The basement of my childhood home was not of the nice, finished variety which you find in many homes today. It was a dark, dank, cobweb filled space which was so unwelcoming that I remember very few occasions in which I walked through there. That musty cellar was a place to be run through as quickly as possible. There was a big open room at the bottom of the stairs from the kitchen which held the old coal furnace and not much more.
Off to the left of this room was a small root cellar where our family kept jars of canned goods from the garden. That little room was always damp and ice cold…and full of big hairy spiders. How I hated that room. The funny thing is that this room was not the worst part of the basement. It was actually the large main area which was the worst. At the far end, was a door which led to outside stairs and off to the left right before that door was the laundry room which also held our freezer.
Okay, now that you have an idea how the basement was laid out, I will tell you about what I refer to as the boggart. The only light in the basement emanated from a few bare bulbs hanging from the unfinished wooden beamed ceiling. So, of course the space was full of shadows. Shadows themselves can be spooky enough in a place like this, but when the shadows move it’s way worse. The boggart usually was well hidden, but you could feel cold air rush by you as you walked through the cellar.
Every now and then, the boggart would show itself as a tall, dark form. On the occasions when I saw it, it was either darting into the hole in the wall where the coal was stored or dashing underneath the stairs leading back up into the kitchen. It was almost always present, and there was something about it which filled me with such dread. On one of the more memorable occasions, I recall seeing the boggart over by the coal hole and made my dash for the stairs. It must have beat me there, because when I was about halfway up the stairs, what felt like icy fingers grazed my ankle.
Needless to say, it was quite some time before I went down into the basement again. I lived in that house until I was around 17 years old, and that basement was never any more hospitable than it had been when I was a young child. Now that I’m older, I have some theories as to what was lurking down there and I can honestly say that while I wouldn’t be quite as terrified of it, I still have no desire to meet up with it again.