The Presence in the Basement
Matt, Connecticut, USA
I wish I could preface this story by saying that I’ve never believed in ghosts before my own experience with one, but the truth is that I’ve always been interested. I think my interest stems from the fact that when I was younger I had not only and overactive imagination, but also some very strange things that would happen to me that I cannot explain. Though my story takes place relatively recently, I figure it would help to give you some background information about my experiences as a child.
When I was preschool aged, my mother and I lived with my grandparents in their house in Maine. My bedroom had a wall that was covered in storage cubbies (due to the fact that the wall was actually unfinished, so the spaces in between the studs and whatnot were used as storage areas for boxes and the like). As far back as I can remember I really hated going to sleep at night. Not because I was afraid of the ‘boogeyman’ or monsters under the bed, but because when I’d start to drift off to sleep I’d find myself drawn up into the cubby holes of the room.
I know it sounds bizarre, but I can’t really quite describe it any other way. I could tell that I was lying in bed, but at the same time I could also tell that I was incredibly close to the cubby holes, some of which were definitely 6 or 7 feet off the ground. Everything would be clearer and more detailed, just as though I was closer to it. I would tell my mom about this phenomenon, and eventually she told me that she had similar experiences when she was a little girl.
Additionally, when I was younger and playing outside by myself, I would constantly hear people calling my name, as if from very far away. It didn’t take me very long to realize that nobody real was calling my name’ To tell you the truth if this happened to me now, I’d be scared to death, but when you’re a kid, some things are just acceptable even if they’re completely nuts!
Both the strange nighttime experiences and people calling my name eventually stopped happening. I think I just outgrew it all, as strange as that sounds. I honestly do not know if what had happened to me at night was simply a recurring dream, and I don’t know if I was just overly imaginative and hearing things that weren’t there, but I do know that these experiences definitely contributed to my interest in the paranormal.
Over the years my family moved frequently and there were a few places we lived in that I had some pretty creepy experiences in, but those are something I’ll leave for a future story.
The story I’m going to tell you didn’t take place until I had completed my freshman year of college, in the summer of 1998.
After having tasted freedom in college and being a dumb kid in love, I decided to move out of my parent’s house that summer and into my girlfriend’s parent’s house. Her parents were obviously much more permissive than my own were. My girlfriend, ‘Jessica’ and I lived in the finished basement of the house, splitting the space with her teenage brother.
My girlfriend’s parents split the upstairs of the house with her grandmother, and had originally remodeled the basement as their own living quarters. However, once Jessica left for college, they decided to take over her sunny bedroom as a welcome change from the dark basement. Previously, Jessica’s mother slept alone in the bedroom in the basement with her dog, as Jessica’s father did not like sleeping on the waterbed in the room and preferred to just sleep on the couch upstairs.
Now I’ll admit, I had known Jessica for quite some time, and I knew that her family widely regarded the basement area as being quite spooky, if not downright haunted. Her mother had told Jessica a few times that sometimes in the middle of the night she’d feel the presence of someone in the room with her, someone who was either very angry with her or was downright evil. Her brother, who had lived in the other basement room since he was in high school often said he experienced some strange feelings down in the basement, but never really said much about it, probably because he’s a pretty macho guy.
Jessica also told me that when she was very young, her grandfather committed suicide in the driveway of the house, and afterwards she would see him in the house and actually have conversations with him.
At first nothing happened to us. Jessica had at first been a bit reserved about sleeping in the basement (which is one of the reasons I moved in - to keep her company at night), but after a few weeks passed and nothing happened, we got used to the whole thing.
One night, however, Jessica woke up screaming that someone was pulling her hair. Though the basement was always dark due to the small half windows, when I woke up that night the basement was completely pitch black and I had trouble seeing more than a few inches in front of my face. I turned on a light and Jessica calmed down and said that she woke up and felt like someone had a handful of her hair and was pulling on it. The feeling stopped once she called out.
We left the lights on that night, but even with the lights on, it seemed like everything in the room was still terribly shadowy and dim.
