My girlfriend and I lived in a huge duplex apartment with a full basement, back in the late 1990’s, around ’98. The place was built in 1910. It was a short walk to Portland State University and downtown. We had the ground floor and another antique dealer occupied the second story. It had two huge bedrooms. Another lady shared the house and had the other bedroom. We very seldom used the living room and used our bedroom like a living room. We had two sofas (chesterfields for the Canadians) a coffee table and television in our room.
I had a lot of things, small antiques and personal items, stored in many banana boxes in the basement. There was a support wall down the center of the basement, one side had a utility sink and laundry area, with a washer and clothes dryer, and there was a four foot florescent shop light at the far end of that side. The stairs were on the actual back wall, from the kitchen to the basement. What I call the back wall was actually towards the front of the apartment. The stairs had a sturdy wooden railing with a newel post at the bottom of the railing. I had a habit of putting my left hand on the newel post and swinging around it as my foot hit the bottom step, swinging around 360 degrees, when I was heading to the other side where my things were stored.
One night I needed something from one of my storage boxes, so I went down the stairs to the basement and as I was swinging around the post at the bottom of the stairs, I saw something sort of slowly sink into the floor. It looked like a large bag that was made of unbleached linen. I thought, “Oh man! Did I just see what I think I saw?” My answer to myself was a resounding “YES! I did!” The shop light in the back was on, so this ghost was well lit, oddly enough, and it was not transparent in appearance. I walked over to the boxes, dug around for whatever it was I wanted to find and could not find it quickly enough! I was freaked out. I didn’t tell my girlfriend about what had happened, because I didn’t want her to be afraid to go down into the basement.
I had witnessed ghosts before, but up until that time, I thought that ghosts covered with a sheet or something was just sort of nonsense or something you would see in cartoons and comic books. The difference I saw was there were no holes for eyes to see through in this one and it seemed like it was a burial shroud. I have little doubt about that. Portland was a fairly rough and tumble Western town in the early days, as all of them were. I have obviously thought about this incident a lot. I have an intuitive feeling that this ghost is buried under the front of that old apartment, but how that might have come to be, I have no idea.
A couple of weeks went by and one night my girlfriend had been down in the basement doing laundry. I was in the kitchen when she came back upstairs. She walked over to me and said, “I just had the strangest thing happen. I was standing in front of the dryer and I got goosebumps and the hair stood up on the right side of my body” (which would have been positioned towards the back wall of the basement and about eight feet from where I saw the ghost). I ask her, “just the right side of you body?” and she said, “Yes. From the center of the top of my head, down the right side of my body, all the way to the floor.” I thought about it for a few seconds and told her what I had seen, a few nights before. I think her reply was “Woa!”
I decided I did not want to be afraid of the apparition that I had seen. I was up in Washington state and stumbled across an antique store way out in the boonies. As I was walking through the store I found an old oak roll-top jeweler’s workbench. The price was reasonable and I bought it. When I got home, I put it in the basement against the back wall, under the shop light. It was positioned about three feet from the spot I had seen the ghost. I call it the back wall, but there was a small narrow storage room on the other side of the wall, where the upstairs renter had some of his things stored. There was also some pieces of lumber scattered on the floor in that room. A side note, that probably means nothing, in front of where the old wood fired furnace had been, there were axe marks in the concrete from where wood had been split to fuel the furnace.
Sometimes when I was at the workbench working on pens and jewelry. I would hear something walking around on the loose pieces of lumber. It took all the courage I could muster to keep on working and ignore the sounds on the other side of the wall. The sounds were not usually loud, but they were very creepy. I was glad the ghost stayed on his or her side of the wall, in that dark room.
Ghosts may or may not deserve to be hated, but I do hate them. On the other hand, I think they deserve some respect though. It is kind of sad that they are stuck here and I would imagine they are quite sad and lonely. That ghost seemed to respect me enough to stay in the other room while I worked, so I had to respect it for doing that, at least.
This was not a ghost that repeated it’s actions, like some that seem to to repeat the same movements and actions over and over in a certain place and/or time of day or day of the year that has been reported by paranormal researchers and other people. I guess you could call the type of ghost in our old basement a “free spirit”. You may laugh, but it was not at all funny to me.
Ghosts haunt places, but do they haunt living people? I would say they do haunt people in a way. That ghost will haunt my mind for the rest of my life and that is no joke, either.
(Photo courtesy of Insider)