Until I was 9 years old I lived in a turn of the century small bungalow with my parents, two brothers and one sister. Our house was on Haven Road, a couple of blocks from the corner of Dufferin Street and Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto, Ontario. It was about 1966 or 1967 when the event happened.
My older brother, "Sam", and I shared a bedroom that we called the "bigaroom", as it was the larger of two bedrooms in the basement. It was at the far end of the basement away from the stairs.
One dark winter evening, when I was around 6 or 7 years old Sam and I were playing in the bigaroom. We heard an odd noise from the far reaches of the basement. It was the sound of wood scraping, only briefly, against the concrete floor of the unfinished part of the basement. We both acknowledged the sound but continued with what we were doing.
We then heard "doont" (a Mad Magazine description of that type of sound). It sounded like a wooden chair leg hitting the concrete, like a chair leg would do if rocked on the uneven basement floor. We assumed it was my 3 year younger brother, Paul, at the far end of the basement coming down to play with us. Since my father stored extra dining room chairs near the stairs we figured Paul was standing there inadvertently moving one as he decided whether or not to cross the "scary" unfinished part of the basement.
We called out to him, "Paul, we are in the bigaroom", but he did not come or answer us. We heard more noise of the wooden chair on the concrete floor and we called out again but Paul still did not answer us or come to the room. Assuming he was still too scared, Sam and I decided to go get him.
As we crossed the basement the scraping and "doont" sound increased. Paul must really have been pushing the chair around to make that much racket! When we got to the stair well Paul was not to be seen but we still heard the noise. Was he playing tricks on us and hiding?
The door on the bottom of the stairwell, when fully open, hid a storage area behind it. This must be where Paul was, as the sound came from there. I quickly pulled the door towards me to expose Paul but he was not there. The chair sure was though!
Now fully in our view the chair reached a new level of agitation. With no visible means of what was propelling it, the chair was scraping, rocking, slamming and bouncing on the concrete floor with amazing vigour. After mere seconds of taking in the incredible scene Sam and I bolted for the stairs and were in the living room in no time. There, by the way, was my brother Paul, watching the hockey game with my dad.
We stumbled over ourselves trying to tell my dad what had happened. He did not confirm or deny what we told him. Coming from thrifty lineage, he just calmly asked us if we had turned out the lights in the basement before we left it. We said no and reiterated our account and told him we were too afraid to return. He insisted that we turn out the lights in the basement and the bigaroom.
Scared stiff, we went down stairs. All was now silent. We ran past the chair area and into the bigaroom where I had to stand on a (different) chair to pull the chain that turned out the light. As soon as it clicked my brother ran for the stairs with me scrambling off of the chair to catch up to him.
We never had a "chair problem" again. In fact I owned those chairs as an adult, in the house I built and still live in with my wife. Over the years all but one of the chairs has broken and succumbed to the fire pit but the last survivor is still in my basement and remains properly quiet.
The only other account of note in that house was with my younger brother Paul. When he was a little older and had graduated to the other basement bedroom (the little room) He insisted that there were monsters coming into his bedroom through a wall. No one believed him. My mother in an attempt to calm him with logic asked him how they could come through solid walls. He looked around and decided they must come through the only opening he could find and said that they came through the electrical receptacles.
He seems to have forgotten all about this.
I saw, on a recent trip to Toronto, that the house has been torn down and replaced.