THE COLE MOUNTAIN LIGHT

Near Moorefield, West Virginia


The orange and red light that has been seen on the slopes of Cole Mountain have mystified the local residents for well over 100 years... what secrets lay behind the origins of this southern "spook light"?

Outside of Moorefield, West Virginia stands Cole Mountain, an offshoot of the Appalachians and a place of mystery to many who live in the area. It is here that a strange light has been appearing since the middle part of the 1800's. The light has been reported by hundreds of people over the years and it is said to bob up and down the mountainside. No one has ever been able to get close to the light and it is best seen from a road at the base of the mountain.
Few recall the origins of the this odd phenomena, or when the sightings first started, but there is a legend that just might explain how this particular haunting came to be.

There was a local landowner named Charles Jones who took one of his most loyal slaves coon-hunting with him one night. The slave was carrying the lantern to light the path as the two men followed the barking of the dogs up onto the slopes of Cole Mountain. Suddenly, the dogs began to bay and Jones and the slave took off in pursuit. The slave, being much younger than Jones, took the lead with the lantern and his master followed.
When the boy found the dogs, he discovered that Jones was no longer behind him. The black man, although he was a slave, was also friends with Jones, who had always treated him kindly with love and respect. He went off in search of his master, hunting all night and all through the next morning. Finally, exhausted, he returned home but no trace of Jones had been found.

Overcome with fear, he told the Jones family what had happened and a new search party was started. Friends and neighbors gathered, and led by the slave, they returned to Cole Mountain. Groups of men searched for an entire week, but Charles Jones was never found. The slave was in torment. He had been devoted to Jones and cared for him so deeply that no one even considered that he would have harmed the man.
Long after everyone else had given up, he continued to search the mountain. Exactly one year to the night when his master had vanished, the slave took his lantern and returned to the mountain for one final search.... he was never seen again.

The people who live around Cole Mountain say that the light seen here is the lantern of the slave as he still searches for his missing friend. Many in the region have had strange encounters with it. Several times the light has chased hunters down off the mountain... the light has scared away their dogs and has made strange sounds that have frightened the hunters too.

Cole Mountain is located just south of Moorefield, West Virginia. The town is at the junction of Highway 55 and Highway 20 in the eastern tip of the state. The light can best be viewed from Highway 55.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor, All Rights Reserved

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