Daily Archives: October 27, 2011

Scared Of My Own Shadow…And The Light

It was a relief to see Mama Kat’s list of Writer’s Workshop prompts this week and realize that I could participate and still keep with my Bacon’s Castle theme.

The prompt I chose is:

3.) Something that scared the {heck} out of you when you were a child.

My grandmother lived less than a half mile from us during my childhood.  Of her twelve children, ten of them lived within an easy drive of her house.  Mom and I went to visit Grandma everyday, so I was frequently in the company of my aunts and uncles.

Since the family lived in Bacon’s Castle while all of them were young, the conversation during family gatherings many times would center on events that took place there.

Now, Bacon’s Castle has a history of strange happenings occuring in and around the property, the most familiar being “The Castle Light”.  Supposedly a ball of light travels from the Castle House across a field to a nearby cemetery.  There hasn’t been talk of anyone seeing it for a long, long time. But many years ago, most everyone in the community professed to seeing it.

My mom, realizing that I was a child afraid of my own shadow, did her best to steer the conversation away from the Castle Light whenever possible. She knew that, although I may not have questions while listening to the stories, I would most certainly have them later. At home. After dark.

Today, I’m sharing a few stories about the Castle Light, shared by my family. Most of these I learned after I was grown, by talking with my aunts and uncles –  without Mom’s censorship.

Not all of the children in the family could actually see the light. My youngest aunt, Sarah, was one that could see it. She told me that one evening, when she was around 12 years old (this would have been 1937), she had ridden with her dad to town to pick up a prescription for an elderly man who lived in a little house behind the Castle. As they were driving home down the lane, they could see a light, about the size of a basketball, bouncing along the path in front of them. It stopped over the little house where the elderly man lived. When her daddy went to the door with the medicine, the man’s family told Grandaddy that he had just passed away. When Aunt Sarah looked again, the light was gone.

Aunt Sarah also told me that my grandma could see the Castle Light. On one occasion, she had awakened during the night and gone to the kitchen.  Electricity hadn’t yet come to the area, so the house was dark. Suddenly the kitchen was filled with a bright light. My grandma screamed and then fainted.  You may recall that she had 12 children, so I doubt that she was one to faint easily.

All during my childhood, my mom always pushed aside the idea of the Castle Light, saying she didn’t believe in it and had never seen it.  But at one point, I guess she decided I was old enough to handle the truth.

She finally told me that she had seen something she couldn’t explain. After she and my dad were married (in 1929), they went to visit her parents one evening. (Again, remember  there was no electricity. Oil lamps were the only lighting.) As they were driving down the lane, the front room that was used as a parlor was lit with a brilliant light.

By the time they got to the house, the light was gone. She asked her mother who had been in the parlor. Grandma said: “No one’s been in there. No one’s here except your Papa and me, and we’ve both been back here in the sitting room”.

My Aunt Martha shared stories of seeing the Castle Light, but she added humor to hers. One night, she was upset with her Papa and ran upstairs to her bedroom. She glanced out the window and saw the Castle Light, and soon afterward, heard footsteps on the stairs, so she hid under the covers.  Then she told herself that the light couldn’t be walking up the steps. It turns out that it was her daddy coming to check on her.

I wish I had documented all the stories my aunts and uncles told. Just imagine how many more I could have heard if I hadn’t been such a scaredy cat.

Mama’s Losin’ It