As a lifelong resident of Florida, Bob van der Herchen was used to running into all kinds of wild creatures. But it wasn’t until he heard strange noises coming from the attic above his bedroom that he was finally creeped out enough to investigate. Given the sounds, he figured he’d find a big hive of bees up there, but his bee theory wasn’t even remotely close to the sinister creature living just above his head.
At first, married couple Bob and Linda van der Herchen weren’t bothered by the curious sounds they occasionally heard coming from their attic. In fact, the sounds went on for years before Bob and his wife finally decided that things had gone too far.
Now, upon hearing a bizarre noise coming from the vacant space just above your head, you’d think you’d be racing to get the house checked out. But Bob van der Herchen isn’t like most people.
Considering Bob is in the removal business, he’s not skeeved out to get down and dirty with nature’s little pests. He just wasn’t motivated to get down and dirty with the one not paying rent in his attic. He usually works with bees, but Bob’s no exterminator.
Bob owns the Bob van der Herchen Bee Removal & Rescue company, which aims to humanely remove honey bees from people’s properties and relocate them to a safer space. It’s an important job since bees play a vital role in our ecosystem.
In fact, Bob cares so deeply about respecting bees that he’s visited schools to share the story of his company and the importance of bees with eager children. Bob knows bees, and he knew there weren’t any queens or trusty drone bees infesting his attic.
“I didn’t think much of it. I thought maybe it was rats,” the bee expert said when asked about why he never thought to go up into the attic and see for himself. Luckily, there was someone else who was a bit more curious.
Bob and Linda’s son, Adam, was a real worrywart. While his parents leisurely ignored the rustling above their noggins, Adam himself couldn’t take it anymore; especially considering his bedroom was directly underneath the attic.
Tired of letting his own imagination run away with him, Adam knew it was time to get to work on solving this problem. He went to investigate the repetitive commotion, which led him to the utility room. Dun, dun, dun!
While in the utility room, Adam looked above him, having witnessed blurred movement through the old slats of the ceiling. He got a quick peek at the dreaded infiltrator and was shocked. He sure wasn’t expecting a guest of this caliber.
Adam rushed to tell his mother what he saw in the attic, which led her to take the frightening matter to Facebook. Linda posted a status that exclaimed “Home alone? Maybe, maybe not!”
When Bob finally decided to involve himself in this game of Clue, he witnessed the squatter as well, but this time on camera. Needless to say, the footage would’ve given John Carpenter a run for his money.
The van der Herchen family eventually resorted to calling animal control, but by the time an officer arrived to their home, the creature had already ventured far away from the ceiling opening, making the officer’s attempts to retrieve the invader a failure.
Despite the failed capture mission, the Sarasota Animal Control officer saw enough to relay to the van der Herchens that their uninvited guest was, in fact, a giant, potentially dangerous reptile. Gasp!
The officer identified the slithering serpent as a diamondback rattlesnake, whose venom packs an often fatal punch. In the eloquent words of this animal control officer, “That’s a big old boy right there; that guy will kill you.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
If animal control couldn’t snatch the deadly snake, then who could? The van der Herchens even contacted their fearless, daredevil nephew to put him up to the challenge, but his attempts led to defeat as well. That’s when the family had one last idea.
They contacted Mark Lampart, a friend of a friend, via Facebook. Mark is no stranger to fearsome predators, as he’s posed with some of the world’s most dangerous specimens on multiple occasions, making him the right guy for this job!
He took on the mission with full force, dedicating several hours to finding the pesky viper. When he discovered a large piece of dry, shed skin lying around the attic, Mark concluded that the snake was living with the van der Herchens for quite some time.
After what felt like a never-ending battle of Mammalia versus Reptilia, Mark, the snake whisperer, nabbed the snake’s tail and yanked it from the ceiling’s insulation. It turns out that the animal control officer wrongfully identified the culprit.
It was just a Colombian red-tailed boa constrictor. While the reptile is still considered dangerous, it’s not venomous. Boas have sharp fangs, but it’s their bodies that pose a danger. They use their muscles to restrict oxygen intake and blood circulation of other animals.
So how did this big boy get in the van der Herchen attic? Well, younger boas are semi-arboreal, meaning they can climb trees. “Animal control said it got on the roof from tree branches,” Linda disclosed to her Facebook friends.
Thankfully, no one was wounded by the likely escaped exotic pet. If we have anything to say, it’s that the van der Herchens should demand that boa hand over years’ worth of rent! However, they might have to prepare for another infestation in the future. Snakes all over Florida are getting bolder.
