m a bit more nervous now and unsure of what I should do.

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

I continue my explore of the house, documenting all of these old antiques that I’m finding

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Touch 2


I get a phone call from my friend to ask me how things are going, and I tell him of what I have found. He is shocked, however he had a feeling when he was here that there was something more to be found in this house.

I tell him that I don’t think we should make any quick decisions and lets sit on this a while. I tell him I will put what I found in side some old tins and leave it somewhere that he can go back and get it and we decide what to do. It is placed in 4 old tins and hidden

I tell my friend that the best option here, in my opinion is that we reach out to the people who own the property, his research had led him to locate the three siblings who own this land, and he was able to find a phone number.

I finished shooting the house and I told him I will call when done, so we can make a plan

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography

Abandoned House of Treasures Freaktography


“Found behind the mattress was nearly $6,800 in cash – old smelly US and Canadian money, tightly rolled.Most of it was bundled up in little elastics marked in pencil with dates and amounts throughout the mid 1960s to the 1970s. My friend and I had decided to contact the female sibling, who lived a few hours away. It took some time to get through to the family, my friend was nervous….but I was excited, his voice mails to the family member went unanswered, so I took over.


Photographer Finds stash of money in an abandoned house

Photographer Finds stash of money in an abandoned house

Photographer Finds stash of money in an abandoned house

Abandoned House Money Stash
I called, did not block my number and gave my real name, it was very strange to leave this message.A few hours after my message, my phone rang and it was the woman we had been trying to reach, she sounded nervous – and so did I.I started by telling her how odd this must sound and she may not like the story at the start, but to please hear me out!”I am an urban explorer, I am part of a community who finds abandoned houses and takes photos of them, I recently photographed an abandoned house in (town) and I believe it may be your family home”

We qualified the details to ensure I had the right house and the right person, and sure enough – this was her grandparents house where her mom grew up, and she had been to as a child.”So let me get this right, you go into peoples houses, and you take pictures? That is so wrong!!!”I explain “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints” and all that stuff, she eases up and says “okay, so tell me what you found” I tell her of the mattress, she knows the mattress, I tell her of the bag of money, she had no idea and she is in shock.I tell her we didn’t want to leave it there for some kid or vandal to find and to steal, we want to return this money to the family, where it belongs, and she is the only family member we could find. Her demeanor changed, she was apprehensive and nervous and she needed to talk to her husband, I said “you take your time with this, and just let me know.” I also apologized for the situation and I understand her position.


30 minutes later she called back and asked me if we could meet that afternoon at the house, she had looked me up to confirm who I was and she had done some research on Urban Exploring, and she thought it was interesting!! So, it was agreed – she and her husband would meet my friend and I in 4.5 hours at the house, they would stop and get some fresh boards to seal up the house.I told my friend that we should both bring our significant others, that would make the situation much more relaxed and legitimate, instead of two haggard looking dudes showing up to pass off the loot! The meeting time came, I arrived with my girlfriend just as our new friends were unpacking the boards, we were all very nervous!

We went over to the house and we all went inside where she gave us a tour of the home, I showed her where the money was found, she told me who was in the family photos.We went back downstairs and my friend and his wife had arrived, we all exchanged handshakes and made our way outside to our cars, the woman shared some of the history with us and explained why the home is in this state. Her grandparents had died many years ago and willed the land to their kids (the mother of the woman telling the story), then our new friends mother passed away, and willed the land to her kids, there are three of them – one of them standing before us.We gave her the money, every penny (my friend made sure she knew, not a dollar had been held back), she started to cry – overwhelmed by this random act of kindness, and by the emotions she feels being back at this house.
We didn’t pry or ask about family history, we offered a few hugs and just took in the moment. We posed with her for a photo, at her request, and after many many “Thank You” hugs we went on our way.My friend and I (and our partners) went for a coffee to take all this in and talk about it…we all felt great and were happy to have made this decision. We all believed in karma, and there was never a thought that we should keep this money, someone owned this property and there was someone out there who should have it. We were lucky enough to have found that person
We would learn that the woman we had met had vague recollections of her mother and grandmother always collecting any American money that they received. She felt that it was cash that they collected from their fruit stand. How they came into so many American money transfers is a mystery, but judging by the tags on the cash bundles, the collection spanned 15 years.




360 Degree Interactive Photos and Video from This Abandoned House


Click the images below to activate the 360 Interactive photos from the Abandoned Money House




39 thoughts on “House of Treasures”

  1. normajean hainsworth

    Great article! Would love to see more the cambells soup mugs came out late 80s I know I bought a set

  2. I love reading stories like this, about abandoned houses and the way they are left intact for some reason or other. It’s interesting to hear the stories of the families who have lived in these houses and their history with the house and what went on there and why it was abandoned. Some of these stories bring tears to my eyes and others send chills up my spine. Very interesting stuff!!

  3. I’m sorry but I would have had to save Chatty Cathy. Maybe leave a note if the owner showed up, where to find her..

  4. Thank you for sharing this story, the photos are really fascinating. I don’t think there are any places like that in the United Kingdom. If there are they will have been ransacked by vandals Please keep up the urban exploring. Totally fascinating ?

