Don’t miss By My Lantern’s Light

76

By My Lantern’s Light brings spooky local history to life and returns for its seventh year on Saturday, Oct. 27 and Sunday, Oct. 28 at the Amherst Sandstone Village, 763 Milan Ave.

Volunteers from the Amherst Historical Society will present stories and legends for the whole family to enjoy in tours starting at 5 p.m. each night.

Admission is $5 per person. Ages five and under are free. Children will only be admitted with an adult.

To get you in the spirit of the tours, here is a tale from the late 19th century:


The shocking story of the Delafield brothers

One afternoon in September 1990, two brothers became the unluckiest young men in Amherst.

It was an ordinary Saturday at the Delafield farm as the men, both in their early 20s, went about their chores during the harvest. They finished their chores early and were eager to venture into town.

Henry and Anton took their friend Ed Lewis with them to Elyria. The trio spent the afternoon purchasing supplies, catching up on local news, and selling crops.

Peering at the horizon, they could see the black clouds of a powerful storm rolling in. The sky grew blacker and the winds kicked up violently. Henry and Anton hoped to outrun the storm and return to the farm in time to see what would surely be a spectacular lightning show. Ed would eat supper with them and venture home when the storm was over.

The storm bore down hard on the farm — lightning crashing, trees swaying, thunder rolling, wind whipping. Ma Delafield sighed with relief to see her sons’ horses and buggy race into the barn. The boys were soaked to the bone and exhausted; after detaching the frightened horses and shaking off the rain, they prepared to retreat to the house.

They deliberated: Make a run for it or stay dry in the barn for a while and wait for a break in the storm? As fate would have it, they never had to make the choice.

What happened next was not a result of errant judgment, just incredibly bad luck. Henry and Anton stood together about eight feet from the open barn door. Ed stood a few feet away. A pitchfork was situated on a haystack near the brothers with its prongs facing toward them.

An electric current from a lightning strike bolted in through the barn door and struck the pitchfork, split into two, and struck both brothers. Henry and Anton never knew what hit them. The force of the current killed both brothers at once.

The current then traveled upward through a huge pile of hay but did not set it on fire. Ed was still in the barn at that time. He experienced a mild shock from the current but was much more shaken by the tragedy he’d just witnessed.

Ed was fortunate enough to escape without injury, only to bear the burden of delivering the tragic news to Ma Delafield.