Seems Insane!

Trapped in a Self-Storage Unit—A True Story

Trapped in a Self-Storage Unit—A True Story Expand options

For spooky season 2020, we asked MakeSpace customers if they had any scary stories about being trapped in a self-storage unit from their previous experiences. We didn’t expect to receive an expertly written and equally chilling story of what happens when the storage facility leaves you locked inside.

In the future, skip the spooks and store with MakeSpace from the comfort of your own home.

Submitted by Petr Shchepilov:

“My ex moved out to a different state, but asked me to put her things into storage for her. It was a cold winter day in NY. The storage has no windows and the entrance is a big metal door that opens to a small empty concrete lobby with no chairs or phone with access to only the office where you sing in\out and a metal door with a remote lock to the elevators and stairs to the units. The door opens from the outside if the employee in the office room presses a button but can be opened manually from the inside with a school-style push lever. I went in, signed the sheet at the get-in time section, got buzzed through the locked door and moved all the stuff in. The storage facility isn’t heated so some minutes in I cursed myself for not putting on warmer clothes. After I was done I noticed there were still some minutes left before closing time and no one notified me on the speaker system like they sometimes do that the time is running out so I didn’t worry. 

But I should have, because once I got inside the lobby I noticed no one was at the office and the lights were out. And once I got in, there was no going back into storage – the door is locked from the outside. I needed to sign out, so I tried the door – maybe the employee went out for a minute. But they never showed up. I tried the main entrance door – it was locked from the outside too. No worries – I’ll call the company number. Phone died! Because of course it did. It was the end of the day and I didn’t have an opportunity to charge it. But no worries! I have a charger with me. Surely virtually any room should have a socket these days, especially a storage facility lobby. Not this one. The sockets are either in the office or through the door towards the units. Bathroom too, by the way, so I had to quickly try to forget about needing to go there.

Shouting didn’t help, neither was waving at the only thing in the room – a security camera hanging in the corner. I was alone. Banging the door wouldn’t help either – it was a very secluded area with nothing on the street except for the storage facility. I was cold, scared, phoneless and starting to get hungry. I was also just now completely realizing I had to stay the night and wait for the door to open for the morning shift, since there was no other option. And since there was nothing in the lobby, the only place to sleep was the concrete floor. The air was already cold enough but the floor must have been closer to 0 celsius or under since it was a single piece of foundation that went under the door to the outside where it was freezing and getting even colder since night was closing in.

I chose the farthest corner from the outside door, hoping it’ll save me a couple degrees. I couldn’t fall asleep just like that, it wasn’t even that late yet, but all I had to entertain me were some blu-ray boxes I took out of storage. I know the back of Days of Heaven criterion edition box by heart now. More tormenting than the lack of reading material was the taunting last line describing the box’s special features: “PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Adrian Martin and a chapter from director of photography Nestor (forgot last name)’s autobiography”. What luck! More stuff to read and distract myself from this situation. I open the box and of course there is no booklet in it. I must have thrown it out thinking: “when would I ever want to read it?” All what was there was the disk. The irony wasn’t lost on me – film is an amazing form of entertainment, except not when there is no way of playing it so the supplemental material becomes the main attraction. I began singing whatever came to mind both to cheer myself up and hope that someone might hear me from the outside somehow. I went through all the songs I knew multiple times and my throat started getting sore so I stopped. 

That’s when I tried going to sleep in the cold stillness of the late night storage facility with a concrete floor, trying to have the least amount of contact to it by leaning against the wall. Despite the shivering I felt myself eventually drifting off. But that’s when the banging started. 

I was instantly wide awake. The banging came from the metal door from the outside. It was so powerful it reverberated through the entire multi-level facility like your body does when the train passes by in the subway. At first I thought it was a person which gave me hope, but only for a second, because why then were they so aggressive? Are they breaking in? Were they after me? I started imagining police, FBI, ghosts and zombies. I howled my hellos and i’m-stuck-here’s but realized it could not have been a person, because the noise was too powerful and clangy. I then remembered that there is a metal chain hanging off the side of the entrance probably to lower the storefront metal curtains. The wind picked up and made the chain swing which is why it sounded like metal on metal.

It felt surreal and cruel like the beginning of a Saw movie – one second you are enjoying life in the pinnacle of civilization, one of the most populated cities on earth, the next – trapped alone and cold with only a camera pointing at you in some kind of sleep deprivation experiment. I was blaming my ex, myself, the employees of the facility – everybody. Aren’t the sign-in sheets there so they can make sure the person checked out anyway? But that wasn’t productive so I tried to stay focused on just good thoughts. 

It felt like eternity but it must have been about 6 am when I heard the metal curtains rolling up. I was past being mad or upset so the employee was extra confused finding me there all calm and awake. I just asked him to please drive me home, and he did right away. I was still shivering even in a very hot shower, but fell asleep right away after and felt ok the next day.

I tried contacting lawyers about this but they told me unless I was physically hurt, there isn’t much I could do. And it was just after a breakup, so I left all the remaining bad memories in that storage, so I didn’t want to deal with it anymore.

I’m glad I found MakeSpace after that. It’s much harder to get locked in one of those green boxes.”

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