Reader Submission: Old Man Bailey’s Ghost Light

moon at night
“I’ve had my fair share of sightings while growing up in the historic town of Bailey’s Prairie, TX. But the one that sticks out in my mind, and one I’ve made a ritual to tell every year at Halloween, is my run-in with Mr. Britt Bailey.

The story goes that if you drive down Hwy 36 between Angleton and West Columbia around midnight, you will see a glowing ball of light roaming around the prairie. And that, of course, is Old Man Bailey looking for the whiskey bottle that his loving wife refused to bury with him. I personally have seen Mr. Bailey’s light a dozen times while driving through the area. But one night was different.

It was a cold and foggy October night. And though I never made it a habit to be out after nightfall, this night brought circumstances out of my control. It was midnight, and I was driving in such fog that I couldn’t see a foot in front of me. Then out of nowhere, a deer darted out in front of my car. I slammed on the brakes and my car began to spin out of control. Round and round it went till it finally came to a stop.

As I gathered myself together, although still very shook up, I realized I was out in a field somewhere. I fearfully tried to restart my stalled car, but to no avail. I had no choice but to get out of my car and try to find a road and hopefully someone to help me.

As I stepped out, I looked around and saw nothing but an old cemetery. I had almost driven through the fence of the old Bailey’s Prairie Cemetery which is located right off the road but is nowhere near any homes. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized I had no idea what to do. Then I saw it. Bailey’s light!

Fear overcame me. Yes, I had seen the light before, but that was from the safety of my moving car. This light was right in front of me. I was frozen. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. The light was about as big as a basketball. It looked like someone was holding a flashlight, yet no one was there. It began to circle me and then my car. I slowly began to walk sideways and then turned and ran back inside my car, locking the doors behind me.

As I looked around, I couldn’t see the light any more. It had vanished. Still shaking and scared, I tried to start my car one more time. And to my disbelief, it started! I quickly turned the car around, got back on the road, and headed home.

The next day, after a few hours of sleep, I began to wonder. How did my car start after being totally dead? Did Old Man Bailey come to help me? I realize now that I’ll truly never know what happened that night. 25 years later, the incident still remains a mystery to me. But it has definitely added some more character to my annual Halloween stories.”

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