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When Basements Go Bad

Dianne, TX, USA
April 2003

Recently I was chatting with my older sister about ghosts and she told me a tale that I will now share with you. The following events occurred in 1971, when my sister, Lily, was seven years old.

Every summer Lily used to spend a month or two living with our Grandparents. They lived on a rural farm near Vernon, Texas.

The farmhouse was modest. It's strangest feature was the basement. The basement was the same size as the house and was divided into three rooms. Two of these rooms were just used for storage and did not have overhead lights.

A door in the kitchen led into the basement. The stairs were very steep and didn't have a safety rail. There was also an outside door to the basement. This door was built nearly flat on the ground like a storm cellar door. Lily told me that the basement door in the kitchen had five sliding bolt locks on it. This was because the door had a habit of opening by itself.

My Grandmother would keep that door locked all the time. It was always found open in the morning. My Grandparents started adding extra locks in an effort to keep it closed. They finally had to put a dead bolt lock on the door. In the morning all the other locks would be open, but the door remained shut.

Then the outside basement doors started to open by themselves. My Grandparents countered that by stacking wood on top of them. Then the lights started to go out. The electricity to the house was turned on with a large lever switch. This switch was located in the basement.

Lily said that one day she and my Grandmother were in the basement. Lily saw the switch turn off by itself before all the lights went out. My Grandmother grabbed her hand and started up the basement stairs. Before they could get to the top, the basement door slammed shut. Fortunately, they managed to get out.

My Grandmother refused to go into the basement after that. Lily told me that the electricity would turn itself off about twice a week. When this happened, they stayed outside all day until my Grandfather got home from working the farm. The basement door never slammed shut on him. Eventually footsteps were heard running up and down the basement stairs. No one ever opened the door to see what it was. The same footsteps would also roam the house at night. I don't think that a ghost was ever seen by anyone. My Grandparents stayed in that house until 1976 or so. They always kept the basement door locked, and never allowed me or my little brother to enter the basement.

Dianne, TX, USA
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