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  • Writer's pictureArthur Mills

Candle Face Victim #27: 'I Love You' A Paranormal Puzzle

Candle Face Victim #27: 'I Love You' A Paranormal Puzzle

April 25, 2024


It’s been six days since my last nocturnal visitor. These encounters have taken me on a rollercoaster of emotions, from dread to anticipation and back to fear. Thankfully, I had a short break. But that ended abruptly this morning. As I settled on the couch, ready for sleep, I noticed the shadow in the far corner of the living room start to expand. “Here we go,” I thought, my heart pounding in my chest. I took a deep breath, preparing for the spirit’s approach. The figure, a young man in his early to mid-twenties draped in a sheet, surveyed me before moving closer. My steady, silent gaze met his eyes, signaling him to begin. And so, he shared his story:

I left my apartment in San Marcos, heading to my parents’ place near Houston. After entering their address into my GPS, I set off late in the evening, hoping to avoid the Christmas season traffic. My journey took me along Highway 80. Near the small town of Stairtown, I noticed a man in a construction vest and hard hat on the side of the road. He held a large white sign above his head, which read, “CONTINUE STRAIGHT,” accompanied by a black arrow pointing forward. He waved as I drove past, seeming like a construction worker directing traffic despite no apparent construction.
A few minutes later, I encountered a woman wearing a construction vest and hard hat, displaying a sign that read, “KEEP GOING, YOU’RE ALMOST THERE.” She waved, and I honked my horn in response. By then, my GPS signal had dropped, forcing me to rely on my memory, which was shaky since it was only my third time driving this route.
Where Highway 80 and Highway 183 intersect, another woman held a sign with an arrow pointing straight ahead. I hesitated, thinking I needed to turn right, but she pointed directly at me and instructed me to continue straight. As I complied, she shouted, “I love you!” prompting me to laugh and honk in return.
At an intersection, a group stood, each holding a sign. One sign caught my attention; it read, “BEYOND THIS PATH LIES THE UNKNOWN. TRUST YOUR HEART TO LEAD YOU HOME.” It felt like a prank by my college friends, who knew I’d be passing through.
Feeling more relaxed and entertained by the apparent joke, I sped up. Moments later, I spotted three friends from school by the roadside, waving signs that read, “YOU MADE IT,” “WELCOME HOME,” and “I LOVE YOU.” As they suddenly jumped in front of my car, I swerved to avoid hitting them, skidding to a halt on the dirt road. I leaped out, greeted by the glare of my car’s headlights.
“What are ya’ll doing here?” Laughter was my only response from my friends. They rushed to me, grabbed my arms, and began directing me to step across some barbed wire fencing. “Where’re we going?” I asked, a mix of excitement and apprehension in my voice.
“We’re going to a party, and you’re the guest of honor,” they replied, their voices now hollow.
Feeling a growing sense of unease, I hesitated. “Wait, I need to know where we’re going before I go any further,” I said, my voice trembling slightly.
“Don’t be a baby; we love you,” they chuckled, their tones now unmistakably menacing.
At that moment, my instincts screamed that something was deeply wrong. I took a step back towards the barbed wire fence. “I think I should head back to my car,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady.
In an instant, the familiar features of my three college friends contorted, their bodies stretching and twisting. Their once recognizable forms dissipated into tall, dark, swirling shadows that hovered just above the ground. The air around us grew hot and heavy, pressing against my skin.
One of the shadows moved closer, its form becoming more defined yet no less terrifying. It appeared almost human but elongated and distorted, like a reflection in a funhouse mirror. The voice that emerged from it was unexpectedly smooth, chillingly serene against its ghastly appearance. “This isn’t a request,” it said.
Slowly, it tilted its head towards an old structure hidden deep in the thick brush, barely visible. The shadows stripped me of my clothes and dragged me to this house. The house seemed to sag under the weight of countless years, its windows dark and vacant.
“Come,” the shadow urged. “She is waiting for you.”
The shadows pushed me forward against my will. “No, I... I need to go,” I responded, but the shadows didn’t heed my protests. They, instead, ushered me through the door. Once inside, the old wood under my feet creaked like bones cracking with every step. The air was hot and heavy; each breath I took felt heavier than the last, filled with the smell of decay and old earth.
The shadows were now silhouetted against dozens of candles along the room’s perimeter and center. The flames guided me to the center of an old, dusty room.
Suddenly, the space around me began to glitter, and from the shadows, Candle Face emerged. She wasn’t a young girl from the stories I have heard, but a tall and slender woman, her wax-like face illuminated softly by the candlelight. The hollow eye sockets, dark and deep, seemed to look right into my soul.
Candle Face said to me with a wrinkled brow, “I am irate,” she began, her voice echoing around the room, “that you refuse to believe in me. Despite my many attempts and all I have done for you, your doubt has worn my patience thin.” The air grew hotter with each word, the shadows around us growing more intense.
I tried to speak, apologize, and plead, but fear tightened around my throat, squeezing the words back down.
“You will not ignore me any longer,” Candle Face declared. With a wave of her hand, the floorboards beneath me gave way and landed softly but firmly just below the house.
As my eyes adjusted, I noticed I wasn’t alone. Dozens of others lay under the floorboards, their eyes hollow yet seemingly looking right at me. In a haunting chorus, they sang, “I love you,” over and over again.
As I lay there, trapped beneath the house’s floorboards, Candle Face had more to say. She wasn’t done with me yet, she said in a faint yet unmistakable voice, “One day, someone will come looking for you, someone who loves you,” Candle Face said, her voice fading into the enveloping shadows, laughing as her voice faded.
The silence that followed was deafening and thick with the scent of old earth. I felt the presence of the other spirits around me, each trapped in their own nightmare, their stories untold and forgotten, their fates sealed like mine.
“It is not merely to torment you that I bind you here,” Candle Face’s voice emerged again. “There is a way out of this darkness, a puzzle that, if solved, will break the chains that tether you to this place.”
A flicker of light appeared above me as if the mere mention of escape gave me hope. “Listen well,” she continued, “for this riddle is your only key to salvation. The only one who truly understands the depths of this house’s power can unravel its meaning and grant you release.”
The air grew even hotter, and I braced myself as she delivered the riddle.
The silence returned but now charged with the faintest chance of possibility—that someone could come, solve the riddle, and free me from Candle Face’s hell. Who’s this person who will come looking for me? The answer remained trapped within the walls of the haunted house, just as I remained trapped under its creaking boards.

