I wrote a narrative about a Corpse Candle in The Specials, when the character Edith Prentice nee Trewen tells a psychiatrist about her encounter with one. I based that episode on one which happened to me over a decade ago.
I was driving late from Wrenbury to Whitchurch on the back roads. It was a journey I had taken several times and never had a problem, but this night I felt lost. The narrow roads I usually took didn’t seem to be there and I turned right and left where I thought I should go, but didn’t seem to be getting nearer home. There was no phone signal, so I could call no one and I was feeling very anxious. There seemed to be a lot of electricity in the air and all the time I was trying to keep a lid on my panic, I was noticing that I could see no houses, car lights or hear any sounds. I couldn’t work out where I was and it was not until later when I went through the experience in my mind and checked on Google Maps that I worked out that it was somewhere between Marbury, Marley Green and Hollyhurst in a triangle between the meres.
I drove (unusually) slowly and suddenly there it was.
A yellow flame in the middle of the road in front of me.
I stopped the car and just held on to the steering wheel. I am not a scaredy cat type of person and always confront my fears, rather than hide from them, but this time I didn’t know what to do. The flame looked exactly like a candle flame, the same shape and the same kind of flickering. The base did not reach the ground and I estimated it to be about one metre tall and in 3D. I looked around but could not see any lights anywhere and no people. That was not unusual in itself, as you can see when you look at the map above. And it was almost midnight. I had no clue where I was. No clue.
I just stared at it for about two minutes, although to be honest I did not time myself. My mind could not compute what I was looking at. I drove a little closer and began to get out of the car to have a look. But, then I thought how stupid that would be. I was in the middle of nowhere and leaving the safety of the car might mean a criminal, a ghost or an alien could grab me, or take the car or… Think about the possibilities your frightened mind would come up with during an event like that. I thought of those and more. I have absolutely no idea why I did not take a photo, I didn’t think about that until much later.
So, I climbed back into my car, locked the doors and crept towards the flame. I did not reverse away, as I already didn’t know where I was and there was no way I could do a U turn . The flame did not move in front of me nor go out. I went on to the grass verge and went past it very slowly. The flame was hovering above the road, there was nothing igniting it, unless bare tarmac can magically produce this phenomena. I stopped next to it and checked that there was nothing on this lonely lane, bordered by narrow grass verges and hedgerows, except for this metre high flame and me. There was not.
By now, I wasn’t as scared, but still did not want to get out of the car. I felt as though I was electrified and I considered the possibility that I had died and should perhaps drive towards the light rather than around it.
But, I had a lot to do at home, so I drove quietly away instead of remaining. That was quite difficult to do though and I felt almost magnetised to the flame and wanted to stay there. Even as I drove away, I considered driving back and staying by it. I didn’t however and drove on, noticing in my rear view mirror that the flame was still there. I don’t remember much of the journey back until I arrived at the street lights of Whitchurch. Then the experience went round and round my mind, while I tried to make sense of it.
I couldn’t and although I mentioned it to a couple of people, I soon stopped when their response was, ‘Oh, it was probably just something alight which had been thrown from a car, ‘or more usually, ‘been drinking had you?’ Neither of those explanations applied.
I have thought about the phenomena on and off ever since. When I researched similar happenings, the corpse candle explanation fitted better than any other.
The only event which occurred a few weeks later and completely out of the blue, was the sudden and unexpected death of my dear brother Mark. I cannot say whether the two events are related and I have never seen a candle flame since.