In Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre, it is revealed that Mr. Rochester kept his first wife hidden in the attic for decades. The “madwoman in the attic” literary device has been used quite a bit since then, but it was shocking when the book was published in 1847. Brontë was inspired by a 16th century home in North Yorkshire, England, called Norton Conyers. There had been rumors about the home in Brontë’s time, which she would have been aware of. And it has an attic. But the house is undergoing a 30-year renovation project. The workers removed the floorboards in the attic, and discovered a secret set of stairs that had been covered over a long time ago. Did someone really keep a family member locked in that attic?
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This is just one of a list of 15 places that have hidden or secret passageways that either have a detailed history behind them or remain a mystery to this day. You can visit most of them. Read about the various reasons people have built secret passageways in their edifices at Messy Nessy Chic.
(Image credit: David Rogers)