Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Haunted Maine basement

Back in April, one of our readers emailed me the story of a haunting that he was familiar with, and offered to share it with our readers. Here it is, in Mike's own words. After originally sending me the ghost story, he wrote back with an update from S----- which you will find at the end of the story, including her corrections to Mike's written account. It's an interesting account, whether you find yourself agreeing with Mike's speculations or not. Please read on!

The names and places in this story have been de-identified to prevent any unwanted attention or grief to the persons involved in the incident or their family members.

S-----’s mother runs a daycare center in her basement in L-----, Maine. On May 4, 2005, a car accident occurred approximately 100 yards from her house. A local boy, J----- L-----, 19 years old, was killed at the scene.

In September 2007, while S-----’s mother was sorting through some Halloween coloring activities in her basement, a door separating the play area she was in from a newly made over reading area slammed shut. There was no reason for the door to have shut with such force. It had just been installed recently and there was no draft of air in the room. Out of curiosity, she went over to the door, opened it and tried to see what it would take to close the door so violently. After some experimentation, she was convinced that the door could not have accidentally swing shut.

One evening when S-----’s mother went into the basement to retrieve an item, she heard a noise. It was the sound of a toy piano’s keys being struck. She looked in the next room but there were no signs of a cat or other small animal in the room.

One morning while the daycare was open, the children who had been playing outside ran up to her, telling her that there was “a man in the playhouse”. The daycare has an enclosed yard so she was concerned that maybe a transient had spent the night in the small playhouse there. When she went to check there was no one there. The children insisted that a man had been huddled in the playhouse. They had even dared each other to go up and touch him, “to see if he was real…” When one child did touch him, “he got really mad…” and that is when the children ran inside.

S-----’s mother is a devout Catholic but does not particularly believe in supernatural entities like ghosts. Still, she was starting to feel a bit anxious especially since this recent “strangeness” was beginning to affect the kids in her daycare. Still, she put it out of her mind.

On another evening she went down to the basement to take pictures of the newly refurbished learning center. She was carrying her camera at about waist level, loosely in her hand, when the flash went off twice. Some days later when she downloaded the pictures, she saw two photos that she had not taken, intentionally or otherwise.

The first shot showed the suspended ceiling in the basement with her own face lit from beneath by the flash. She is the only person seen in that shot. The following shot shows the ceiling, S-----’s mother and a second person facing her from approximately 3 feet away. This person had not been there before the flash went off and was not there after the flash went off.

This person had not been there at all.

Looking at the photo, there are several things worth noting. First, the second person does not seem to resemble J----- L-----, the young man who died nearby in 2005. Secondly, the second person’s eyes look peculiarly flat or “dead”. Third, the shadow cast by the young man’s head and hair are projected forward. This would not be the way the shadow would normally be projected unless the lighting source were directly under the person’s chin. It appears as if the light illuminating the person is either coming from his chest area or is not playing by the usual laws of physics.

I would normally think this was a Halloween prank but S----- is adamant that the above story is true. If so, this would be the clearest portrait of a ghost that I have ever seen and since I first heard the story and seen the picture, I have looked. The question is: Whose ghost is it?
Here is S-----'s update, with corrections to Mike's text:
My Mom was specifically looking at GHOST-related Halloween books, preparing for her pre-school activities. Her granddaughter was there with her and witnessed the door slamming. She spent a half hour checking different positions of the door to see if she could get it to move on its own.

The playhouse incident was actually in the house. Everything happens in the basement. A little girl said she actually pinched him to see if he was real, and then he got “really mad”. To my mother’s horror, the kids started running around the room screaming “it’s a ghost!!” She was hoping that they wouldn’t mention it to their parents.

The toy that is in the basement plays the Star Spangled Banner by itself. My mother heard it once and my sister heard it a few times. They can’t figure out why it does it.

My sister and her boyfriend were spending the night. She stayed upstairs in her old room and he stayed on a couch in the daycare (in the basement). He heard footsteps coming down the stairs in the middle of the night and then they stopped outside the door. He thought it was her sneaking down to see him, but she never came in the room, and he never heard her walk back up the stairs. The next day he asked her why she didn’t come in, as he was awake. She told him that she didn’t know what he was talking about because she never tried to go down to see him.

The dog was found hunched behind the water heater (in the basement of course), shaking and staring at a spot above and beside my mother, eyes fixated on something.

A different dog she has now often runs to the top of the stairs at night (there isn’t a door to the basement, it is a split foyer house so the stairs are open to the basement), and will start barking and growling down there the way the dog does when a car drives in the yard. The dog won’t go down the stairs though like he would during the day.

The camera went off by itself another time a few days earlier before the pic was taken. So it went off twice by itself, the second time a clear pic came out which is the one shown. I think it is interesting that my mother doesn’t have a shadow. I mean this guy is right in front of her in the picture! So weird! She would have remembered meeting a guy like this in her basement 4 days before getting the film developed! Creepy! He looks weird.

My Mom doesn’t think the spirit is evil, just a lost soul. However, she won’t go into the basement at night. She isn’t petrified, but she does sprinkle holy water occasionally just in case. She is curious however, about who this spirit is, and would be interested in a medium of some sorts going to the house if someone was interested enough to do so. (She isn’t interested enough to pay money for it though). Being religious, she thinks the person is in some kind of purgatory and needs to be released to heaven.

So nothing new to report lately. Just the dog going mental now and again at the entrance to the basement.

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