Body in the Basement

Our next objective was the new section of basement, which was separate from the original basement. I was most curious about what Cyra might find in the two basements, but I have to admit I didn’t know what to expect. Would she confirm what Justin and the other psychic had claimed, that somewhere beneath our feet lay the bones of a boy who died in an accident that was ruled a suicide? Or would she find nothing, or sense someone or something completely different? It was the ultimate test, a chance to validate a case unlike any other I had encountered before.

As we descended the stairs, I recalled earlier that I had said to Bob and Mike on the drive over, "I don’t know what Cyra will find, but if she says there’s a boy buried under the house I’ll grab a shovel and start digging."

I guess I should have brought a shovel.

The new basement is neat and clean and not the least bit spooky—at least visually. To someone as sensitive as Cyra Greene, outward appearances have little to do with the energetic reality of a place. After just a few moments in the basement, Cyra began moving both hands back and forth over her heart, and spoke the following words:

"Heart. Palpitating. Oh my God, something happened here. Something really happened here. It’s like a strong vibration."

Cyra walked to her right a few steps, but came right back to the spot where she felt the most intense energy. Then she spoke one of the most remarkable sentences I’ve heard in my entire ghost hunting career.

"I wonder if anyone is buried right here. Right here."

So there it was. No prior knowledge, no lucky guess, no coincidence. Before my very eyes, this woman almost immediately felt the spirit from a body whose remains were beneath our feet. I glanced over to Mike and we needed no words to express our astonishment. But it got even better…

Death Breath

A few seconds later, there was a deep, hollow sound from above. It was faint, and sounded like it originated from the second floor, or perhaps even as far away as the attic. I likened it to the sound of striking one of those large tanks used for home heating oil—the point being it had a slight reverberation and seemed metallic. Tense moments passed in the darkness of the murder room…

Then came one of the most shocking sounds I have ever heard. It came from the northwest corner of the room, somewhere near where the Van Winkles would have been sleeping peacefully, moments before the hatchet and butcher knife were to do their awful work. It began as a soft whistling or rasping, and was so clear that at first I thought it must be something perfectly normal. Then it grew into a deep, wheezing sound, as if fluid-filled lungs were struggling to draw one last breath. Then there was an agonizingly slow exhale…then silence.

It’s impossible to adequately describe this encounter, or how deeply it impacted us. Mrs. Van Winkle had died on the floor in a pool of her own blood within minutes of the brutal attack, and there we were 154 years later, quite possibly at the exact moment of her death, distinctly hearing what I would swear in court sounded like someone’s dying breath!