The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982 Page: 424
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
One dark evening someone told an especially frightening story.
When it was finished, my father proposed a challenge: a shiny fifty-
cent piece to anyone who would walk down to the horse lot, unhook
the gate chain, rattle it, replace it, and then return to the house in a
slow walk. At that moment, with a south wind moaning around the
house and the tin roof popping with release of the day's heat, it re-
quired all the courage I could summon just to enter the house, lighted
only by a flickering kerosene lamp, to wash my feet before bedtime.
What pleasure fifty cents would have given the following Saturday
at the county seat, Lockhart. Two vanilla milkshakes and a ticket to
Baker's theater where Charlie Chaplin was playing.
Our haunted hill probably inspired the ghost stories, since mystery
of the hill's light on foggy nights persisted well into the 1920os. I first
witnessed the phenomenon in 1918, on a Sunday night as we returned
from church services through mist and fog. The church that night had
presented several tableaus-spectral representations of historical and
patriotic scenes. Local citizens arranged in dramatic poses were frozen
into brilliant statuesque figures by the off-stage burning of a chemical
that produced an eerie white light. (This brief but engaging enter-
tainment drew even more "ahs" and "ohs" than "Hands Up!", a serial
with Ruth Roland at the local theater, housed in a renovated cotton-
seed shed where the projector was hand-cranked.)
Still excited by people momentarily turned to stone, we approached
Laro's Hill. Suddenly Papa pulled the carriage to the side of the road
and exclaimed, "We're going to meet a car-or it's that blamed light
again!" (In those days only one or two automobiles traveled Adalia's
dusty roads, or got stuck in sticky black mud. So the ghostly light
seemed to be the logical alternative.) While Papa coaxed the restless
team to hold steady, the yellow light beyond us made irregular move-
ments, darting and resting, before the deep fog swallowed it up.
The simple truth of the light was now unveiled, and a folksy hill
lore passed with the innovation of the automobile. We did not under-
stand-more likely did not wish to understand-that our weird light
emanated from cars on the postroad, connecting Austin and Lockhart,
several miles north of Adalia.
Unfortunately the brunt of the light fell upon a poor black family
living near our home. Mingo Breedlove, a gentle old man, and his
wife, Aunt Jane, headed a household of thirteen members. Some
thoughtless person covered himself with a bedsheet and moaned and
wailed one night at their frontyard gate, claiming to be the hill's ghost.
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982, periodical, 1981/1982; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/m1/482/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.