A few days after this experience, Jessica and her mother and brother had all left for work and I was sleeping in, since I was working 2nd shift. The house was completely empty at the time except for the family dog. I had been dozing in and out of sleep when I suddenly felt the presence of someone in the room with me. At the time I felt like it was Jessica’s mother, since I could hear the presence breathing and it sounded distinctly female.
Now when I say I could hear it, that’s not exactly right. It was almost like I knew it was happening and could hear it in my mind, but there wasn’t actually any sound. It was very strange and obviously hard to describe correctly.
The presence’s breathing started sounding upset and then I could tell it was sobbing. All this time I had my eyes shut, because although I had initially thought it was Jessica’s mother, I knew they had all gone to work, and thus I knew I was in the presence of something unexplainable. I don’t know why I knew this, but I knew that if I opened my eyes it would all stop and I was too curious to make it stop.
The presence stayed for a few more minutes and then I could tell it went away. I quickly got out of bed and dressed and went upstairs. Though I wasn’t scared at all during the experience, once it was over I was pretty spooked. I tried my hardest to stay upstairs for most of the day, but I did need to go downstairs to change into my work clothes before I left for work.
Since I had no interest in going down by myself I tried to get Jessica’s dog to come down with me. Now the thing about Jessica’s dog is that he absolutely loved me. He’s the type of dog who ignores most people, but for some reason latches onto certain ones. I was one of the ones he latched on to, and ordinarily he’d follow me anywhere I went. However that day he absolutely refused to go down to the basement with me. He stood at the top of the stairs and whined when I went down without him. I’ll tell you right now that I got changed into my work clothes as fast as humanly possible and got the heck out of there.
That night when I got home I told Jessica about my experience, and she said that she’s felt the presence of a female in the basement before as well. Her brother had told her that he had a few times where he thought his mother was down in her bedroom crying but she’d actually be upstairs and nobody would be in the bedroom at all. Jessica then went on to tell me that whenever someone would sense the female presence, almost immediately afterwards the other, more malevolent presence would show up.
A few weeks later, Jessica’s brother was out with some friends, and for some reason I was in his room, probably trying to find a CD or something. All of the sudden I felt like someone was watching me from the other side of the room. I whirled around but there was nothing there.
Then I started hearing the sound of someone sobbing coming from our bedroom. Jessica was in the room reading a book. I asked her if she had been sobbing or had said something and she said she was being quiet.
I told her what I had experienced and she got really nervous and said that the other presence would probably follow. So we decided to go upstairs for a while. While we were upstairs the downstairs smoke alarm began to go off. Jessica’s father went down to investigate but could not figure out why it was going off.
We eventually went back downstairs and had an otherwise uneventful night. Eventually we went back to college and got our own apartment soon after that. However, we did continue to go to her parent’s house frequently and used the basement to store some of our things.
One day I was helping Jessica to clean up some of the boxes in the storage area and try to find some of the things we had stored there. We were there for a half hour or so when we both started arguing for no reason at all. It was like we were both suddenly mad at the other person for no reason whatsoever. I forget exactly what we were arguing about when suddenly the light bulb in the fixture overhead literally exploded! We both got out of the room pretty quickly and as soon as we were out of the room our moods lifted and we were no longer angry.
Not too long after that incident, Jessica’s father began to remodel the basement since her brother had left to join the Army and he thought he’d repurpose the basement as an office space/hobby area. Some walls were taken down, carpeting replaced, lighting fixtures changed, etc’ After the remodel was done, the entire feeling of the basement has changed, and nobody has reported anything strange happening down there.
I’ve often wondered what could have been going on in the basement. Jessica’s grandparents built the house, and though her grandfather did commit suicide, Jessica couldn’t imagine that the malevolent presence was her grandfather. It also doesn’t explain the distinctly female presence either.
Jessica’s parents had gone through a very rough patch in their marriage when Jessica was in junior high. They split up and eventually got back together, but not without some very heated arguments and bad feelings. I’ve often wondered if perhaps the phenomenon in the basement was a personification of these bleak times in their lives, the aggressive arguments creating the malevolent presence and the sadness creating the sobbing female presence. I’m sure nobody will ever know for sure.