Renter Says Her ‘Heart Sank’ After Returning Home to Find Her Attic Door Mysteriously Open: ‘There Is Someone in My House’ (Exclusive)

“My mind instantly went to the worst-case scenario,” Annaliese Potter tells PEOPLE of the scary incident

<p>Courtesy of Annaliese Potter</p> Annaliese Potter captured a photo of her attic door mysteriously open after returning home from a night away

Courtesy of Annaliese Potter

Annaliese Potter captured a photo of her attic door mysteriously open after returning home from a night away

A renter found herself in what seemed like a scene straight out of a horror movie after she returned home and discovered her attic door was mysteriously open.

Annaliese Potter, 31, told PEOPLE that her “heart sank” when she came home after a night away to find the door ajar in April. Her retelling of the incident later caused a buzz on Reddit as commenters immediately jumped to the conclusion that someone might be living in her house without her knowing.

Potter, who is based in England and lives alone, recalls making the discovery and considering the possibility that a stranger could actually be in her home.

“The slight difference caught my eye immediately,” she tells PEOPLE of the open door. “My mind instantly went to the worst-case scenario and I thought, 'There is someone in my house.' Looking up from the foot of the stairs, my heart sank.”

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“It was one of those days where all you want is to come home, be alone and relax — and to discover this was not on my evening schedule,” she continues.

Comments like, “The guy living in your kitchen cabinets decided to get away for the night too,” had Potter questioning if she really could be oblivious to someone secretly camping out in her space. Others claimed that a similar nightmare scenario was actually a reality for them.

One user wrote: “Hello, this happened to me once. I rented a house, lived in it for 8 months with the previous tenant living in the attic. I’m hearing impaired (<30%) so I guess he got lucky for long enough until I came home to pretty much exactly your picture. Called cops, found his nest, all good since.”

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<p>Getty</p> Stock photo of someone climbing up to an attic


Stock photo of someone climbing up to an attic

After reading the comments, Potter says she started to look at the situation more seriously.

“The first comment I read which mentioned someone living up there — I dismissed the idea. How could someone be up there? I'd surely hear them? That only happens in films? But the more I read where others talked about their experiences, I did begin to feel a sense of dread.”

Reading comments about others discovering unknown tenants in their homes especially filled her with “unease,” she adds.

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<p>Courtesy of Annaliese Potter</p> Potter's open attic door

Courtesy of Annaliese Potter

Potter's open attic door

The renter says she considered calling the police or even investigating herself, which she admits may have been “foolish” of her. She ended up calling her brother to take a look, and while he didn’t find a person up there, he did stumble upon an object that Potter was not aware of.

“My brother showed me photos he took and there was a solitary, long-abandoned computer chair up there,” she recalls. The two eventually came to the conclusion that it was likely the wind that was to blame for the open door.

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Despite being frightened, Potter says there is a silver lining from the whole ordeal.

“I think some good has come from all this,” she tells PEOPLE. “The Reddit comments made me really reconsider being blasé about my personal safety and assuming bad things only happen to other people. I'm ultimately responsible for my own safety and next time I won't be so nonchalant.”

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