Jacob's Lantern

Jacob's Lantern

First Observed Autumn - 1859

Location: Papineau, IL

According to a local Iroquois County legend, in the autumn of 1859 a man named Jacob and his female companion murdered a cattle drover on the road north from Danville.

Whether their crime was intentional or an accident is never made clear, but the two decided to hide the evidence by burying the man's body in a field near an old barn. To light their way, they carried a soft lantern and hung it from a tree as they dug his shallow grave. Since then, autumn nights bring a soft yellow glow in the distance. According to Dale Kaczmarek, author of the book Illuminating the Darkness, a man named Lee Ponton used to see the light from his kitchen window. His parents would sprinkle holy water around their house whenever it appeared.

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