Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren’t is a series that explores modern urban legends, bringing you a new tale each week.
Memory is imperfect. Childhood memory in particular can be tricky; it may the distance in time or it may be the difference in how one perceives the world as a child, but in either case, the result is that recollections from these early years are often hazy at best. And yet, the images retained– a mark on the wall, a shifting shadow, the static of a television screen– can just as often be more powerful than you might think would be. What if you had a memory you couldn’t quite remember? What would happen if you decided to go digging for it? And what if it happened to be a memory that should be left well alone? This one calls itself:
Does anyone remember the old television show Candle Cove? You’d probably only know it if you grew up around what’s known as the Huntington-Ashland-Ironton metropolitan area of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio. It must have aired on a public access channel or something, because there doesn’t seem to be much information about it floating around. In 2009, though, a post appeared on the NetNostalgia forums for local television shows around the H-A-I area; the post’s writer, Skyshale033, was looking for some information about this seemingly forgotten children’s show:
Subject: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Does anyone remember this kid’s show? It was called Candle Cove and I must have been 6 or 7. I never found reference to it anywhere so I think it was on a local station around 1971 or 1972. I lived in Ironton at the time. I don’t remember which station, but I do remember it was on at a weird time, like 4:00 PM.
At first, no one responded. Eventually, though, another poster who went by the handle of mike_painter65 stepped forward with some vague memories of his own. Mike noted that it seemed familiar to him– he grew up outside of Ashland and was nine years old in 1972– but he couldn’t remember much: “was it about pirates? i remember a pirate marionete at the mouth of a cave talking to a little girl.” Skyshale was thrilled that someone else– ANYONE else– also had a few scattered recollections about Candle Cove. She recalled that the pirate marionette’s name was Pirate Percy, and that she was always a little frightened of him. “He looked like he was built from parts of other dolls,” she wrote, “real low-budget. His head was an old porcelain baby doll, looked like an antique that didn’t belong on the body.” She couldn’t remember what station Candle Cove aired on though; apparently neither did Mike, because he didn’t respond. The thread, like the show, faded into obscurity.
Some time later, though, another user dug up the thread and added his own contribution, bringing Candle Cove back into focus. His name was Jaren_2005, and he seemed to have more information than either Skyshale or Mike:
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
Sorry to resurrect this old thread but I know exactly what show you mean, Skyshale. I think Candle Cove ran for only a couple months in ‘71, not ‘72. I was 12 and I watched it a few times with my brother. It was channel 58, whatever station that was. My mom would let me switch to it after the news. Let me see what I remember.
It took place in Candle cove, and it was about a little girl who imagined herself to be friends with pirates. The pirate ship was called the Laughingstock, and Pirate Percy wasn’t a very good pirate because he got scared too easily. And there was calliope music constantly playing. Don’t remember the girl’s name. Janice or Jade or something. Think it was Janice.
It’s possible that his recollections are clearer because he was older at the time– twelve, as opposed to seven or nine. Jaren’s post jogged Skyshale’s memory, though, and she wrote back, “I remember the bow of the ship was a wooden smiling face, with the lower jaw submerged. It looked like it was swallowing the sea and it had that awful Ed Wynn voice and laugh. I especially remember how jarring it was when they switched from the wooden/plastic model, to the foam puppet version of the head that talked.” Mike jumped in as well, asking, “do you remember this part skyshale: “you have…to go…INSIDE.” Apparently every time Pirate Percy was required to go into somewhere dark and spooky, the ship, Laughingstock, would tell Percy, “YOU HAVE… TO GO… INSIDE.” Skyshale remembered that the camera would push in closer on Laughingstock’s face with each pause. Then she changed the subject: “You guys remember the villain? He had a face that was just a handlebar mustache above really tall, narrow teeth.” A new poster appeared in response to this inquiry; he called himself kevin_hart:
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid’s show?
i honestly, honestly thought the villain was pirate percy. i was about 5 when this show was on. nightmare fuel.
As they all pooled their memories together, though, they realized (thanks to Jaren) that the villain wasn’t the guy with the handlebar mustache– that was merely the sidekick, Horace Horrible- but rather another marionette called the Skin-Taker.
Wait a minute: The Skin-Taker? What the hell kind of kid’s show are we talking about here?