Flying Fireball of Bacon's Castle
What the Virginia colonists saw in the fall of 1675 shocked and frightened them. A comet blazed its way across the sky with a tail of fire. But it wasn't the sight of the comet that scared them. They knew the comet would haunt them for months to come. It was an omen of the blood shed to befall the area. This is the tale of the fireball of Bacon's Castle.
Soon after the comet made its appearance, tens of thousands of pigeons amassed in the sky. they were so many that the sky darkened for days. Then, in the spring of 1676, a plague of locusts hit the area hard. It seems the bad omen of the comet was coming true. If they had only known what was in store for them in the summer of 1676...
On a quiet Sunday morning in 1676 an apparent Indian attack on an overseer for the Staford County Plantation named Robert Hen started a violent insurrection called Bacon's Rebellion named for the handsome, educated and very capable leader of the rebellion, Nathan Bacon. The natives attacked and killing seemingly at will, and the Governor of Virginia unwilling to do anything about the attacks, Nathan Bacon led a group of men against the Indians including one march that killed or captured over 100 men. Governor Berkley then sent troops to capture Bacon and his men.
After he was captured, Bacon repented for his actions but shortly after escaped from Berkley's jail before he returned to Jamestown with six hundred men and burned the town to the ground. The Governor, having been outmatched in Jamestown, retreated to the shore to regroup and prepare to regain his town.
His glorious battle with Nathan Bacon never happened. Bacon contracted malaria and died on October 21, 1676. Their leader lost, the rebellion broke down. Most of the men involved were captured and many were hanged. What was once known as "Allen's brick house" came to be known as "Bacon's Castle" due to the fact that some of the rebellion members had occupied the house for a brief time.
The ghost stories at Bacon's Castle are numerous. One preacher staying there saw a rocking chair start to move on its own. Scared badly by this, the preacher exclaimed "Satan, get thee behind me!" and the chair stopped. Other reports contain things such as moaning coming from an empty attic and a two year old child waking his parents up laughing in the middle of the night. Upon investigation the father found the son in his crib where the child asked "Daddy, where's the lady who was just tickling me?". There was no one else in the house.
The one sighting that everyone fears is the Flying Fireball. It has appeared with regularity at Bacon's Castle for generations in front of credible people both old and young. Those who've seen it describe it as simply a ball of fire. It rises from the nearby Old Lawne's Creek Church cemetery into the air about forty feet and slowly drifts north. Theories abound about what the ball of fire is, skeptics claim there is a perfectly good explanation for it (although no one has presented one) and yet there are believers who claim the ball is The Devil himself in hellfire form.
A former owner of the plantation saw the light out of his window and rushed outside thinking his barn was on fire. Another person woke up to find the ball circling his bed before flying back out the window. A church was meeting outside in the graveyard and everyone there claimed to have seen the ball of fire. There have even been reports of the ball exploding on an individual and burning them to death.
What caused the light? No one knows for sure. Reportedly, there was a stash of money found in the house years ago during a remodeling project. Since then, no one has seen the ball. Others claim that the ball is a reminder of the comet that caused the pigeons, locusts and the Bacon Rebellion. I for one am happy to let the flying fireball of Bacon's Castle rest, if it is resting, in peace.