After Samantha Hartsoe stumbled upon an entire three-bedroom apartment hidden behind the bathroom mirror in her own New York home, she chose to ignore the lessons of any good horror film – and explore further.
“Curiosity killed the cat, curiosity is going to kill me,” the Roosevelt Island resident told NBC New York. “I can’t not know what’s on the other side of my bathroom.”
Hartsoe’s adventure, which took place earlier this month, was outlandish even in New York’s notorious housing market, where real-estate horror stories are almost a badge of honor. The 26-year-old documented the ordeal online and millions tuned in, offering comparisons to films such as Parasite and Candyman.
In a series of now viral TikTok videos, Hartsoe first notices a cold draft in her bathroom, strong enough to blow wisps of her hair. Then she looks behind her mirror, revealing the concealed apartment.
Shocked, she nonetheless straps on a makeshift headlamp and mask, arms herself with a hammer – “Mean it when you swing it,” her roommate says – and climbs through the hole in her bathroom wall.
A disclaimer on the video warns that such actions “could result in serious injury” – but Hartsoe reaches the ground unscathed.
“You’re in the other side of the dimension!” her roommate tells her. “Go onward.”
Inside the hair-raising secret space, Hartsoe finds open windows and a heap of trash bags. She also discovers an empty water bottle, which she calls a “sign of life”.
Prowling the dark rooms, she whispers: “What’s wrong with me?”
“I was kind of expecting there to be somebody, especially with the water bottle being there,” she told New York magazine. “And that definitely put me on edge.”
But after a thorough investigation she decided that ripped-up floors, exposed piping and the lack of a toilet or bathtub made the space uninhabitable.
The presence of the apartment remains shrouded in mystery. Hartsoe sê even her building managers do not fully understand.
Vir nou, she is steering clear of her bathroom as much as possible, while attributing at least part of the mass appeal of her video to the attentions of New Yorkers who can only dream of finding more square footage behind their bathroom walls.
“I think everybody in New York has such small apartments, you don’t know what you’re going to find," sy het gese. “And everyone’s hoping for more space.”