By: Jaclyn Peraino
I should preface this “encounter” by saying that I don’t believe in ghosts or demons or anything haunting. I’ve never really been a fan of horror because I never understood it to be entertaining. I believe anyone who has been “possessed” or adamantly claims to have had numerous supernatural occurrences is probably suffering from psychosis. For anyone else who has had maybe a few experiences with the supernatural, it’s all a trick your mind plays on you, or at least that’s what I’ve always told myself. But there was a time a few years back that I had a “ghostly” encounter challenging this idea.
It was the summer before sixth grade, and my cousins, Leah and Anna, were sleeping over at my house. Every time we had a sleepover, we played hide-and-seek in the dark in the basement. We were especially dedicated to the dark part, so even at night we would put blankets and pillows up to cover the small glass-block windows. We usually played for hours, but on this night, I cut the game short. I prided myself on how well I could hide, so I was rarely ever it. But, of course, on this night, I was found and had to be the seeker. After counting to thirty and searching around the basement for a few minutes, I found Anna hiding behind the dryer. As I turned around to the office, I saw Leah.
“Leah, I see you! You’re it!”
She didn’t respond.
“Come on Leah! I can see you right there!”
Still no response…
Then Leah’s voice came out from the toy room behind me, “No you didn’t! I’m right here! Stop cheating.”
It was then that I realized the girl standing in the office doorway was not my cousin. When I turned back around, she was gone. I hastily flicked on all of the lights in the basement and told my cousins what I saw. We ran up the stairs of the basement and never played hide-and-seek in the dark again.
Aside from the few days following, I didn’t think much about that night. I had fully convinced myself it was all in my head: ghosts aren’t real. The “encounter” was behind me. That is, until I moved into my new house on Mary Street. Our basement (shown in the pictures above) is definitely something straight out of a horror film, but that’s not what brought back my memories from that summer. It was the strange dreams I had the first few nights in the house. I’m sure they were just from the stress of senior year. I’m sure there is no supernatural explanation for these dreams. But my roommates, they claimed to have had weird dreams too. I’m still not sure how to rationalize that… After a few nights, the weird dreams passed, and I quickly forgot about them. A couple days later, while doing laundry in our unsettling basement, I turned over my shoulder to see the same girl just standing in the corner. I blinked and she was gone.
Perhaps knowing I am enrolled in a horror class made my imagination run wild. Perhaps realizing how eerie the basement is made me remember that night many years ago. I know it’s not real. I know it’s my mind playing tricks on me. But a small part of me still wonders what if it’s not a trick? What if it’s real?