My grandmother’s stories of mysterious lights moving from room to room; of lit candles which suddenly appearing and vanishing on the night table; of curtains moving without apparent explanation; of fluttering angel’s wings; of detonations in the basement; all these stories fed my fears until they grew to be of sizeable proportions.
Although I’m convinced my grandmother told me stories purely for her own entertainment, my grandfather said that one of her tales was actually true. It was the story of the detonation in the basement.
This is what happened, according to my grandparents: The whole house was awakened by a loud rhythmic noise like that produced by someone beating a mallet against the wall. The tenants crowded into the hallway. Baffled and concerned, they wondered what could be causing it.
No one dared to take a flashlight or a candle, and climb down the stairs to the basement to investigate. Some voiced a concern that there was a break-in, and that the violent perpetrator was still in the basement. Finally, my grandfather mustered up enough courage to light up a candle and, in the safety of its faint light, he disappeared into the deep darkness that swallowed the basement. As you might suspect, he didn’t find anything. No one ever figured out what happened.