In August of 2013, I visited the small town of Cloutierville, Louisiana, to investigate the cellar of a small, abandoned farmhouse. I was drawn to this farmhouse because, in 1932, a woman was murdered here, and in 1933, her husband mysteriously vanished. While this situation alone was not of particular interest to me, the story surrounding it captured my attention. The following is the history of the Haunted Candle of Cloutierville, as I have come to understand it.
In 1932, the farmhouse in Cloutierville, Louisiana was owned by Adam and Emily Benoit. Adam was a farmer, a hard man, and not a particularly likable one. Although he did run a successful farm, he was also an alcoholic, and spent most nights at the local pub. Emily, his wife, was a quiet woman, who did not have any social ties and spent all her time at home, alone.
In June of 1932, Emily was found murdered in the cellar of her home. Police records state that she had been struck from behind by a blunt object. The police were able to determine that she did not die immediately; she had crawled from the place of impact to the back of the cellar. In her outstretched hand was a candle holder, which would have been the only source of light in the dark and dingy cellar.
Adam Benoit was listed as a primary suspect, but he had an alibi – he was with his friend that night, at the pub. This friend was a local drunkard with a less-than-stellar reputation, but nevertheless, Adam’s alibi was accepted, and the murder of Emily Benoit, to this day, remains unsolved.
Early in February of 1933, Adam Benoit was reported missing. He had not been seen at the pub for several days, and this was out of the ordinary for the recent widower. Police investigation led to the cellar in which Emily had been murdered. The investigating officer wrote that he heard a man sobbing, but he found the cellar empty. The only sign that anyone had been there was a single candle burning against the back wall. The officer wrote that, upon extinguishing the candle, the sobbing faded. The officer also found the word, “Alone.” had been carved into the wall.
The whereabouts of Adam Benoit went unsolved. He was never seen again.
The following year, in 1934, the farmhouse was purchased by a man named John Morel. When he was not seen or heard from for several weeks, police officers once again entered the cellar. They found the very same candle flickering dimly in the shadows. The police officers once again reported hearing a man sobbing and noted having seen the shadow of a woman flickering in the candlelight.
When the candle was extinguished, the voices stopped, and the woman disappeared. Written on the wall were the words, “Alone. Alone. Alone.” John Morel was never seen or heard from again, and the farmhouse, to this day still in his name, fell into disrepair.
When I visited the farmhouse in 2013, I had every intention of exploring the cellar. The building had long been abandoned, so I broke the cellar lock and cautiously went inside. I found the room untouched; dusty wine bottles filled the shelves, and rusty old tools were piled in the corner. At the back of the cellar, I found a candle, covered in dust, and burned almost to the end. All over the cellar, I found one word, written over and over and over. Across the walls, across the ceiling, across the shelves – “Alone. Alone. Alone.”
As I had expected, the word was written two distinct styles, and I had come prepared. I compared the writing to that of the journal of Adam Benoit, and to the deed of John Morel. The two styles were identical; this was the writing of the two men.
In my curiosity, I lit the candle. Softly at first, and then louder, I heard sobbing. The sound of lost, hopeless men; the weeping of those abandoned to an eternity of nothingness. And in the shadows, the figure of a woman slowly drifted into view, dancing towards me. I quickly extinguished the flame and left the cellar. Of course, I brought the candle with me.
The Haunted Candle of Cloutierville has sat quietly in my collection for several years now. Only once since that day did I light the candle. I was in my attic, amongst my collection, and almost immediately I heard the quiet sobbing of the poor souls lost in time. I immediately snuffed out the flame. The next day, carved into a rafter in my attic, I discovered a single word: “Alone.”
To the person who purchases the Haunted Candle Holder, the item will be meticulously packaged, and delivered with a copy of its history. Thank you for reading this tall tale, and I wish you all the best.
J. W. Smithworth