A Ghost Light in 19th Century Bristol, CT

Sometimes when doing research on one topic, you come across an unexpected find, such as this account of a ghostly light in 19th century Connecticut:

In 1822, a woman named Stiles, who lived in the Gideon Roberts house, called one evening, at the home of my father, who was then nine years of age. Later in the evening her family heard groans outside the door,and found her in an unconscious state from which she never rallied, but died soon after being taken into the house. Medical aid was summonsed, but nothing could be done to relieve her. A postmortem examination revealed the fact that she had been assaulted and outraged by a number of fiends in human shape, the scene of the assault being traced to an orchard some distance north of my father’s residence, in what has long been called the Bunker Hill lot, on the Barnum farm. That she had been carried from the orchard to her home was shown by her shoes having been removed and left under the trees, while her stockings were not soiled. The criminals were never detected. Some time afterwards, at night, when any one came up Peck Lane past the scene of the crime, a light would appear, which would keep along abreast of the traveller, but inside of the fence, and when nearly out to the comer of the mountain road, it would turn eastward toward the deceased woman’s home, and disappear. I have talked with one or two persons who solemnly declared they had seen this light, beside my father, who remembered it distinctly. The lane ceased to be used as a thoroughfare for some time afterward, by the timid, after nightfall.

From Bristol, Connecticut, in the olden time “New Cambridge” which includes Forestville. (1907)

I find this an especially interesting account is that it links a haunting to a specific murder victim, rather than the sort of nebulous causes usually proffered in ghostly tales, and that it is recorded in an early 20th century town history rather than a cheaply printed unproofread book by Schiffer.

In a brief survey of the usualparanormalwebsites, I don’t see any modern references to a haunting on Peck Lane in modern Bristol… lots of highly dubious fact-free online claims of other hauntings, but nothing on Peck Lane.

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