By Amanda Thomason February 24, 2022 at 3:08pm
Most people are captivated by the idea of secret passageways, hidden rooms and other quirky surprises that an otherwise standard house might hold.
Some people like the idea so much that they create rooms accessible by bookcases that function as doors or turn attics or basements into cozy offices or reading nooks.
One family recently discovered a small hideaway after purchasing a home in Old Dominion, near Harrisonburg, Virginia, according to Newsweek.
The parents and daughter moved from Washington, and while they were waiting for all their earthly possessions to arrive, they started preparing the house — which is when they spotted something odd.
Mom filmed what happened next and shared it on TikTok.
“We just moved from Washington state to Virginia into this house, and this is my daughter’s bedroom, and she was in here, looking around, and noticed this latch,” the mom, whose handle is @labrathoodz, said in the video.
The room had a triangular bookcase set into the wall, painted white to match the baseboard and trim. But at the bottom of the baseboard, there was a latch — barely visible, but definitely there.
As they continued to look at the built-in bookcase, they realized there were seamlines all around one segment, and dad was able to wiggle that section out from the wall.
Behind it was a short passageway leading to a low, unfinished, triangular space with wooden flooring that the family has referred to as the “Hidden Coraline Room” — after the movie “Coraline.” There was also a light bulb and a drawer on the inside of the passageway that contained its own secrets.
In the drawer was a small box that contained several coins, including some with real gold and silver.
The video went viral and was viewed over 6.4 million times, with some viewers claiming the whole find was a setup.
“We’re aware of some people thinking that this was staged but it’s really just a cool find and we were happy to share it with everyone!” labrathoodz shared in late January. “We’re going to contact the owners to return the coins.”
One of the people who saw the video was the son of the next door neighbor, who happened to know a bit about the house’s history and reached out to the newcomers.
In an update video from Feb. 11, labrathoodz shared the cryptic text message they received.
“By now y’all have realized that you chose correctly when you moved here from Washington,” the text read. “I honestly thought it would take a bit longer to find the hidden entrance to Narnia.”
After speaking with the neighbor, they learned that one of the previous owners had been from South Africa and that he’d been given the gold coin they’d found as a gift from a family member.
The previous owners also had intended to finish out the secret room as a hangout or reading spot for their daughters but didn’t end up getting around to it.
Thanks to the neighbor, the family was able to contact the former owner and return the keepsake coins. Labrathoodz also said her daughter didn’t feel comfortable staying in that room, but perhaps with time they will find a unique and fun way to finish the space.