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Top 10 Craziest Hoarding: Buried Alive Episodes

VO: Lisa Yang WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
Ready for some crazy hoarding stories? Be prepared to be disgusted. For this list, we’re looking at the wildest episodes of TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive”, either because the people featured had some of the worst clutter in the show’s run, something crazy happened in the episode, or both.
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Top 10 Craziest “Hoarding: Buried Alive” Episodes

Letting go may be hard, but some people take things a little too far. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Craziest “Hoarding: Buried Alive” Episodes.



For this list, we’re looking at the wildest episodes of TLC’s “Hoarding: Buried Alive”, either because the people featured had some of the worst clutter in the show’s run, something crazy happened in the episode, or both.





#10: “This House Killed Her”




The show is no stranger to emotional situations, but one of the most upsetting was in this season four episode. When the 65-year-old mother of three children passes away, it’s down to the adult kids Aimee, Cheryl and Jimmy to clear out the clutter and prove that mom owned her house in the aftermath of her death. While Jimmy lived with their mother and knew the true extent of her hoarding problem, the two sisters had no idea. It’s difficult to watch them come to terms with the way their mother lived and died, and even more so when the biohazard team begin to throw out the deceased Cynthia’s many possessions.





#9: “Three Apartments, Three Hoarders”



In a first for “Hoarding”, this episode featured three hoarders all living in separate apartments in the same apartment building. Even more bizarre, the three of them were all completely unaware that they were living so close to people who suffered from the same problem. There are more light-hearted moments this time around as one struggles to part with her collection of lesbian erotica and many of the workers resort to throwing items out of the windows to get them out of the building. Throughout the episode, tension remains high between the hoarding trio and the owner of the community complex, who desperately wants things cleaned up.





#8: “They’re Crawling”



Audiences frequently find themselves wondering how the residents of these hellish homes manage to live in them without getting sick – and this became especially evident in season four, when two people working on TLC’s clean-up crew contracted Hantavirus while filming this episode. While not contagious from human to human, it’s spread through breathing in air contaminated by the virus – which comes from the fecal matter and urine of some rodents. Kay’s home was absolutely riddled with pests, including snakes and possums, and the worst part of all? She would still barely admit that she had a problem, even when her own home had to be completely quarantined.





#7: “Full of Rats”




Kay may have been playing host to an array of furry friends, but hoarder Michelle took that to a whole new level in her aptly-titled episode. Property investors want to buy her home, but soon discover that Michelle’s problem has damaged the house to its core as it is absolutely teeming with rats. She’s also technically homeless but seems unable to accept it as the team tries to help her. But perhaps the episode’s worst moment comes at the beginning as Michelle gives a tour of her kitchen, showing the filthy pots and pans she still uses to cook with to the cameras.





#6: “You’re Not Taking My Kids”




Karen isn’t the only victim of her hoarding; her two young sons are quoted as saying they feel “trapped” in her nightmarish home. The episode begins with the kids being taken away by Child Protective Services because of concern for their wellbeing, with Karen offered the ultimatum that if she doesn’t clean up her act within 48 hours she will not regain custody of her boys. But the situation is also notable for reducing psychologist Dr. Becky Beaton to tears when she sees the sick and neglected family dog, soon rehomed by the SPCA.





#5: “Worst I’ve Ever Seen”




Caryn’s world was thrown into crisis when local officials told her they would tear down her property for not being up to code. While investigating, they found it severely damaged without running water and full of cat feces; one code enforcer couldn’t even stand to be in the building without throwing up. Caryn’s realization that the home her parents built could be condemned is heartbreaking. Meanwhile in the same episode, Theresa struggles to balance her shopping compulsion with her chronic fatigue syndrome, meaning her house is completely overrun with junk and her illness renders her unable to clean.





#4: “I Can’t Breathe”




Another mother at risk of losing custody of her child was Larina, whose own sister was attempting to have 10-year-old Alexiah put into her care out of concern for the child’s well-being. Larina’s hoarding has tragic beginnings, all stemming from when her ex-boyfriend brutally assaulted and raped her five years earlier in her own front garden, even slitting her throat. However, this is one unfortunate story that actually has a happy ending; Larina managed to completely turn her life around, separating from her hoard and keeping it under control, prioritizing her young daughter’s safety and quality of life above all else.





#3: “Is That a Goat?”




A show with no shortage of horrors reaches extremes with Joyce and her collection of antique dolls. When her marriage fell apart she turned to the dolls for comfort, and despite running out of money and losing her job she continues to buy as many of these dolls as she can get her hands on. The episode’s other hoarder is Donny, a retired marine who doesn’t just have his own personal junkyard, but also a lively herd of goats. But Donny feels under siege from the county, from which he has amassed thousands in fines and two jail sentences.





#2: “Just Tear It Down”




Karen’s neglected dog may have ultimately been adopted by a vet after being removed from her home and given to animal control, but the outcome wasn’t nearly so pleasant for Doug and Darlene’s missing cat. Sickeningly, in this episode the cat’s mummified remains were found trapped underneath a heavy dresser, where it had perished two years earlier. And that’s not the worst of it; they also have a broken septic tank, which means the house is steadily overflowing with raw sewage and human waste, to the point where demolition seems like a better option than attempting to clean.





Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few Honorable Mentions:



“Prison of Garbage”






“Not a Safe Place”






“As Bad as It Gets”




#1: “Sleeping in a Dumpster”




In arguably the craziest episode of all, stubborn hoarders and deadly clutter weren’t the only dangers people had to worry about. Laura is attempting to clean her home with the help of her sons and the show’s crew, but their lives are threatened when a fire breaks out in her garbage-filled kitchen. Somebody mistakenly turns on the stove, which is covered in newspapers and other flammable materials, leaving them struggling to extinguish the fire or else the entire house will go up in flames. They eventually manage to stop the blaze, but it makes for one of the most intense moments in the show’s whole run.

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