When I was a child in the 1950s I sometimes played in our basement, especially in the cold winters. Part of it was unfinished, and around 1957 my father installed a large custom-built table down there for my Lionel trains, where I'd spend hours.
But I was always afraid, suspecting some "thing" was watching me in the dark corners. And every now and then I'd feel a deathly chill touch me, and I'd go screaming up the stairs, often running into my grandmother's arms.
In 1968 I had a very bad motorcycle accident that smashed my head, physically disfiguring me, robbing me of my musical ability, and destroying much of my intellect. I became the dull dummy I am today.
That Winter in despair over my fate I attempted suicide twice. Each time I choose this one particular spot in the basement, and each time I failed. In the Spring of 1969 I enlisted in the Army as an alternative to suicide, figuring the Vietcong would succeed where I had failed.
Forward 30 years. My sister was sharing with me family secrets I knew nothing about, following our father's death, our mother already gone. She told me that our grandfather had committed suicide in 1947, 2 years before I was born, contrary to the "official" story that he had a heart attack. And in that very spot in the basement that had always frightened me. And where I chose to end my own life.
I can't imagine what his widow, my poor grandmother felt, when I'd run up those basement stairs into her arms, screaming that "A ghost is down there! He touched me!"
I don't know what to believe anymore. I want to reject the idea of ghosts, but...