A house may just be a building, but a home is so much more. Nobody knows this better than one real estate agent duo in Canada. Still, when they received some perplexing details about this curious Toronto house, they were skeptical it was something anyone could ever call home — until they heard the owner’s story…

In November of 2018, a real estate agent received a call from an elderly woman who asked for help selling her house. When they heard where the house was located, they jumped at the opportunity. But then she told them something else…

The house hadn’t been touched since 1972! The 96-year-old Canadian woman told the real estate agents that nobody had remodeled or updated it in decades, so the realtors weren’t quite sure what to expect once they finally got inside.

The woman, who introduced herself as Joyce, lived on 148 Jane Street in the Old Mill neighborhood, a beautiful, peaceful area not far from Toronto. The team of Gladys and Carla Spizzirri had sold houses there in the past for quite a hefty price — and thus a hefty commission.

However, when they first took a look at the front of the house, the women reacted with skepticism. It seemed like a plain, suburban home that, if in good condition, could be worth an average amount of money. The key words being IF in good condition.

The ladies walked around the side of the house to take a look at the backyard, which was covered in snow and ice at the time. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but the Spizzirri sisters were still wondering what Joyce was hiding inside.

Naturally, Gladys and Carla suspected that an old woman living alone would not be able to keep up a house. If she didn’t repaint, fix plumbing issues, order pest control, or even clean, the interior of the house would surely be a disaster.

Another theory that the realtors came up with was that Joyce might be a hoarder. Why hadn’t she updated her house in so long, even when she was younger? Could it be because it was filled to the brim with old garbage?

Joyce assured them that no such thing would be found inside her lovely home and that the ladies would understand what she meant when they came to view the house’s interior. Finally, their love for the Old Mill neighborhood and their desire to help this woman won them over.

A few days later, Gladys and Carla came over to visit Joyce’s home as planned, and when they walked through the door and glanced around the hallway, their jaws nearly dropped to the floor.

The entire house was preserved exactly in the style of the 1950s! In fact, at the time Joyce had given it her own personal touch with pastel pinks, blues, and greens, antique white furniture, elegant wallpaper, and golden decorations.

Every room reminded Gladys and Carla of a vintage Barbie dream house, in the best way possible. It felt like each and every room was competing with the others to tell every visitor, “See, I look even better than the living room.”

A 1950s house wouldn’t be complete without a bachelor-pad-style basement, complete with a bar and a fireplace for the chilly Canadian winters. This was the only area not completely pastel-colored, as it was meant as a place to relax for Joyce’s late husband.

The home contains three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a breakfast nook, a kitchen a laundry room in the basement, and, of course, the previously mentioned bar area. It’s hard to believe all that could fit in the home, but perhaps it had a touch of magic to it.

The reason why the house was styled to a T was that Joyce was actually a seamstress who already had an eye for design when it came to clothing and linen. She had always wanted to dabble in interior decoration as well. “I’ve always tried to be individual, and follow my own styles,” she said.

“I like soft colors, and I like things to match and flow well together,” she said. “I prefer tone-to-tone to bright colors.” Her taste was obvious: she gave her house an elegant and yet calm and friendly look, with pink, blue, and turquoise themes downstairs and purple and lilac themes upstairs.

You won’t find any modern appliances, furniture, or decor pieces anywhere in the house. The only room that was once updated was the kitchen, but that was still in the 1970s to adjust the space to new appliances that made cooking a little easier.

Unfortunately for those interested in buying the house, it wouldn’t come with its priceless furniture. While the wallpaper, lamps, bathroom and kitchen details remained, valuable and wonderful pieces like the breakfast nook set stayed in the family, as Joyce’s daughter asked to keep them.

And with a little sun, even the backyard has a ’50s theme, complete with swan statues and astroturf. Since Joyce didn’t spend much time in the yard due to her age, it is the only part of the house that looks a bit plain.

While Joyce was sad to sell the house that she has lived in for 72 years and trade it in for a retirement community, she spent many happy years there and hoped that the next owners would too — and that they will at least keep some of her original themes!

Dozens of potential buyers have stood in awe at 148 Jane Street, relishing in the magical work Joyce had put in all those years. A place preserved in time like this is truly priceless, however, sometimes historic homes don’t always have such a happy history…

Madame de Florian was just 23 years old when the Nazis marched on Paris in 1939. She was forced to flee her flat in Paris immediately to seek safety in the south. In her haste, she packed nothing but the clothes on her back and a small purse.

