The People in the Basement (Part One)

May 25, 2011

Part One:
Angels Pass Through Here

© April Slaughter

Anyone and everyone in the paranormal community has a story about where their fascination with the supernatural began – myself included. The beginning of my story is not original. In fact, I believe a majority of the personal accounts you will hear start off the exact same way.

“I grew up in a haunted house.”

It would be a simple (and pretty boring) story if that was the whole of it,  but honestly, there is so much more to it. I am out there talking to people, conducting investigations, delving into paranormal research – and people always want to know why. The same old tired line of growing up in a haunted house just doesn’t cut it anymore. So, I will tell you my story with as much detail as I can recall.

I was born and raised in Northern Utah. (Am I a Mormon? That’s what you were thinking just now, right? Guess you’ll just have to wonder. *smile*) I was born the youngest of four children, having one older brother and two older sisters. My parents have been married my entire life, and are hard-working, wonderful people. When I was eight years old – the age my twin daughters are now – my father took a job that required us to move about an hour away from the only home I had ever known.

As my parents began the arduous search to find the perfect new family home in the perfect new neighborhood, they came across one that mother instantly fell in love with. It was by no means a huge, elaborate home but it was (and remains) beautiful. An elderly couple had been the only people to live in the house, and they were no longer able to keep up with the demands of owning a home due to age and medical issues. As my mother initially toured the two level house with the elderly woman, my mother took note of how well kept everything had been. It was clean, orderly, and probably a great deal of work for the couple.

“You have a beautiful home,” said my mother. “Everything is so organized and tidy.”

The lady’s response was not something my mother expected to hear.

“I keep it that way because angels pass through here,” she replied.

My mother just smiled and continued on with her tour of the house. She would tell me about this strange statement years later, when I began to express concern that something strange was happening in the house (more about that later.)

I don’t remember how my brother and sisters felt about the move, but I was terrified. I didn’t want to leave my school or friends behind to start over somewhere new. I was an anxious child, and my parents would probably tell you that I was even afraid of my own shadow. Everything frightened me. Any new thing, any slight change in my surroundings or routine, and I was devastated. I hid as my family packed the moving truck, secretly hoping that I could just hide somewhere in my childhood home and stay there alone, forever.

My parents were only doing what was necessary to take care of us, but I didn’t see it that way. I agonized over it. I look back on it now, and wish I could talk to that scared little girl and tell her that everything was going to be okay – not that it would have made any difference. Once my mind was made up, there wasn’t much you could do about it then. I was going to hate the move no matter what, and I did.

Before we were able to get everything situated in the house, my grandfather and my father had to work in the basement to separate one very large room into two rooms for us kids. One of my sisters and I shared the larger of the rooms, while my brother set up his room on the smaller side of the new wall. The back door leading into the basement from the outside would be in his room (this will be important to remember later on in the story.)

Even with the rooms now being separated, the bedroom I shared with my sister was still big enough that it had two doorways leading into it. They were not framed to actually hang doors, so our room was basically open to the hallway that led to the bathroom and a basement living room.

I remember lying there in my twin bed on my very first night in the house, staring into the dark hallway, and imagining that all sorts of horrible monsters were lurking out there, waiting for me to fall asleep before swooping in to steal me away. Having my sister in the room was no comfort, as she and I never really got along all that well, and if it came down to her or me… I knew she’d throw me to the imaginary wolves.

Of course, I woke up the next morning with all of my fingers and all of my toes, not a single drop of blood spilled, and every hair in its proper place. I had seen and heard nothing out of the ordinary. Every night approached with the same terror setting in, and every morning I woke up thinking I might be able to overcome it in time.

Well, until someone stepped out of that dark hallway one night to say hello to me…

To be continued…

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