The spirit paused at the threshold of the shadowy portal, glancing over its shoulder. It offered me a weary smile before turning to leave.

“Wait,” I called out, louder than I intended. The sharpness of my own voice startled both of us. The spirit whirled around, eyes wide with surprise—and perhaps fear. I realized then that I had made a grave mistake. Candle Face had explicitly warned me against conversing with the lost souls. Yet, here I was, having already crossed that line.

Accepting my error, I decided to seize the moment. “What’s the riddle? What did Candle Face tell you? If you expect my help, you must help me. What’s the riddle?” I demanded.

The spirit cast a wary look back into the shadows, then back at me, a silent acknowledgment that it had nothing to lose. “She posed this riddle: ‘Across the cemetery’s silent stones, I love you pierces through the bones. Who hears this declaration low, where none but departed souls may go?’”

With those words, he turned back, stepping hesitantly towards the portal. He paused, seemingly torn, and a calm but firm voice from within the shadows called out, “Come.” With a nod, he disappeared into the darkness.

Personal Note to My Readers

I scribbled the riddle onto a sheet of paper and hurried to my computer to document the rest of his testimony. What could this riddle mean? “Across the cemetery’s silent stones, ‘I love you’ pierces through the bones. Who hears this declaration low, where none but departed souls may go?” The recurring theme of “I love you” threads through everything—from the road signs and the “construction workers” to the shadows, the spirits under the floorboards, and now this riddle. What does “I love you” mean relating to this lost soul?

Frustrated by a lack of answers from an online search, I pondered reaching out to the paranormal community. However, they often seemed more preoccupied with chasing dusk particles on camera lenses than engaging with genuine paranormal cases. Perhaps I’ll go on a trip to see it for myself. It’s just less than two hours away. After all, with 30 years of intelligence and investigations under my belt, it was time to rely on myself to find the answers.


Key To Understanding

To ensure readers grasp the full context and significance of this article, it’s crucial to be familiar with Arthur Mills’ award-winning memoir The Empty Lot Next Door, inspired by actual ghostly events in Austin, TX. The book provides essential background information, and without it, the nuances and depth of this article might not be fully appreciated. Therefore, reading The Empty Lot Next Door is highly recommended for a more enriched and coherent understanding of this article’s content and implications.

To purchase The Empty Lot Next Door, please visit Amazon



Antique typewriter, a portal to the chilling narratives within Candle Face Chronicles: The Journal. Immerse yourself in user accounts, victim stories, and paranormal clues. Join the investigation, unravel mysteries, and contribute to the collective knowledge in this gripping journey into the supernatural.

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