The Dog that Died in the Basement
I moved to Scotland when I was 18, after being kicked out of my parents home, for personal reasons. I had family all over the US, and due to the situation, I decided it was better to leave the country, and just have a fresh start in a new country. I was going between Canada and Scotland initially, but I eventually settled on Scotland, as I had much heritage there, among other reasons.
I got a home to rent in Glasgow off of airbnb for an oddly cheap price, but I figured why not? Now, I’m not a very superstitious person, hell, I’m not even religious, but the strange events that occurred while I stayed in that house still haunt and baffle me to this day, despite occurring a little over three years ago.
It was a two story house, in the outskirts of Glasgow, very old as well, likely built late 1700’s, early 1800’s, somewhere around that time. Immediately after arriving, I noticed something a bit off: there was a doggy door to the basement, but no to other door in the house. No exterior doors, nothing. Only the basement. At first, I didn’t think much of it.
Another thing to note: when I rented the house, I was told I was not allowed in the basement or in the attic. I figured they had their personal belongings there, so, once again, did not think much of it. The first two nights there were as normal as they could be. Obviously, with a house so old, there were the creaks and moans of it settling into the foundation. However, something else to note: the interior doors of this house did not have locks on the doorknobs themselves, rather, they had deadbolts that you could use.
Initially, I felt no reason to use the deadbolts, however, I considered it do to another odd quirk about the house. I suppose because the doorknobs were so old, perhaps rusted or something, they did not close properly, so, when the AC turned on, the difference in air pressure would cause the doors to creak open on their own, even while shut.
I heard the creaks the third night. They began at the base of the stairway, making their way up. It sounded animal-like, more specifically, like a dog. You see, I had a dog in my childhood, and I knew what they sounded like. The padding of their feet, followed shortly by their nails scraping or tapping on the floor. The footsteps came right up to my door, before turning around and going back down.
Something to mention real quick. I do freelance work, so, because of that, I am very nocturnal, I tend to wake up at around seven or eight pm except on rare occasions. I usually go to sleep at anywhere from six to nine in the morning, but three years ago, my sleep schedule was not as off, with me waking up at around two or three in the evening, and going to bed at around one or two in the morning.
I woke up on the fourth day and did a bit of freelance work, played some video games, watched some YouTube, but at the end of the day, I was still a bit unnerved from the previous night, so I went to the pub and got a drink. Well, several drinks. I came back after the sun had set, at around one in the morning.
I opened the front door, and saw the doggy door to the basement moving back and forth, as though something had just gone through it. I immediately slammed the door shut, so hard, in fact, that I later had to pay for damages where the glass in the door had cracked. I called the people who had rented me the house and questioned them.
“Hey, so I’ve just gotten home, and I think there might be something living in the basement. Did you, by any chance, leave a dog here? Is there a stray that lives here? Is there another doggy door that leads into the house that another animal could have possibly used to get into the basement?”
“No, but if you think there is something in the basement, we could send someone over tomorrow to check it out.”
In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best thing to call them at one in the morning, but there is nothing I can do to change it now. Anyways, I opened the door again, rushed over to the fridge, got a drink and some chips from the pantry, and went back out to the porch, sitting out there until the sun came up. The whole time I was out there, all the way until the sun rose, it felt as though something were watching me through the window.
As soon as the sun rose, I went upstairs and off to bed, waking up at around six at night, since I had gone to sleep so late. I started doing freelance work on my laptop, and around eight, just as I was about to go make something to eat, I heard movement downstairs, and assumed it was the people they had sent over to check out the basement, although it was quite odd that they would have been there so late. As someone who is antisocial, I did not feel like talking to anyone, so I waited for the noises to go away, playing some video games until then. After the noises went away, I opened my door to go downstairs and cook something to eat. By this time it was about eleven.
To be honest, the noised probably stopped a bit sooner than that, but I was very immersed in the game I was playing. Anyways, as soon as I opened the door, I had the feeling that I was being watched. I had the feeling that I was in danger. I made my way downstairs, and the closer I got to the door from the basement, the more intense the feeling got.
This time, however, the doggy door was not moving. I quickly made something to eat, burning it a bit, and made my way back upstairs. As soon as I turned the light off, the feeling got about three times as intense. Then I heard creaks on the stairs behind me. I ran into my room, and slammed the door shut.
