Rumors of torture devices in March basement

  • Published
  • By Linda Welz
  • 452 AMW public affairs
(First in a four-part series of things that go bump in the night)

There have been a couple of reports that a basement on March Air Reserve Base houses "shackles" hanging from the ceiling behind a stairwell. Are the rumors valid? If so, why are they there and what were they used for?

I was curious, so when my friend, Senior Airman Joe Mora, 452nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron, called to see if I would join him on a hunt, a ghost hunt, I jumped at the chance.

Mora, whose hobby is paranormal investigation, had heard the stories as well.

"I would inquire at the lodging office to see if anything paranormal had been reported to the front desk personnel," Mora said.

He heard stories of a morgue, crematorium, ashes and the shackles.

"I said, 'Shackles? What are you talking about; shackles?' What kind of a place was this?" Mora said. "I got really curious and that's what made me want to head out to that location."

Also joined by Marissa Murguia, a March Inn employee, we arrived at the building late at night on Saturday, Sep. 6, 2014. We walked through a few cobwebs as we descended the stairs into the darkened basement.

After setting up several pieces of equipment throughout the expansive space and testing each room to see what might trigger some of the devices causing a false reading, we went lights out and began walking from room to room with only our penlights to guide our way.

As we approached a small door in the upper portion of a wall, near some stairs, we saw what looked like shackles hanging from the ceiling, right under the stairwell, like we had heard from several people. They were different sizes and rusted beyond repair. About the same time, we saw a sign next to the small, elevated door that said, "Morgue."

"My imagination was going too far when I saw that sign," said Murguia. "At first I was getting scared, but then I told myself that everything was fine."

It was apparent, by the morgue sign that the hole in the wall opened to what, in the past had been used as necessary space to hold corpses, possibly during the WWII era. Currently, it was just a dark and dusty hole in the wall.

We turned our attention to the antique-looking contraptions hanging from the ceiling and began to discuss what they could be and how they could have been used. It's funny how the mind wonders when one is in a dark, dingy basement, next to a former morgue. Some of the theories we came up with were insane.

It was when we noticed the different sized holes in opposing walls on either side of the "shackles" that we figured out that they were not shackles, but supports for pipes that previously ran through the building near the ceiling. Not as wild a story as we had heard, but it calmed our nerves a little.
So, suffice to say that there was no torture at March Field but the stories will continue to evolve each Halloween season. Happy hunting!