Sunday, December 05, 2010

Dammit... my basement is haunted

I just recently moved from one pre-war building in Washington Heights to another and have been so busy getting settled into the place that the question of "Is my basement a Hellmouth?" never had a chance to pop into my head.

That's not to say that the basement isn't creepy.  ALL BASEMENTS ARE CREEPY!  There's something about "let's put the rest of this place underground because that seems like a good idea since people like to be in cold, damp, dank places" that just makes them uncomfortable.

This basement is pretty big.  The building has two "towers" so the basement stretches under both with an odd sub-courtyard in the center - unreachable due to the multiple locked doors barring entry to this "yard".  When traveling down the elevator you come out into this thin hall and turn left, duck past the fly strip and make a left at the garbage bins.

Then there's another long hall where you step past (or over) a wooden trap door that can't be much more than 2'x2'... where it leads I don't care to guess.  Wander past this door and hang another left and you end up in ANOTHER hall, narrower this time, which then t-intersects with the laundry "room" - which is mostly a narrow hall to the left of the T where the washing machines sit and then to the right of the T is a square area where the dryers are housed.

I was alone around 9pm a few nights ago, gathering my dry clothes from the machines and preparing to head back through the labyrinth to the elevator and to my apartment.  But as I was folding a pair of corduroys I suddenly got an uncomfortable chill.  There is one window that faces out into the courtyard and it does have a broken pane but a sign has been plugged into the hole... and while there is a slight draft from this window, this chill didn't feel like a gust of wind.  It was more electric.  (Side note: I enjoy watching ghost shows and paranormal investigations on TV so I am aware of the theory that high electromagnetic fields can affect your nerves and the basement is probably chock full of them but...)

The chill was unnerving and I decided to finish folding my clothes upstairs and dumped the rest of the dried pieces into my cart.  But before I could turn to head back through the basement I heard and felt a breathy gasp in my left ear.

Seconds later, though they felt like hours, I had made it to the elevator and was on my way back to my place.  Whatever had happened was brief but taxing and I'm hoping that if there is something or someone down there it was only curious and didn't intend to scare.

But I think I'll be doing laundry with my roommate from now on... or dropping it off at the cleaners on the way to work.

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