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  • Writer's pictureArthur Mills

The Empty Lot Next Door: The Start of the Candle Face Saga

The Empty Lot Next Door: The Start of the Candle Face Saga

December 28, 2023


Let me tell you my story, which I've shared in my award-winning and best-selling memoir, The Empty Lot Next Door. It all began when my family and I moved from the city projects to a small house in Austin, Texas, in the 1970s. As a kid named Ray back then, I was immediately drawn to the empty lot next to our house. This vacant lot, where a house once stood, harbored a mysterious hole in the back.


My new neighborhood was filled with kids, and we transformed that empty lot into our personal playground. However, there was an eerie story associated with this place that both intrigued and frightened me. I learned that a house had burned down there years ago, tragically claiming the life of a little girl. Local kids said her ghost haunted the lot, mainly targeting anyone brave — or foolish — enough to jump into that gloomy hole.


Driven by curiosity and bravado, I foolishly decided to challenge this ghost, a decision I'd come to regret deeply. This led to haunting experiences with an apparition I called Candle Face, named after her burned appearance. She invaded my dreams and left handprints around our house, even when I was wide awake.


But my story isn't just a ghost story. It’s also about children's struggles left to their own devices, with parents often away and working long hours. It speaks to the pain, desperation, and helplessness confronting real and imagined evils. My story touches on sibling abuse and bullies, shedding light on the lasting scars it leaves on both victims and abusers.


During my childhood, I witnessed Candle Face’s wrath, taking the lives of many around me. Armed with newfound bravery, I confronted Candle Face, engaging in a fierce battle of wills. Ultimately, I emerged victorious, banishing Candle Face back to the depths of hell, or so it seemed.


After finishing high school, my life took a turn as I joined the Army, allowing me to travel the world. This experience broadened my perspective and honed my skills in analysis and investigation. In 2010, I published my memoir, The Empty Lot Next Door, as a tool for me, my family, and my childhood friends to find closure. I found closure, but it was short-lived.


Now retired and back in Texas, I reflect on the past again. I decided to research Candle Face, using my over 30 years of experience as an analyst and private investigator as my aid. Did she really exist, or was she a manifestation in my head due to my childhood trauma? If she did exist, is she still active today? Who was she before she died?


Over the years, I received numerous emails from individuals claiming to have seen Candle Face, which I initially dismissed. However, being back in Texas sparked a newfound curiosity. I reached out to these individuals, but most were too fearful of Candle Face's retribution to speak with me. Interestingly, one 82-year-old man was more than willing to share his experiences. His eagerness to talk contrasted starkly with the others' reluctance.


To uncover the truth behind Candle Face, I sought out this gentleman. He chose to remain anonymous, using the pseudonym Mr. John Doe, and agreed to an interview under the condition of absolute anonymity.


My October 2023 face-to-face interview with Mr. Doe was eye-opening, revealing details about the fire that destroyed the house next door to my childhood home. He recalled the father cleaning a car carburetor with gasoline in the kitchen and the accidental spill that led to the fire. The heartbreaking loss of a young boy, Paul, and the subsequent discovery of his body painted a vivid and tragic picture. His testimony is different from my childhood: My childhood friends and I believed a young girl died in the house fire, which eventually became Candle Face.


However, what was most intriguing was Mr. Doe’s encounters with Candle Face and his firm belief in her existence. He shared an experience from 1990, near the creek at Wilson and El Paso Streets, where he encountered what he believed to be Candle Face. His advice was clear: “It’s better to believe, just in case. It’s akin to an insurance policy. If you believe, you’re safe. If not, you might end up with a visit.”


Most nights since my interview with Mr. Doe, my sleep plunges into a psychedelic nightmare, reflecting his haunting stories about Candle Face, a vengeful spirit intertwined with a tragic past. These dreams, where reality and illusion merge, are accompanied by a discord of yelling and arguing voices, evolving into whispers, among which Candle Face's voice emerges, speaking directly to me. However, I can’t make out the words. This ordeal, blurring past and present, leaves me questioning whether these experiences are mere hallucinations or messages from Candle Face herself. As I grapple with these tormenting visions, I realize that the story of Candle Face isn’t a closed chapter but an ongoing, haunting saga, suggesting she has been waiting for my return, leaving me at a crossroads in search of answers and wondering if understanding this nightmare could end or control this haunting ordeal.

 

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


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