Basements are creepy. Underground, dark, leaky, moldy, musty-smelling, and full of miscellaneous junk, they’ have the potential to house and hide many horrors and obsessions. Our own basement has been all of those things, and we have been trying to reclaim it for the past six months. Leaky foundations led to mold, then mold remediation and waterproofing. An exploding pipe led to replacing drywall, painting the walls, reclaiming furniture, installing electrical lights (yes, there were no electrical lights) and recarpeting the entire thing. Which meant packing up all the junk and having the furniture moved into storage while the carpet was replaced. Let me tell you, you don’t know what you actually have until you empty out your closets and drawers.
Yesterday our new carpet was finally installed (it’s beautiful), and today all of our stuff was moved back in. It looks like we’ve resolved the dark, leaky, moldy, and musty-smelling issues, although there’s nothing we can do about the underground part, and there seem to be a lot of boxes labeled “miscellaneous” or “random stuff”. You can’t have it all, I guess. In honor of the six month long basement nightmare that now appears to be almost at an end, I have for you a list of books with basements in them that are sure to give you nightmares, too. Myself, I am looking forward to finally getting some peaceful sleep.
Airline pilot Chip Linton’s jet crashes into the Hudson River, with virtually no survivors. Guilt-ridden, he moves to a crumbling Victorian house in rural New Hampshire. While he works on remodeling the house, he discovers human bones in the basement, and the murderous ghosts of his passengers from Flight 1611 begin haunting him and demanding that he provide them company. This is a creepy and chilling story, especially, I think, if you are a parent.
The Amityville Horror is supposed to be based on a true story. George and Kathleen Lutz moved into a luxurious house in Long Island knowing that brutal murders had taken place there the previous year. Twenty-eight days later, they fled, leaving all their possessions behind. Horror fans are probably familiar with the story already– if they haven’t read the book, they probably have seen the movie. Put this in your next “if you liked the movie, try the book” display, and see what happens.
This novel is based on the events of the Sylvia Likens murder. After their parents are killed, Meg Loughlin and her sister Sarah move in with their aunt and cousins. The girls’ aunt turns on them, eventually locking Meg in the basement. Meg’s aunt draws the neighborhood children into participating in her insanity, making them complicit in Meg’s torture and debasement. Graphic, explicit and horrific, The Girl Next Door is an extremely disturbing exploration of human evil. The Girl Next Door is a horror classic, but definitely not for the faint of heart. The Girl Next Door has also been made into a movie.
I have to admit that I have not actually read Silence of the Lambs, but I was at an impressionable age when I first saw the movie, and Buffalo Bill’s basement is permanently imprinted in my brain. According to this article, Buffalo Bill’s basement was modeled on a real serial killer’s basement torture chamber. All these novels based on true stories make me reluctant to ever go into any basement but my own.
This bleak novel about a father and son traveling through a post-apocalyptic landscape includes a house with a basement butcher shop where people are imprisoned and dismembered by the cannibal inhabitants. I feel ill just writing that down. Mold and moisture aren’t seeming like such a big deal now.
Now that our basement has lights, dry walls and floors, and new carpet, I don’t think we’ll have to lose sleep over it anymore. But stories about basements like these certainly put it all into perspective!