The #1 Creepiest Basement in America

Between my career as an architectural historian, and my former career as a Realtor and landlord, not much surprises me these days.

Until Spring of 2008, that is, when I toured this beautiful custom-built Sears Home in an unnamed city.

The house was built by a prominent dentist in the early 1930s, and looking at the house from the outside, you’d never know that there was a home office in the basement of the house. When he passed on in the 1960s, his wife couldn’t bring herself to get rid of all the “stuff down there,” so it  became a monument of sorts.

As the owner of 3,297 amalgam fillings and two root canals (and the former owner of two now-absent teeth), me and my remaining teeth winced when I entered “The Home Office.”

Updated: I recently saw a television program that featured “antiquated dental equipment” and it showed this same exact set-up, with the scalloped edges on the old dental trays. Surprisingly, they dated it from “the mid-1910s.” So this equipment was – as I suspected – pretty darn old!


There's so much going on here, I'm not sure where to start. The toaster oven on the desk is rather interesting. I wonder if that was used as a low-budget autoclave, or maybe Dr. Payne warmed up his frozen toaster strudel while waiting for the ether to take effect? There was some serious spooky karma in this basement. I have been known to ask my dentist, "How many people have perished whilst sitting in this very chair?" Looking at this rig, I wouldn't dare ask such a thing.


I never understood the rationale behind these lacy ceramic trays. It's reminiscent of an afternoon tea table at your elderly Aunt's house, but you know nothing sweet or pretty or delicate was going on here on these lacy trays.


Interesting color choices, eh? The bowl is "spittoon brown" and the frame is "tetanus turquoise."


If I saw a movie poster with this image plastered on it, I know that'd be one movie that I would NOT be watching. And I darn well know that if I walked into a dentist's office that looked like this, I'd decline that fellow's professional services. And then I'd run like hell.

Now just lean back and relax and open wide.  NOT.

Now just lean back and relax and open wide. NOT.

To learn about Sears Homes that don’t have creepy basements, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

To read something wonderful, click here.

*   *  *


  1. Richard

    As the Spider said to the Fly, come in to my Parlor…. That is a creepy place to do Dental Work.