The city was mobilizing for war after the Germans invaded Poland. While the war still seemed far away at this point in September, only months later on June 14th, 1940, Germans officially occupied Paris.


The young expatriate made her new home in the free zone, outside of Nazi-occupied France. Even after the war had ended, Madame de Florian never returned to her old apartment.


It wasn’t until her death in 2010 that her family discovered that she had still been paying rent on the apartment her entire life. An auctioneer, Olivier Choppin-Janvry, was sent to inventory her abandoned home, and what he found was beyond their wildest dreams.


Even decades of dust and neglect couldn’t dull what they found inside the apartment. As they turned the key to the front door for the first time since 1939, they were greeted with priceless art and precious relics offering a very rare glimpse into the past.


Madame de Florian’s vanity mirror still awaited her, complete with lotions and potions of all sorts. The layer of dust almost seemed like a silk screen over this home that felt so very lived in.

A vintage Mickey Mouse keeps Porky Pig company in one corner, waiting for a child to come play with them once more. A curious insight into Madame de Florian’s personal life. She had no children of her own at this time, so who were these toys for?


This stunning Belle Epoque-era painting of Madame de Florian’s mother Marthe was painted by the Italian legend Giovanni Boldini who lived and worked in Paris for most of his career. He was famous for his flowing style of portrait paintings.

The painting of Marthe ended up selling for $3.4 million at auction. A juicy revelation emerged that the two had been lovers before the war. This new belief only strengthened interest in the piece.

The entire apartment is a step into a time capsule— a lovely and tragic monument to a bygone era. It’s only such a shame that the war destroyed so much of it, but because of the war, there are hidden treasures like this all over France that are still being discovered.

Florian Michaud is an urban explorer from Paris, France who loves finding and photographing abandoned and run-down old buildings from France’s long and interesting past.

war-1Facebook / Florian Michaud

One of his most recent finds was a derelict old mansion that was still filled with remnants of the previous owner, who appears to have been a military fanatic and collector of old war artifacts and memorabilia!

war-2Facebook / Florian Michaud

Florian has not divulged the exact location of the mansion for two reasons. The first is that he puts a great deal of time into finding places other explorers haven’t found. The second is that he wants to make sure the mansion stays preserved in its current state.

war-3Facebook / Florian Michaud

This memorabilia-filled mansion is the ultimate find for urban explorers like Florian because it looks as if the previous owners simply vanished. It freezes their possessions and living area in time, whereas most abandoned buildings simply lay empty.

Florian just happened to stumble upon the old chateau when he was investigating another property, and luckily he had his Nikon-D750 on hand to get some marvelous snapshots of the old place!

war-5Facebook / Florian Michaud

Inside, Florian found shelves upon shelves of books containing works of classical literature as well as many volumes of military histories, war memoirs, and other similarly-themed tomes.

war-6Facebook / Florian Michaud

On the walls of the once stately living room hung flags from all over the world, especially from colonies and protectorates of the British Empire, and on the table sat a dusty old globe surrounded by history books.

war-7Facebook / Florian Michaud

While most of the flags were British, including one from the Royal Navy, on one wall there was a United States flag containing far fewer than fifty stars, meaning it probably dated to sometime around the turn of the 20th century!

war-9Facebook / Florian Michaud

The living room had plenty of impressive antique furniture, portraits, and other artworks, but the find that blew Florian’s mind the most was the giant 19th-century cannon sitting in the corner!

war-8Facebook / Florian Michaud

The cannon almost looks quaint today, in an era marked by high-tech warfare like machine guns and unmanned drones, but in its time, it was undoubtedly both a well-crafted piece of machinery and a highly deadly weapon.

war-10Facebook / Florian Michaud

Florian also photographed the mansion’s giant bedrooms, where curtains still hung over the windows and ornate quilts still laid on the bed. In one of them an empty violin case sat on the bed as if someone had just taken out the instrument to play.

war-11Facebook / Florian Michaud

In another room, a display cabinet held a very old crown, as well as other ornately decorated items. Florian wondered whether these pieces might give some hint about the lineage of the mansion’s original occupants…

war-12Facebook / Florian Michaud

The mansion also contained a billiards room, complete with a roulette wheel and a pool table! Additionally, there was a very old map laying on the pool table, a torn map on the wall, and even more maps scattered on the ground…

