The Stories of Thomas Rowan
As written down by Rowena Westenberger Johnston
The farmer’s family spent a crisp fall day with relatives. They enjoyed pleasant company, hearty food and the jovial times families have when they gather after a long absence. The afternoon grew quite late.
Terry was concerned that on his way home he would cross an extensive bog in the dark. The peat was a maze of winding narrow paths. If you strayed from the path you could be up to your waist in black, murky vegetation - or worse.
Terry’s brother, Sean, suggested that the family stay the night but Terry declined insistent that they would navigate the bog with care. So Sean handed him a lantern and cautioned him against letting the wind extinguish the flame. He also warned Terry not to miss the right fork that would take him home.
Terry’s wife, Maureen, bundled the children and wrapped her wool shawl tightly about herself to shut out the penetrating dampness. They started across the bleak bog and cautiously wound left and right around the murky sinkholes. The early evening grew later and darker; Terry carefully lit his lantern.
Still they hadn’t spied the elusive fork in the path. The night became alarmingly quiet; the lantern flickered even though there was no wind. Behind them, an eeire gray light emerged. At once the light shot skyward; it swirled and twisted.
Each member voiced their uneasiness: "Who could be out on the bog at this time of night," Terry asked. "I don’t like the look of that light; it’s unnatural," said Marueen. "I’m scared, Da," said Megan. "I’ve heard people disappear out there," cried Bridget. The light darted, twisted and steadily grew larger. At times, the light took a tortured, almost human shape.
The flickering lamp grew faint and went out. From behind them, the ghostly light disappeared too. Though relieved, that family still faced a darkness so black that they couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces. How would they find the fork?
As they inched warily forward, the menacing light suddenly flared twenty feet ahead of them. It was red now, and they could feel the heat on their faces. "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, protect us," shouted Maureen, and pulled her children to her.
At the sound of her plea the light wavered twisted and shriveled; it grew smaller until it vanished! The lantern’s flame became alive again, first faint then with a strong glow. The path’s fork appeared immediately to their right.
From Things That Go Bump in the Night
One dawn as the mist hung thick and gray over the lonely moors, a farmer carried a peat shovel through the heavy fog to gather fuel needed for the home fires. After digging briefly, he heard a pleading voice call his name:
"Help me, Pat," the voice cried. "I’m sinking!" Peering about, Pat was startled to see one of the village’s wealthier citizens. A haughty man of questionable reputation, he was disliked by many townsfolk who referred to him as "the devil, himself."
"Help me; give me your hand!" shouted the desperate man, mired chest high in the muck of the bog. Pat’s outstretched hand couldn’t reach him. 'Grab my shovel!" said Pat. "God help us!" The frantic man grabbed at the shovel -- and vanished!
Frightened speechless and afraid he’d lost his sanity, Pat fled the desolate bog and raced toward town. His neighbor, Sean, approached Pat on the village outskirts and blurted the latest news: "The town money lender died only an hour ago."
"No, it can’t be true," said Pat. "I just saw him on the moor." The moneylender was the SAME man who clutched frantically at the shovel, Pat thought.
"He was sinking in the bog, and I tried to pull him out with this shovel." Pat raised the spade as he spoke. Sean stared incredulously; the color drained from his face. For there on the melted shaft of the metal shovel, were the glowing handprints of a man!”