Roofing is already a fairly scary occupation with the inherent risks involved, but sometimes, that fright factor is turned up a notch.
Sometimes it’s a weird, mysterious object crashing through a roof, and other times people find uninvited guests on their roofs. In honor of Halloween, RC took a look at some of the scary things roofing contractors and others have encountered on roofs.
1. Bat Colony in Hearst Castle
In late 2015, BEST Contracting Services in California tackled what seemed to be a fairly straightforward reroofing of the Hearst Castle in San Luis Obispo County. The job consisted of 150 squares of tile and 25 squares of BUR. What crews didn’t count on was finding a colony of bats living in the existing roof tiles. To make matters worse, it was close to bat maternity season.
BEST Contracting got in touch with H.T. Harvey, a company specializing in wildlife ecology, and used ultrasonic devices to deter the bats from returning.
2. Python on Roof
It’s one thing to make a surprise discovery of animals nesting in a roof, but it’s another to see an 18-foot python slithering across some shingles.
In April 2019, crowds of people in Detroit gathered near a home where a reticulated python somehow made its way onto the roof of a garage. The owner of the snake, who said it was an 8-year-old python named Juliet, came back from work and climbed onto the roof to retrieve his pet.
The owner admitted he must not have locked the snake’s cage properly, but stressed it wouldn’t intentionally hurt anyone and that it wasn’t venomous.
3. Explosives in the Attic
Inspections are fairly routine for roofing contractors, both inside the home and out. What probably isn’t in a roofing contractor’s rulebook for inspections, however, is dealing with potentially live explosives.
According to Spectrum News, in August 2020, a roofing contractor in Rochester, N.Y. came upon what they believed to be a military mortar round in a homeowner’s attic. Police were called to the scene and the explosive was moved to the backyard. Eventually, personnel from Fort Drum were called to the scene help relocate the mortar.
4. Honeybee Nest in U.K. Roof
In another creepy, crawly discovery made by roofing contractors, roofers working in West Yorkshire, England to replace the aging roof tiles on the Elland Library made a startling discovery. Located under the roof was a massive honeybee nest, estimated to contain 45,000 to 50,000 bees.
Experts were called in to help remove the bees and the hive itself. In all, the hive took up a 10-foot by 4-foot space in the roof, and beekeepers spent seven hours removing the bees along with 110 pounds of honey and comb.
“The removal process wasn’t an easy task, as the bees clearly felt at home in Elland Library, but I’m pleased they’re now safely rehomed in hives in Norland,” said Calderdale Council’s Leader, Councilor Tim Swift.
5. Creepy Door Leading to Roof
Back in February 2020, what began as a simple photo posted on Facebook by a mom in Australia turned into a viral post that creeped out whoever saw it.
According to a story from News.com.au, the mother posted a picture of a strange wooden door in the middle of a wall in her daughter’s new bedroom. In the post, she asked for ideas for how to cover it up. Instead, people responded to say the door freaked them out and urged the mother to move out. One of the commenters even said, “That’s straight out of something from a horror film. I’d lock that room up and run away.”
The mother eventually explained that the disturbing door leads to the roof above the bedroom, kitchen and dining room in the split-level home. More level-headed people suggested wall hangings or painting the door.
BONUS: The Legend of the Spring-heeled Jack
There aren’t many urban legends or strange creatures (known as cryptids) surrounding roofs, but there is one that made the rounds in Victorian-era Great Britain: the Spring-heeled Jack.
Described as a tall man with a demon-like appearance, including clawed hands and glowing red eyes, he was said to have the inhuman ability to leap from rooftop to rooftop and even over small buildings with ease. The first sighting took place in October 1837 when a woman claimed a strange figure leapt at her from an alley and attacked her.
In 1855, he was reportedly seen in Black Country leaping from the roof of an inn to the roof of a butcher’s shop. In 1888, people in Liverpool claimed to see him on the rooftop of Saint Francis Xavier’s Church. The last known sightings occurred in 1904.