In the Sunshine State and in other Southern locales, the dangerous animals make their homes where they shouldn’t, and the they pose a serious threat. That’s why when Tennessee resident Paul Mohlman heard a strange sound coming from his back room, his first fear was that it may have been a reptile of some sort. Unfortunately, he’d soon discover the reality was much more sinister.
Paul Mohlman didn’t always live in the South — he was born in New Jersey. However, after graduating from Rutgers University with a degree in engineering, he packed up and made the big move. He had no idea what awaited him there. And after everything had gone down, he almost wished he’d stayed up North.
On a bright winter morning in the last week of November 2019, Paul was resting when he heard a thud coming from his roommate’s bedroom. “It sounded like something fell. Something heavy,” he said. But his roommate wasn’t home.
Paul was rightly unsettled by this sound, so he got up to investigate. He opened the door to his roommate’s bedroom and cautiously entered, having no idea about the strange sight that awaited him.
Inside the room, he noticed an out-of-place arrangement: there was a pipe that he didn’t recognize laying on the floor. Even more concerning, right beside it was a hole that had been punched straight through to a crawlspace beneath the house.
Now Paul was getting really concerned. His heart racing, he peered through the hole and looked into the crawlspace. He was met with the shock of his life.
Staring back at him from the hole was a single eye! His worst fears had been realized: there was a person down there. “It was a Caucasian dude. He wasn’t wearing a shirt; had no shoes on,” Paul remarked. He started interrogating him.
“What are you doing down there?” he remembers asking him. “Did the landlord call you? Are you here to work on plumbing?” Then the man replied something incoherent and shifted around. He looked like he was trying to hide. Clearly, he was not the plumber.
Frustrated with the lack of response, Paul realized the situation was rapidly escalating. He had to take more serious steps to protect himself and his home. Grabbing his .22 caliber firearm, he informed the man that he was in possession of a gun.
“I let him know that I have a gun,” Paul reflected. “And I said ‘I don’t want to shoot you, but what are you doing?’” He called the police, and they arrived quickly. However, even the authorities had a hard time luring the man out of his hiding place.
Finally, the cops successfully brought the suspect out of the crawlspace. But Paul was surprised: This suspect wasn’t a shirtless white man; he was black and was wearing a shirt, but no pants or shoes.
“At the moment, I sort of forgot about that part and was like, ‘Oh they got the guy. I saw it wrong. They got the guy,’” Paul reported. Soon, he’d be in for an even bigger shock when the man uttered some words that were comprehensible.
The suspect said he’d spilled acid on himself. At first, police were unsure if this was true. But then, outside the house, investigators spotted a pile of random clothes and also a bottle of hydrochloric acid.
Finally, believing the frightening situation had come to a close, Paul went to get a badly needed drink at a nearby bar. He began chatting with the bartender, telling him about the terrifying ordeal. Then, the bartender revealed an anxiety-inducing piece of information.
Paul showed the bartender a photo he’d taken of the man being detained, to which the bartender replied — to Paul’s shock — that he actually recognized the man. He’d seen him hanging around the bar only a night before…but he hadn’t been alone.
To confirm this guy was the same person who’d been sneaking around Paul’s house, the bartender pulled up surveillance footage from that night. The clip showed two people messing around outside the venue: the detained suspect and the white guy he’d seen initially.
All of Paul’s fears from earlier in the traumatic day came rushing back. He hadn’t been wrong before; he should have trusted his instincts. All the alarm bells were raised, and he now had reason to believe that his house hadn’t been cleared of unwanted intruders.
The homeowner phoned the police for the second time that day. Authorities reviewed the surveillance footage for themselves, then returned to Paul’s house to execute a second search. They found the crawlspace, below, to be empty. But this wasn’t the end of the fiasco.
Paul went to sleep, still feeling slightly uneasy but still having faith that the officials had done their jobs. Hours later, he woke up feeling unusually cold and went to check out the wires controlling the house’s heat.
To his shock and dismay, he found that the men had cut the wires. He called for emergency repairs in the middle of the night but chose not to file a police report. He didn’t think the men belonged in jail, but rather, needed psychiatric help.
Police confirmed that the black suspect had been sent to UT Medical Center as a result of his “erratic and unstable” behavior, while the search continued for the white suspect. Still a little unnerved, Paul felt good about the situation.
The could have easily escalated to deadly violence had Paul not been careful. Horror stories from those who’d acted rashly when they believed there was an intruder in their home left him feeling grateful he reacted the way he did.