The Dreaded Basement

The house we live(d) in in Wyoming had a basement—and every so often, it would terrify the kids. Which was kind of weird because it was a nice basement. It was finished and bright and sunny. There was a long hall that led down to the guest room that was darker because we kept the doors closed down there, but on the whole, it was a nice basement.

If they want a scary basement, they should have seen my grandma’s. That was terrifying. It had the traditional concrete floor and tons of nooks and crannies covered in cobwebs and dust. There were even some random, half-hidden doors to closets. Boxes were stacked up to the windows, so it was dark, and the windows more often than not were covered in cobwebs, making it even dimmer.

The stairs were thin and creaky, and—of course—the basement was where they stored the toys. When we visited, if we wanted to play with the toys, we had to go down there. The laundry room was also down there, and it was on the darker side of the basement. The toys were at least by the stairs so you could leave the door at the top open and have a little more light. If the boys could have seen that basement, they would think nothing of ours.

I’ve often asked the kids why they thought the basement was so creepy, and they could never give me a straight answer. Now, to be fair, there had been a few times when I would turn off the light at the end of that incredibly long hall and imagine a shadow/person at the other end hiding in the darkness, and I freaked myself out with that. But I’ve also freaked myself out going to the bathroom in the middle of the night and imagined that if I looked in the mirror a demon would be looking at me, so that’s not an indicator of anything.

My excuse is having an overactive imagination, and maybe that’s the boys’ too. Seriously, as far as basements go, this one was pretty benign. It was actually cozy and had a lot of space. But I still wonder: what made the boys afraid of it?

Do you have any experiences with basements and their creep factor? What about any other rooms in a house that you dislike? I’d love to hear about them!

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