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 


24 responses to “Scared Of My Own Shadow…And The Light

  1. This was a phenomenon that we grew up hearing about as well – seeing a strange light meant someone was about to die. Of course, this was just one of many superstitions we were raised up beliving. Seems like it worked for the Castle as well. Great post – very timely!

  2. Near where my grandparents lived in northern Minnesota, there was also a light phenomena — balls of light would roll out of a marshy area and down the dark road. They were always suggesting possible solutions to the mystery, one of the most plausible being a type of organic gas formed in the peat with phosphorescent qualities. Not as scary as your story though…

  3. Spooky. And oh so interesting. I love that your mom protected you…and then finally let you know about her own experience!

  4. Whoa! Those kinds of stories scared me to death as a kid too. Oh wait a minute…they still do! 😮

  5. Oh my…makes me think we should remain wary of those lights and perhaps in this day and age we just miss or dismiss them. They must be real because so many of yours told about them. Your picture of BC is an antique treasure.

    • Georgette, I should have written about that picture. It was on a mantle in the Castle House when my family moved in there in the early 1920’s. Aunt Sarah loaned me the picture to scan and told me she wanted it to be mine when she was gone. Sadly, she didn’t make that official, so that didn’t happen.

  6. Glad you shared the stories about the Castle Light. Since I’m a “little” older than you, I heard a lot of stories about The Light.
    Love that old picture of Bacon’s Castle….I think that fence was gone long before Grandma and Grandaddy moved there.

  7. Write down as many stories now as you can remember. And what you can’t remember … just make it up!

  8. It does make you wonder, doesn’t it? These stories need to be saved on a CD; after all, is anyone else able to remember them? This was a very good story for this Halloween season!

  9. Oh I just love these stories! Coupled with the haunting picture of the castle they are just perfect for this season of spooks and goblins. I am so enjoying of your rich family history. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. What a fun spooky intriguing side to Bacon Castle. I enjoy family stories like this. Thanks for sharing this mystery with us. 🙂

  11. I have the chills. I just love the way you tell these stories! And what a haunting (yet beautiful) photo at the end. Perfect for Halloween 🙂

  12. Oh. My. Gosh.
    When I hear things like this I just gotta believe that there is more to this world than meets the eye.
    Fantastic story – well written *again*. Such a bummer you didn’t end up with the original photo – bet you are so very glad you were at least able to scan it!
    And…I totally agree with Mrs. Weber, “…haunting (yet beautiful) photo at the end. Perfect for Halloween”!!

  13. Interesting lore. I l chuckled about your grandma raising 12 children, didn’t faint easily…No, I don’t imagine she did!

  14. This is a great story, Dianna! I’ve heard of these types of lights seen in other places, too. Kinda spooky! I saw a strange light a couple of different times in our bedroom while trying to get to sleep. I didn’t want to think it was real and chalked it up to some kind of strange phenomena associated being half asleep! The light I saw wasn’t in the shape of a ball, but more like a starburst sort of like fireworks.

  15. Oops! I should proofread before submitting! I should have said “associated WITH being half asleep! And I should have added that I was too chicken to mention this in my strange happenings post!

  16. A super interesting post with such perfect stories for Halloween and just think – – – they’re TRUE! I am very familiar with those balls of light – never SEEN one myself but certainly know people who have and read many stories about them. The photo of the Castle just adds to the “flavor” of your whole post. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!


  17. at least it seemed to be a friendly spirit!

  18. Ohhhh, I love these stories! I am gonna share this one with my hubby tonight 🙂

  19. I got chills reading the story where they saw the light and the old man had just passed away!! And LOVE the picture… SPOOKY! In time for Halloween!!

  20. These NEVER get old!!! The perfect close-to-Halloween Castle post! As you may know, this happens to be my favorite Castle pic.. Enjoying the stories in the comments, too !

  21. you write wonderful stories!! xo

  22. Wonderful and fun read Dianna! I always enjoy your posts for Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop, love your writing. I think it’s ok to be a scaredy cat! I would have been screaming like a little schoolgirl!!!

  23. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    I too have heard some of the tales of Bacon’s Castle as a child. Who’s to truly know!!

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