Sunday, October 24, 2010

Buyer beware – part 1

Ahh, late October, that means Halloween is fast approaching.  Or at least it does back in the States - here in Australia we don’t bother with that annual festival of costumes and confectionary, try as the supermarkets might to convince us that we should.  Here, October is Spring and is the start of the busiest time for the real-estate market: the sunny weather makes even a dump look good, and weather that’s neither hot nor cold mean people don’t notice that the house is poorly built.

Putting those two ideas together, here’s a trio of houses that had a little surprise for their new owners.

First, we travel to Shropshire, UK, where after a few drinks a family decided to start exploring some more of their house.  Their 20 year old son lifts a grate in the floor and climbs in to see what he can see.

The unassuming house, photos via newslite

And under there he finds that the entire house was built on top of an earlier structure: a hall that dates back to the 1700s and may have been a clandestine church.

What lies beneath, photo via newslite

The hall was empty apart from some piles of old newspapers and wine bottles, and what appeared to be a wooden crucifix lying on the floor.  And as surprising as that was:

… that was nothing compared the the shock the rest of the family got when he followed a staircase in the chapel and came out of a cupboard in the dining room.

A hidden church and a secret passage, I suppose in real-estate speak that would be a “bonus room”.  It’s Rats in the walls all over again.

The comments on the article mention that this isn’t unheard of across the UK and that at various times in their history it’s been illegal, or at least dangerous, to be a Catholic or a Protestant (depending on who was in charge), or to be Irish, or to learn to speak Gaelic.  So secret churches, meeting halls, or schools were built across the British isles, and priests or teachers would travel from town to town in disguise.

That sounds like an interesting scenario for a game, the characters are part of an underground religious (or political) group, travelling from place to place representing their faith in a land dominated by some oppressive regime.

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