Last night, after a long day packing, I took a different route home. Instead of the freeway, I took a more leisure rural route. It was a nice night at 67F with a slight breeze so I had all the windows rolled down. I love to drive and exploring a rural route at night on a windy, unfamiliar road was a thrill I haven’t experienced in quite a while. Along the way, at a junction a few miles out from my home yet, I stopped and wandered in a nearby field. Cool night air with a hint of moonlight sifting through the cloud layer above lent a light just bright enough see, but still holding on to that mystery complete darkness. The night was alive with the crickets and toads and their various songs and as I gazed out over the vast field, a mysterious spark of white light would appear and then fade as my gaze would shift over to focus on it. Intrigued, I watched as several such little sparks appear and disappear. The Bell Witch is rumored to play such tricks upon travellers and she supposedly haunts the area I am in*. My imagination immediately gets to work as my curiosity leads me to close in on a nearby light by a tree. After several minutes of observation, I realize these tiny little blue-white sparks are merely fireflies, though they aren’t giving off the golden drop of sunshine kind of light I am used to. Could it be a trick of the moonlight or is this a variation on the normal firefly, I wonder. Growing up in California, fireflies are magical creatures to me as they don’t exist where I grew up, so everything about them is a new wonder to me.
I stay in the field for a while longer enjoying the scene and taking in the night song of the wildlife. It’s soothing, apart from the few interruptions of passing motorists with their headlights on bright and their music turned up quite loud. Having grown up in a city, nights like this were few and far between and hardly ever without someone pestering me to get going somewhere. Letting your mind wander in such situations can be quite fun. I can easily see these blue-white lights being mistaken for Will-o-wisp luring people deeper into the night taking them on some adventure. The barks of a farmer’s dog being that of something far more savage prowling the night. Coyotes and deer do actually wander around this area and I have no doubt some of the rustling in the bushes I’d heard that night might have been one of them.
After some time, I head back to the car and make my way home. I feel more relaxed and less stressed. I breathe in deeply of the night air glad to have taken the long way home this night. Since I’m still recovering from my illness, once I do get home, I crash in bed as soon as possible, but it is a one that is less exhaustion and more of a natural sleep cycle (handy since mine’s been disrupted for many days).
*The Bell Witch of Adams county, Tennessee is by far, the strangest “ghost” story I’ve ever read about. It follows none of the usual conventions of a typical ghost story and is one of the very few that have made it into historical record. It is currently the only known case of a death certificate in the U.S. being issued as caused by a spirit. A short summary can be found here, but if you’re really interested, getting a book from the library on it would be the best way to go as the story and events of the town surrounding it during the haunting are quite interesting.