Few instances can be recorded where this ignis fatuus has been seen on Dartmoor, probably because so few cattle are lost in the bogs there. I was told by a man accustomed to draw turf, that he has seen the legs and belly of the horse as though on fire, where it had been splashed by the peat water.
I walked one night from Plymouth to Tavistock across Roborough Down, before it was inclosed and built upon, and I then saw a little blue flame dancing on a pool. I went on my knees and crept close to it, to make quite sure what it was, and that it was not a glow-worm.
Mr. Coaker, of Sherberton, informs me that he has on several occasions seen the Jack-o'-lantern. There is a bit of marshy land where rises Muddy Lake, near the road from Princetown to Ashburton, and he has seen it there. Sometimes, according to his account, it appears like the flash of a lantern, and then disappears, and presently flashes again. It has also been seen by him in the boggy ground of Slade by Huccaby Bridge. There, on one occasion, he made his way towards it. From a distance the light seemed to be considerable, but as he approached it appeared only as a small flame.
The Rev. T. E. Fox, curate, living at Post Bridge, and serving the little chapel there and that at Huccaby, has also seen it, in Brimpts, hovering, a greenish-blue flame, about three feet above the soil; and a woman living near informs me that she also has noticed it in the same place.
- I have been informed that the Jack-o'-lantern is only to be seen after a hot summer, at the end of July, and in August and September. As the moormen say, "When the vaen rises," i.e. when there is fermentation going on in the fen or vaen.