One of the more eerie items that Florian found in the chateau was an antique clock enclosed in a glass case. Its hands had stopped moving just past 12, as if at that exact moment, time had frozen in the old house.

war-14Facebook / Florian Michaud

One of the more remarkable aspects of the chateau was a mural painted on the wall that was extraordinarily well-preserved. Strangely enough, the mural features people in Renaissance-era dress, though what precisely it depicts is still a mystery.

war-15Facebook / Florian Michaud

Even more mysterious might be the hollowed-out book Florian found in one room. Inside a compartment carved into the pages, there was a contraption made of wood and wires. He didn’t dare touch it for fear of some unintended consequence…

war-16Florian Michaud

Florian’s photographs certainly give the impression that the property has been abandoned for a number of years, but that hasn’t stopped many on the internet, even other urban explorers, from accusing him of staging the photos.

war-17Facebook / Florian Michaud

To many, the lack of debris or evidence of animals living in the abandoned place are a red flag, and others argue that the placement of many items in his pictures is just a little too perfect to be real.

war-18Facebook / Florian Michaud

Florian hasn’t responded directly to any of these criticisms, but he insists that it’s his extensive research and persistence that allows him to find the remarkable abandoned buildings that other urban explorers miss.

war-19Facebook / Florian Michaud

Describing the thrill he gets from finding a perfectly preserved building like this old chateau, he says: “It vibrates with something powerful and out of the ordinary that triggers in me an overwhelming flow of creative ideas and awakens an urge to simply catch the moment.”

Apartments and mansions are cool and all, but this abandoned castle outside of Paris really takes the cake! The stunning castle, named Château de la Mothe-Chandeniers, was built around 1400 as a citadel for the Baucay family. Since then, it’s had several owners.


The castle was captured twice by the British, who used it for extravagant parties, toward the end of the Middle Ages. Can you even imagine being invited to a party at a castle that looks like it’s straight for a Disney movie?


Unfortunately, the castle was destroyed during the French Revolution; in 1809, but not too long after, wealthy French entrepreneur Francois Hennecart purchased it and began restoring it.


Sadly, in 1932, its then-owner inadvertently started a fire while installing central heat. Rare books, furniture, and paintings all perished, and the castle has been empty ever since.


There have been attempts to restore it, but none have lasted very long. The castle is clearly massive and it would take more than a small fortune to bring it up to modern living standards.


Today the castle has a somewhat eerie feeling to it as trees and other vegetation have taken up residence. In its current condition, the only one fit to live here would be Dracula himself. Apparently, he’s more of a Transylvania type…


Still, the castle remains as hauntingly beautiful as ever… much like the perfect setting for a story. Here’s the chapel. Just take a look at the incredible detail of the stained glass windows!


The castle boasts many extravagant features that modern architects don’t take the time to invest in nowadays. Take for example this elaborate spiral staircase. The entire thing is hand-carved out of stone.

Admittedly, some parts of the castle have seen better days but thankfully, an association has formed to help preserve the castle and eventually begin its restoration. Here’s hoping that one day it’s restored to its former glory!


It’s unbelievable to think that a place like this could just be sitting there! Come on, rich people of the world, forget couture, pool some money together and get this place fixed up so we can visit! It’s almost as magnificent as a seaside mansion that’s been preserved for decades…

The front gate, however, tells a different story: one of seclusion. But as you continue along the asphalt-paved drive and into the heart of the compound, you’ll soon come upon an incredible sight…

Leslie Spanger / EmptyMansionsBook.com

Bellosguardo. Named for the Italian-style villa that originally stood on the grounds, the property was purchased by Montana senator and copper magnate William A. Clark in 1923 for a cool $300,000 (equal to around $4 million today). Sadly, he wouldn’t get to enjoy Bellosguardo for long.

John L. Wiley / EmptyMansionsBook.com

Senator Clark died in 1925, the same year the great Santa Barbara earthquake ravaged the area and damaged the home. Clark’s widow, Anna, took it upon herself to rebuild, and in 1933 she completed the 22,000-square-foot French-style mansion that sits on the grounds today.