For the next few hours, I did some work for my freelance customers, and then played some video games, and watched some YouTube. Then, around two in the morning, I got in bed. I was quite exhausted from previous events.
That night, I heard the creaks again. Again, they came up the stairs, down the hall, and right up to my door. Then the AC turned on. I froze, hardly breathing. The door, as expected, creaked open. The room got a lot colder, and I felt, once again, as though I was in danger. The creaks came into the room, and I could hear the nails tapping on the wooden floor with every step.
It went on like that for what felt like hours. Eventually I fell asleep, waking up just as the sun was setting. This is where a routine that I have even to this day began. Before the sun set fully, I gathered food, water, snacks, everything I’d need, and went back up to my room, bolting the door shut. As I had woken up later than usual, I stayed up until about three doing freelance work, and playing video games.
Then I went to bed. Once again, the footsteps made their way up the stairs, and down the hallway, towards my door. Then, the door creaked open. The AC had not turned on this time. I had also bolted the door shut. I did not understand. I sat there, frozen in place, once again, until the sun rose.
I woke up the next day at nine. Immediately, I went over to the door to see what had happened. Apparently, the bit that screwed into the wall and held the bolt in place had come out of the wall with the bolt. It appeared as though the screws were stripped. I called the people I’d rented the house from, and they said that, while they didn’t see why it was that important, they would send someone over to fix it.
I think they sensed the urgency in my voice, because that night, at around ten, someone arrived at the house to fix the bolt. The one they replaced it with was quite heavy duty, which I appreciated. That night, I, once again, collected all of the food and water that I would need to make it through the night, and bolted the door shut. This is where I began to stay up throughout the entire night, as I could hardly sleep with the noises and terrifying tension in the air that came with the darkness of night. I’m not afraid to admit that I did, and still do, have a drinking problem, and this is also where I decided to stop drinking for a week, to see if it would help calm my nerves.
Somehow, even with my headset on, listening to music, playing video games, in general just distracting myself from the night, I was still always able to hear the creaks, the tapping of the nails on the wooden floor. Throughout the week, I began to hear new things as well. On the third day, I heard panting outside my door.
I’d already felt as though I were going mad, but I feel as though the fourth night might have been the breaking point. That night, it stormed, HARD. The wind howled outside, the whole house almost seemed to shake. There was lightning and thunder, and the rain was pouring down.
But none of those things scared me more that what I heard over the storm that night. Barking. Howling. A dog that sounded like it was in an immense amount of anguish. I didn’t dare open my door that night. For hours, the howling of a dog is all I could hear over the wind, and the rain, and the thunder. No matter how loud I turned my music up, I could still hear it. At one point, I took my headphones off. That was a mistake.
The second I took my headphones off, the power went out. The only thing emitting light was my laptop screen, and the lightning that occasionally lit up my room. I pulled the covers up and sat there, dreading when my laptop battery would die. I turned off the music and sat there, listening to the sounds of the storm. All throughout the night, it continued. My battery reached one percent at about three in the morning, and then the power came back on. I fell asleep just as the sun was rising.
The next day, the wind and the rain remained, although the thunder had subsided. When I went downstairs in the morning, I found the source of the howling. One of the windows in the kitchen had been left slightly open. But I knew, even though I tried to convince myself otherwise, there was no way the noise I was hearing now could could have been mistaken for the other howling. The howling of the dog.
That night, just the wind remained, and I still heard the howling. I made a very stupid decision that night. I went outside of my room to find the source of the howling. As I made my way down the hall, all the hair on my body stood up on end. I moved down the stairs, but I already knew where the noise was coming from. The doggy door was flapping in the wind, madly, and the howling was coming from the basement.
I stood there staring, half expecting the noise to suddenly stop, but it just went on and on.
Have you ever heard a dog die? The noise they make? That howl of pain and desperation. I have. My neighbor had a dog that got hit by a speeding car. The noise I heard from the basement, and the noise I heard from that dog were one in the same.
I ended up sitting on the couch that night. You see, I didn’t feel in danger anymore. The air was filled with this sense of pain, not anger, and something was keeping me from leaving. Once the sun came up, I called the owners of the house, giving in to my superstition, I asked them if their dog had died in the house. They said yes, but it had died peacefully of old age in the backyard.
They asked me if I’d been hearing noises around the house, and when I confirmed it, they told me that other people had also heard those noises, but not everyone, only certain people. Then they told me about the dog that died in the basement.