That's My Basement! Why are Basements So Creepy?

That's My Basement!
Why are Basements So Creepy?

So why are basements so creepy? Basements aren’t even all over the country. Some places can’t have them because the land isn’t solid enough. Or strong enough. Or something. Many people in coastal towns may not have even experienced the horror that is unfinished basements. If you google the words “creepy basements” and then click on the image search, you’ll come up with a plethora of fun and horrifying images. Some of them are clearly props for movies, but the vast majority of them seem like genuine photos of someone’s actual creepy cellar.

Comedians have spoken about this phenomena, people laugh about it, some people even have to wear a mask in order to brave the moldy terrain of their basement to do laundry. Filled with cobwebs, wooden beams, chains, moist stone walls, dark spaces, exposed pipes, water heaters, furnaces, dust, and last but not least stairs without risers, our collective living arrangements are a mystery. Basements are meant to be a structural aid. And in colder climates the foundation must be below the frost line. With the advent of architecture, engineering, and design, it seems so absurd and laughable that we’d be faced with images like this today. With all that we’ve accomplished in the realm of architecture, why is it that basements remain an unfinished, creepy mystery?

Why do basements exist? Besides the structural and foundational reasons of course. If it were structure only, they’d just be solid and filled with concrete or big deep wells in the ground. But it just so happens that they’re often used to store things. Ugly things. Dirty things. Things people may not have a garage in which to contain. And things which would be too large, messy, or smelly to store in a closet. Things like auto supplies, motor oil, chainsaws, gas cans, washing and drying machines, as well as tools, miscellaneous equipment, and industrial products. Many of the items that we keep in our basements, we probably shouldn’t be keeping in our homes at all, but that’s our basement!

Why do some places not have the dreaded cellar? Well according to McCain Construction, there can be a few reasons. The water table is too high, the ground is too hard scrabble, meaning too rocky to dig into. And sometimes there’s too much sand, that’s one of the reasons for lack of cellar dwellings in coastal places with lots of beaches. For the search why are basements so creepy, there really aren’t any definitive answers or explanations. And in searching for why they’re unfinished, one only comes up with mostly reasons for and against finishing them, the costs, DIY concerns, and options therein. It’s not really a mystery that is easily solved it seems.

The creepy image search on Google was quite fun. One of them even had what looked like stains on the wall and stairs. I’m going to assume that those stains were motor oil or some other sort of industrial product. Yes, that’s certainly what it was.

Check out uglyhousephotos.com for an interesting perceptual illusion picture of a basement. I’d like to propose a game. Everyone sends in their respective creepy basement photos and then I’ll scramble them up, post them in a slideshow and then everyone has to try and match up their name with their basement, by saying “That’s My Basement!”. If you’d like to get started on the creepy basement game, please email me some photos of your creepy basement and I’ll post them in a follow up blog and make a fun matching game out of it.

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