If you’ve read my previous personal ghost story, you may remember my cousin, Johnny. This story also involves him. The events in this story were frightening. This is best read alone and at night.
I always loved scary things, even though the movies, books and games kept me up at night. I would lie awake, fearing something coming out of my closet to get me.
My cousin Johnny knew this, and would use any and every opportunity to scare me and my siblings. He was frequently called on to baby sit us when my parents did their Saturday BINGO night. Since he was in his early teens, they were comfortable with him watching me, my sister and brother. At the time of the incident, we must have been about 11, 8 and 3, respectively.
Johnny was a prankster and he had his own hair raising version of Hide and Seek. He would pretend that he was changing into a werewolf or some other creature, and tell us to hide before he transformed. We would run through the house, finding spots where he wouldn’t find us. It was really nerve wracking to hear him growling and coming up our creaky stairs, trying closet doors and looking under beds. No matter how afraid I was while playing the game, I always went back for more. I liked being scared.
Late one Saturday night, after a rousing game of Monster Hide and Seek, we settled down to watch Creature Double Feature. (If you lived through the days of ‘70s UHF TV, you may know the program). My mom and dad were at BINGO and Johnny was in charge.
There was a knock at our door and it was early for it to be my parents. Johnny answered the door, with the chain still fastened. I was trying to peek around him, and I could see that there was a man in a long coat standing on our porch. The man asked if the man or lady of the house was in. Johnny said no, and asked if he wanted to leave a message. The man didn’t want to. He just quietly left. We then went back to watching TV.
We got hungry later, so Johnny went into the kitchen to make sandwiches. After a few minutes, he ran back into the living room. He said he heard noises coming from the basement. I thought he was starting another game up, but when he turned the TV off, I heard the noises, too. Footsteps and pounding sounds – well not really loud pounding, more like someone bumping into things in the dark.
Johnny had a look on his face that told me he was also really scared. He led us to our fake fireplace, and handed us a tool from it. I think I had the shovel. He had the poker. My sister had the brush. Yeah, right.
We tip-toed into the kitchen and froze at the cellar door. I thought that at any moment, the door would burst open and it, whatever it was, would get us!
Because of limited space, our refrigerator was so close to the cellar door, that the edge of the door, when you opened it, was only an inch or two from the side of the appliance. This meant that if you put something between the door and the fridge, it would be impossible to get out of the basement.
And that’s what Johnny did! He wedged a couple of kitchen chairs into that space. Since the fridge was in line with the sink and the oven, no one could move that door now. I have to say, that as Johnny moved the chairs, I held my breath, hoping that the door didn’t open before he was done. We did relax a bit after our barricade was complete. Johnny even shouted out, “Hey! You better get out of here! We have weapons!” No more footsteps or bumps. We began to feel safe.
Then, the door knob turned!
The police, who arrived shortly after my parents, found no evidence of a break-in. At first, my mom was upset that Johnny had called the police, until she realized that we all were genuinely afraid, and that this was not one of Johnny’s pranks.
The cops gave the entire house the once over, but focused on the basement. They checked the small pop open window by our front porch steps. They checked out the rear cellar doors. All were locked and unbroken.
There was, however, a second pop open window, located inside our tiny bathroom stall, in the back corner of the basement. I can’t recall if they opened the door to check that one. In fact, many details get hazy when trying to remember events from almost 40 years ago.
One thing, though, has always been, and will always be clear:
The door knob did turn.