Paul Wellman / Santa Barbara Independent

Bellosguardo became a summer home for the Clarks, and during the Great Depression, it kept hundreds of housekeepers, gardeners, cooks, craftsman, and other service workers employed. The estate was a world in and of itself — unfortunately, this paradise wouldn’t last.

Empty Mansions

In 1951, the Clarks left Bellosguardo to visit some of the other estates their fabulous wealth had afforded them. Workers continued to maintain the property per Anna’s orders, though as weeks turned to months, and months into years, it was clear the family had no intention of returning to the compound.

Empty Mansions

Anna died in 1963, leaving Bellosguardo to her only living child, Huguette. Despite never venturing back to the Santa Barbara estate before her own death in 2011, Huguette gave two orders to the remaining Bellosguardo staff: keep everything in first-class condition and make no changes — they followed these instructions to the letter.

For sixty years, everything in the house has remained exactly as it was back in 1951. The oak floors remain polished and clutter-free, and you’d be hard-pressed to find even one of the home’s hundreds of priceless light fixtures without fresh, working bulbs.

Paul Wellman / Santa Barbara Independent

The various paintings that adorn Bellosguardo are also pristine, with years of intense care rendering them free of fading and almost freshly painted in appearance. This portrait depicts Anna Clark, the original force behind the estate’ preservation.

Estate of Huguette Clark / EmptyMansionsBook.com

Bellosguardo is still fully furnished, though most of the armchairs and couches are covered to preserve the nearly 100-year-old wood and fabric beneath. Housekeepers regularly dust every inch of the home, including each page of the hundreds of books that line the walls of Bellosguardo’s many studies.

Paul Wellman / Santa Barbara Independent

A number of the rooms boast exquisitely intricate wood paneling, an inclusion that made the 3,000-mile journey from New York to Santa Barbara along with the Clarks. These accents were actually once part of the family’s Manhattan mansion and were shipped cross-country after they demolished their former home in 1925.

Paul Wellman / Santa Barbara Independent

And the Clarks weren’t above a little leisure time. Their music room features twin Steinway pianos and a pair of French pedal harps, and throughout the home you can find a number of gaming tables primed for rounds of bridge or chess.

CC Pulitzer-Lemann / Jeanne Anderson

To reach the various bedrooms that make up a fraction of Bellosguardo’s 27 main rooms, a beautiful wooden staircase ascends from the heart of the mansion’s ground level. There are nine bedrooms in total: six for the Clarks, and three smaller ones for servants.

Paul Wellman / Santa Barbara Independent

Bellosguardo also boasts a number of opulent bathrooms, each featuring fine stone and golden accents. This one even includes a bathtub carved from a single slab of marble.

CC Pulitzer-Lemann / Jeanne Anderson

Exiting into the backyard, a small decorative pool extends out into a maze of pruned trees and ornamental hedges. Beyond that, the 23-acres of property butts up against the California coastline, stretching for more than 1,000 feet along sun-kissed, sandy shores.

The Ebbin Group / Facebook

The grounds also feature Bellosguardos’ original carriage house, which still holds the many luxury vehicles that once serviced the Clarks. In addition to being in mint condition, all of the cars still bear their original 1949 license plates.

Estate of Huguette Clark / EmptyMansionsBook.com

Lastly, at the rear of the property sits Andrée’s Cottage, named for Huguette’s older sister who died of meningitis in 1919. The cottage serves as a memorial to Andrée, as do the handful of paintings of her hung throughout the main house.

Estate of Huguette Clark / EmptyMansionsBook.com

All told the estate is valued at a whopping $85 million, though even in the months leading up to her death, Huguette never once considered selling it. That’s because in her will, the 104-year-old heiress made a special stipulation concerning the fate of Bellosguardo.

Merryl Brown Events

Under the Bellosguardo Foundation, the estate is now in the process of being transformed into a cultural center for the arts. And according to their website, the foundation already has some big plans for the future of the former Clark compound.

Merryl Brown Events

“Be it coming up to enjoy a family picnic by the rose garden, delve into the estate’s history, view art from institutions around the world, or take in a jazz recital on the lawn, Bellosguardo will become a new home for art, music, history, and culture on the California coast.”

Empty Mansions

Of course, not all century-old structures are so lucky as to find new life as high-society culture clubs. So when it comes time to uncover the secrets concealed by these crumbling abodes, that’s when you call in the urbexers.

