A Ghost in the Basement
by Dana K
(Chula Vista, CA, USA)
I always hesitate to tell this story. If you don't believe in ghosts then you won't believe this tale. Trust me, before this happened, I did not in any way shape or form believe in ghosts and although this was my only experience with one it convinced me they do indeed exist.
I was 17 years old, it was 1969, I was a junior in high school. My parents had bought a new home a couple miles from their present location. They were keeping the old house so there was no real sense of urgency to get moved. I was a typical 17 year old, smarter than my parents, ready to handle anything. I asked if I could stay in the new house while we moved, it was summer and I didn't have to go to summer school that year. My parents agreed.
The new house wasn't really new, it was one of the first homes built in Coronado sometime in the early 1800's. Two story wooden structure supposedly built by an old sea captain. I imagine when it was first built it had a great view of San Diego Bay and all the ships coming in and out.
It was my third night in the house and I had gotten used to all the pops and creaks of a wooden house as evening comes on. I was in my room reading a book when I heard a noise downstairs, it sounded like something had gotten knocked over. I grabbed a baseball bat and went down the old stairs as quietly as I could. It was dark except for a glow at the bottom of the kitchen door. I listened and could hear nothing so I quietly opened the door. The glow was coming from my Dad's flashlight. Somehow it had fallen off the counter and landed on the floor turning itself on.
Smiling at my foolish fear a moment earlier, I picked up the flashlight. As I did something caught my eye. Something on the wall where the flashlight beam had been shining. I went over for a closer look and there appeared to be a piece of leather stuck between two
boards of the wall. I tugged on it and the wall opened, there was a secret door where our refrigerator was going to go. Through the door was a set of dusty stairs leading down into the darkness. I figured this was either a food storage or maybe even a smugglers hide out at one time. There was no light switch so with bat and flashlight in hand I went down the loudly creaking stairs.
The darkness was so thick it seemed to be fighting with the beam of the flashlight. At the bottom of the steps was a room about 12' on each side. The dust was thick, no on had been down here in a long long time. There were a few empty crates laying around but not much else. I started to leave when I noticed a faint glow in one corner. I turned the flashlight on it but couldn't see anything. If I moved the flashlight away, the glow would return. I turned off the flashlight and waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness.
The glow seemed to shift and change as I watched it. As my eyes got used to the darkness I could make out a shape in the glow, it was a woman dressed in turn of the century clothing. She was kneeling in the corner and I could see her plain as day as she looked at me saying something I couldn't hear and pointed at the corner wall where
she was. "I can't hear you" I said, "What's wrong?" She looked frustrated and pointed urgently at the wall and faded from sight. Okay, so that was strange. I turned on the flashlight and investigated the wall. It was some kind of heavy wood just like the
rest of the room. Then I noticed one board that was slightly different from the others, it had square nail heads instead of round.
Ever since I was a cub scout, I carried a swiss army knife with me and pulled it out now. I pried at the board and was surprised at how easily it came loose. Behind the board was a hollowed out space, a few inches in was something wrapped in oil cloth. Hoping there
weren't any blackwidows in there, I reached in a pulled it out. The oil cloth unwrapped easily and I found a small wooden box bordered with metal straps and a small lock on the hasp. I was about to try the lock when a loud noise upstairs made me jump and run back to the kitchen.
The lights were on and it made me blink after being in the dark for so long. As they adjusted, I saw that a cannister of flour my mom had on the counter had fallen off and spread flour over most of the floor. What freaked me out is as I watched, small footprints, like that of a woman appeared in the dust and moved toward the front door! I could only guess that it was the woman from the storage room leaving. I cleaned up the mess, I knew Mom would blame me, there was no one else around.
The next morning my Dad came over to do some painting and I showed him the secret door. I didn't mention anything about my experiences, who would believe me anyways? My Mom and Dad were religious and the only ghost they believed in was the Holy Ghost. To this day, almost 40 years later, I haven't told them what happened. Nothing else strange ever happened in that house nor did I ever see the woman again. You can believe the story or not, that's up to you. I know what I saw and that's all that matters to me.