Just Beyond the Bathroom Door
Paranormal activity in the basement of my childhood home was ‘normal’ to me. This isn’t to say that I enjoyed it; I certainly did not. It was just something I came to expect. My parents and siblings were thoroughly entertained (and just as thoroughly unconvinced) by my tales of apparitions and strange noises, but it wouldn’t always stay that way. I think in the back of everyone’s minds, they knew it was possible that our house was haunted, they just didn’t want to know about it if it was. I can’t say that I blame them. Even I didn’t want to know about it!
One early Saturday afternoon when I was about ten or eleven, my mother was getting ready to host a yard sale, so everyone was told to gather what they no longer wanted or needed and bring it outside. I have never been (and will possibly never be) what you call a ‘morning person.’ Everyone was running all over the house, and all I wanted to do was catch a little more shut-eye. No such luck. I begrudgingly rolled out of bed and walked into the bathroom, not more than a few steps from my room. I pushed the door behind me intending to close it all the way, but it didn’t quite latch. I didn’t care, as I was just going to brush my teeth before heading back to my room to change.
As I was looking in the mirror, a quick flash of light appeared behind me. I spun around to look at where it had come from, and saw nothing. As I turned back to the mirror, I looked out into the hallway through the gap in the doorway and saw two people walking past. One was a gentleman, probably about thirty years old, holding a little boy’s hand. The boy looked to be about five or six. Both had light skin and dark hair, and they wore identical navy blue striped polo shirts. They were headed into the basement living room, which I referred to as the ‘dead animal room’ being that it was filled with my father’s hunting trophies.
My first thought was that my mother must have wanted to sell something in there and had a curious buyer come down to the basement to check out the merchandise. I immediately pulled the bathroom door open and walked out just as the two individuals passed, and saw no one. Where had they gone? They couldn’t have gone into the living room, and back out again. They certainly could not have gone down the hallway and back up the stairs either. They were just gone. I went back to my bedroom to change, and then walked upstairs to inquire about who had been let into the house. I found my parents outside and asked, “Who were the two people in the identical striped shirts?” They both looked at me perplexed. They hadn’t let anyone into the house.
I was teased for months about it. Anytime I went looking for something, my father would say, “Maybe the people in the striped shirts took it.” After that incident, I decided it was probably best to keep my experiences to myself. No one was going to take them seriously anyway.
A week or so passed, and things fell fairly quiet in the house. I hadn’t seen or heard anything unusual, and actually began to think that perhaps all the nonsense was over. Maybe whoever/whatever had taken up residence in the basement decided it was best to move on.
No such luck.
Another morning came, and my sluggish routine began again. This time as I went into the bathroom, I made sure to close and lock the door behind me. If something passed by the door, I didn’t want to be able to see it. After brushing my teeth, I got into the shower, hoping the hot water would help me out of my sleepy morning fog.
BAM!! BAM!! BAM!!
Three loud bags on the bathroom door startled me so much, I almost fell right there in the shower. I quickly pushed open the shower door with the water still running and asked, “Who is it?” No one answered me. I looked at the door handle, and it was shaking, as though someone on the other side was testing to see if the door was locked. I asked again, “Who’s out there?” Nothing. Once my heart rate slowed a bit, I closed the shower door thinking that one of my sisters probably wanted in and walked away after realizing they couldn’t get in.
BAM!! BAM!! BAM!!
Three more knocks, even louder this time. I went from being startled to being angry. “GO AWAY!” I shouted. The door handle shook again, but I ignored it. Whoever wanted in would just have to wait. No one ever admitted to wanting into the bathroom that morning . I asked everyone in the house if they needed something when I was in the shower. All of them said no. I brushed it off, and didn’t think anything of it until it happened again the next day… and the next… and the next; always when I was in the shower.
Was I going crazy? Why did all of these strange things happen around me? Why only in the basement? By now, fear was a constant companion of mine. I had no idea what to do about it, as my family laughed it off every time I had anything to say about it. I had told my mother about the banging on the bathroom door, but she seemed unconcerned, so I just learned to drop it. Talking about it wasn’t going to solve anything.
The bathroom in the basement wasn’t just the bathroom; it also served as the laundry room, so my mother was often in the basement putting a load in the washer, and pulling another out of the dryer. A few weeks after the banging on the door had first started, my mother went downstairs to do laundry while I was upstairs at the dining room table doing my homework. Ten or fifteen minutes passed, and my mother came walking up the stairs looking a bit confused.
“Did you need something?” she asked.
“No, why?” I replied.
“Someone was just banging on the bathroom door,” she said.
I just looked at her, and shook my head. I wanted to say, See? I told you something strange was going on, but I held my tongue and went back to doing my homework. Days later, my mother would report that it happened to her again, only this time no one else had been in the house with her. I think it was this particular incident that made her stop to consider that maybe what I was telling her was true… there were people in the basement. Question now was, what could any of us do about it?
To be continued…