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  • Writer's pictureArthur Mills

Distinguishing Reality from Imagination: The Candle Face Debate (Part 1)

Distinguishing Reality from Imagination: The Candle Face Debate (Part 1)

July 5, 2024

SPOILER ALERT: This journal entry contains insights about characters and themes in The Empty Lot Next Door. If you’re trying to avoid spoilers, it’s advisable not to read further until you’ve finished the book. Reading this journal entry may reveal important plot details that you’d rather discover on your own.


Welcome to a two-part series that explores the legend of Candle Face, an evil entity that has haunted my childhood. In this series, I’ll attempt to uncover the truth behind Candle Face's existence—or lack thereof. In this series’ first journal entry (this one), I’ll investigate the notion that Candle Face may be nothing more than a manifestation of my past trauma lurking in the shadows of my human psyche. However, in the second journal entry, I’ll scrutinize the alternative perspective that suggests Candle Face is a genuine ghostly presence, separate from the realm of my human psyche.

As you read through these two contrasting accounts, you're invited to weigh the evidence, confront the unsettling stories, and ultimately decide for yourself whether Candle Face is a supernatural entity or a manifestation of my past trauma.


Candle Face has been a constant, lurking presence from my earliest memories, embodied by my deepest fears and anxieties. Yet, as I've grown and reflected upon those formative years, a dawning realization has emerged: Candle Face wasn’t an external entity but a creation of my own imagination, a manifestation of the inner turmoil and emotional upheaval I experienced as a child.

My childhood was marked by a series of challenging circumstances, including familial tensions, social isolation, and a constant sense of being different from my peers. In this context, Candle Face emerged as a tangible symbol of the fears and anxieties I couldn't articulate or understand at the time. She was a projection of the turmoil within me, a way for my young mind to cope with and externalize the emotional chaos that I was unable to process.

The intricate details and consistent story of Candle Face's appearances, which might be seen as evidence of her reality, can also be interpreted as the workings of a highly imaginative and sensitive child's mind. Children, especially those facing emotional stress, often create detailed and consistent imaginary worlds, as my brother Ricky had done with the stories he shared with the neighborhood kids at his treehouse. These provide a safe space to explore and process complex emotions and experiences. The vividness of Candle Face's presence, her actions, and the terror she evoked reflected the depth of my internal struggles.

The physical manifestations attributed to Candle Face—the scratches and disturbances in my room—can be understood through the lens of psychosomatic responses. The human mind can produce physical symptoms as a response to psychological stress. In times of intense fear or anxiety, it's not uncommon for the body to react in ways that mimic physical harm inflicted by an external source.

The shared experiences with Ricky, often cited as proof of Candle Face's reality, can be explained through the phenomenon of shared delusions or folie à deux. This psychological condition occurs when one person's delusional beliefs are transmitted to another, particularly in close relationships. Our bond, combined with the power of suggestion and the heightened emotional state we were in, could easily have led to shared hallucinations of Candle Face.

As for the emotional and psychological impact of these encounters, it’s undeniable. However, the depth of this impact doesn’t necessarily corroborate the reality of Candle Face. Instead, it highlights the profound effect that our mental creations can have on us, especially when they’re born out of deep-seated fears and unresolved trauma.

The specific knowledge and foresight attributed to Candle Face could result from my subconscious mind processing observations and information that my conscious mind hadn’t fully acknowledged. Children are often more perceptive than they’re given credit for, and it's possible that I picked up on cues and details about my environment and future events without fully realizing it.

The purpose and intent observed in Candle Face's actions could reflect my need for structure and understanding in a chaotic and unpredictable world. By attributing these qualities to an imaginary figure, I was, in a way, trying to make sense of the senseless, to find meaning in the randomness of life.

The nature of Candle Face’s appearances, tied to specific emotional states or events, further supports the theory that she is a product of my imagination. It's often the case that our fears and anxieties manifest more strongly during stress or change. Candle Face's appearances coincided with such periods in my life, suggesting a correlation between my emotional state and the intensity of her presence.

In retrospect, it becomes increasingly clear that Candle Face was a complex psychological response to the challenges and fears I faced as a child. She was a construct of my mind, a way to cope with and make sense of the world around me. As I've grown and processed these experiences, Candle Face has receded (until recently), indicating that the need for this imaginary figure has diminished as my understanding and coping mechanisms have evolved.

While Candle Face was a very real and terrifying presence in my childhood, the evidence suggests that she wasn’t an external entity but a manifestation of my inner world. Her existence was a testament to the power of the human mind to create and believe in realities as a way of coping with the complexities of life and the depths of our own emotions. As I've come to terms with my past and the challenges I faced, I've also come to understand that Candle Face was a part of me, a creation of my imagination, born out of necessity, and a symbol of the resilience and creativity of the human spirit.


Key To Understanding

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

To purchase The Empty Lot Next Door, please visit Amazon

To Purchase Candle Face Chronicles: The Lost Souls [Book One], please visit Amazon



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