  5. This was a great read! Very cool of y’all to find the owner & give cash! Not many people would do that. 🙂 I always want to go in old abandoned houses but my husband on the other hand… Haha

  6. You are amazing. ..I would live to do a fraction of all u do…I love each thing I read and see…love all the history…even as a child I would go into a old abandon house or barn and think who must have wants lived there…keep up the Great Work….Marla

  7. barbara moeller

    I love old houses and stories behind them. This is a sad story that became a alive kinda. too bad it took cash to get them too care for the property.I save and cherish every thing grandparents and great grand parents left behind.More people should be in to their geneology.

  8. Why would the owner not remove the family photos did she take only the money?.

  9. Would have been really interesting to know of the tragedy that took place… to bring it up and then not tell the story makes you feel like what was the point. Best to just not even mention that anything ever happened smh

  10. Could you tell me the heritage of this family? It looks very much like they are wearing Romanian costumes in the photos.
    I am part of the Romanian Genealogy Society in Minnesota and would like to research the family if it is.
    Our mission is to connect Romanians here and abroad, to fill in family history.

  11. Fabulous story! I would love to know the back story behind the family tragedy, as it obviously impacted the home and it’s inhabitants a great deal. I think your work is fascinating, and I love the idea of people out there exploring abandoned homes, thereby breathing life into them. Keep up the good work, and thanks for opening our eyes to the past in such a compelling way!☺

  12. Sonja Lancaster

    Love stories like this. So much forgotten in the past that shouldn’t be. Would like more.

  13. I live in Manitoba and know a group photographers who go out to capture the lifeless sentinels on the prairies.
    Many homes seem to have been abandoned in the mid eighties…it’s a mystery why so many just seem to have left in the night, taking nothing. Some homes still have vehicles in the garage.
    Wonderful photographs in this collection.

  14. Hello 🙂

    I know you may have heard the same question over & over again ” ! About where do you find these places !” But this is amazing !!

    & one of my dreams & hobbies to do thus stuff & go through houses that are abonded like this ! Id love to take videos & evp sessions & see if i can capture anything ..

  15. This was a sad but touching family story and I appreciate that you chose to do the right thing. Your kindness will come back to you. I love your photos and this website! Thank you for sharing your gift of photography!

  16. You know at one time that house was so pretty. And the people that lived there would have not left it to so call family If they had known what was going to become of their home that they took pride in. After all those years let it just sit and rot. No I would have not gone to all the trouble to locate the owner, to me she just did not care. But sure did care when you talked about money, that got her attention well that was one way to get her to the house. I speak my mind. I would have donated it to a charity. After looking inside that house I would not have felt guilty at all!! So very sad. Shameful

  17. Marilyn Anderson

    Came across this article by accident and was immediately intrigued. I am very happy the heirs of the original owners were found and the money returned. I loved all the photos too.After reading a bit about freaktography I am even more interested in this urban past-time and plan to read more about it and look for more fascinating photos.

  18. So glad there is honesty in the world. You must have felt like a million safeguarding the money and giving it to next of kin. Bless you!!!

  19. Very nice story. Well written and amazing photography too!
    Thank you,
    Love these type of investigations!

  20. I wish I could come and clean this up and give all this stuff a new home, where somebody cares about it. I would also like to know how the story of Ginny in “I was a soldier’s pickup” ended?

  21. I found this so interesting. But I’m anxious to learn more. Gonna do some research and observe their
    Great job guys and yes, you
    re right, Karma !! Nuff said
    Thanks for sharing

  22. bigboburbex

    I have that exact same Campbells mug somewhere in my kitchen cabinets. Gotta find it one of these days.

  23. Cynthia Shepherd

    What a beautiful and kind act….it’s nice to know that in this time and world we live in still contains thoughtful and honest people. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Gloria Barros

    I’m sorry, this was a sentimental journey surely, but so sad. The condition of the home was deplorable, not entertaining. I felt for the family, tho I never knew them. It left me feeling too sad. Only bright spot, you did find money and you did return it.

  25. Edith Trathen

    That’s wonderful. Like lots of people, I am fascinated by abandoned buildings, long-lost items,family history etc. Lucky you!

  26. Bill the Cat

    For Gloria Barros… art is not always entertainment. You want entertainment then watch Golden Girls reruns. Art is about getting a response. You felt sadness. That’s a response so the artist did a good job.

  27. Janet Bothwell

    I always thought that anyone removing things from an abandon home would be cursed. Moral people will be rewarded. Good to know you were brought up right. Thank you for the pictures and story.

  28. A fascinating story.

    But what you did is so rare today, I don’t think you realize how extraordinary your actions are. So few people would do what you did in your situation (the right thing). Find the proper owner and return the money. Amazing.

    You and your friend are truly special. We need people like you running things in this messed up world which is long on words & promises and short on honesty & actions.

    Unfortunately you should never enter politics. Elected sharks devour honest people.

  29. Teresa Cabral

    Love the story and the extraordinary people involved. Melancholy and wonder at the collection of items.. like may others I am impressed by your morals while exploring. Like those curios would like to see happy ending to a sad situation . So my imagination hopes the items in the house get donated for worthy displaying of history. The house repaired if possible if not a livable loving place replaced it. And that happiness happens once again to family or those who take it over. The cheer history deserves a happy ending all around.
    Tess in Texas

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