“Urbexing” — short for “urban exploration” — is a trend that has grown popular on video-sharing sites such as YouTube and Facebook in recent years. But while many urbexers have generated a respectable number of views, UK adventurer Dan Dixon has taken the cake.

Exploring with Fighters / Instagram

In January of 2017, Dixon and his friends started an urban exploration channel on YouTube called Exploring with Fighters and have since accumulated a massive following. In fact, in just a year and a half, they’ve accumulated nearly ten million channel views.

Exploring with Fighters YT Channel / Facebook

Dixon and the Fighters have explored the abandoned ruins of places like hotels, factories, caves, and even theme parks. But with such captivating adventures under his belt, Dixon still wanted to push the boundaries. He wanted to do something big

Exploring with Fighters YT Channel / Facebook

That’s why in late September of 2017, Dixon decided to go on a very special mission. Hopping on a 4 AM train, the group traveled to Oxfordshire, England to go on the exploration of a lifetime.

The location in question was Hook End Manor, a derelict mansion located in the wealthy hamlet of Gallowstree Common. While a number of big-name Brits have ties to the manor, the most notable former owner was Pink Floyd guitarist and vocalist David Gilmour.


For Pink Floyd fans, this estate could easily be considered sacred ground. Not only did the band cut part of their 1987 album A Momentary Lapse of Judgment in the mansion’s studio, but Gilmour also kept the giant inflatable pig used to promote the band’s album Animals on the grounds.

ABC Inflatables

When Dixon and his team first set foot on Hook End’s 25 acres, they were immediately overcome with both fear and awe at the sight of the mansion’s magnificent decay. But as they stepped through the front door they couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

Everywhere they looked, thick cobwebs hung in every corner, crack, and crevice. Talking aloud, Dixon guessed that the place probably hadn’t been touched — let alone cleaned — in at least ten years.

Exploring with Fighters / YouTube

Despite the spiders, the house itself appeared to be in relatively good shape. With nearly every inch of the place covered in wood paneling and marble accents, it was clear that whoever had it built paid a pretty penny to do so.

As they explored the manor, Dixon and his team came upon a snooker table that was already re-racked, ready for its next game. It was as if the entire place had simply frozen in time.

Exploring with Fighters / YouTube

Even the kitchen was untouched, the manor’s valuable china was still proudly displayed on the wall beneath a layer of dust. Dixon joked that a zombie apocalypse must have occurred, as no one in their right mind would willingly leave such a valuable collection behind.

Exploring with Fighters / YouTube

Upstairs, another snooker table sat in the middle of a playroom plastered with expensive-looking children’s wallpaper. Toys lay scattered in front of the toy closet as if the child playing had left in a hurry…or was planning to come back.

Exploring with Fighters / YouTube

Even stranger, the mansion’s main bathroom featured two toilets and an eerie green washroom. But nothing Dixon and his team had seen prepared them for what they’d find in the basement.

Trevbish Photography

Placed in one of the far reaches of the cellar was a headstone for a seven-year-old boy known only as “Little Jack,” who died in April of 1909. Officially creeped out, the explorers ran out of the basement.

Exploring with Fighters / YouTube

As he wrapped up the video, Dixon couldn’t get over the fact that someone had simply abandoned such a beautiful home… or the grave that was waiting in the basement.

After posting the video, Dixon and his crew received backlash over trespassing in a home that was still technically owned. Thankfully, though, Dixon explained that criminal trespassing is nonexistent in the UK and that any legal action brought against them would be civil, likely resulting in a small fine.

Legal Beagle

Despite the initial response, Exploring with Fighter’s newest video began circulating the web and has since racked up nearly 500k views. The vast majority of the comments on the video are positive ones, with users praising the exploration and sharing such an incredible find.

Exploring with Fighters / YouTube

Several weeks later, Dixon and the Fighters released a follow-up to their Hook End Manor video and shared some shocking news. Apparently, they had returned to the mansion a second time to find several cars parked outside as well as lights on inside the house.

Exploring with Fighters / YouTube

“[The owner] seemed pretty angry at first, but said he’s got nothing against the hobby,” Dixon relayed in his follow-up. “Maybe this has prompted whoever owned it to move back into the property, but it’s definitely not abandoned anymore.”

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