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Lullaby Rock: A Candle Cove Memoir

Estimated reading time โ€” 4 minutes

Just a little, in the right kind of way, kids enjoy being scared. They don’t find loud and horrific things fun, but if something gives off a vibe of the perfect proportion of creepiness, it will turn a child’s head and instead of triggering his uneasiness and cause him to back away, it instills in him a sense of adventure so that he may find out for certain if there really is anything from which to back away.

Candle Cove did that for me. Maybe it was the weird puppets. Maybe it was the themes of haunted caves, murderous pirates and skin-grinding skeletons. Maybe it was the weird camera and sound quality. Whatever it was, I was five years old in 1971 and caught the pilot one day while mom was out running errands, and thus the dial was mine to turn. I came upon the show and was instantly hooked.

I’ve been reading up recently, my curiosity re-ignited and my caution diminished, about this theory that the show was just weak signal static, and these rumors about this “screaming episode” that apparently earned the Laughingstock and her crew an abrupt pull from the seas and the Channel 58 airwaves. I can tell you right now, it wasn’t just dead air or snow. However, I can’t confirm the existence of episode 2-12, because I didn’t get a chance to see it, or for that matter, any of the episodes in the second season. After all, they only aired once. This is the story of why I missed them.

On Tuesday, September 21, 1971, I came home from school in my mom’s clunky Volkswagon. Since there was nothing particularly interesting on in mom’s eyes, she would forfeit the television to me for an hour whilst she rode on her exercise bike in the basement. And, of course, that day, just like several weeks leading up to it, the dial turned right to 58.

Episode six of season one, I would later find out, was called “Ship Crash.” Appropriately enough, the premise involves Percy musing about the lovely song of the “singing dolphins” (a woman is heard rhythmically cooing in the background) and winds up falling asleep at the helm of Laughingstock, and apparently sleep-steering, crashing her into a large, jagged rock jutting out of the waters in a corner of the Cove. The rest of the episode involves Janice and Poppy frantically trying to repair their ship before it sinks, all the while fighting sleep.

Eventually, they spot a strange tree growing near the peak of the mountainous rock and decide it would make great torch wood for distress beacons, so Janice goes to fetch it. On her journey, she begins to sleepwalk, which is how she comes across Susan Siren.

Susan, like most of the other characters on the show, had a cheap but almost-intentionally strange design: She was not a puppet, but an actress, with her body and face painted a sea-greenish pallor, her lips a vibrant orange to compliment it. She was dressed rather, well, inappropriately for a children’s show, her breasts only obscured by a metallic brassiere, small chains (possibly intended originally for necklaces) serving as the straps. Her bottom piece was also fashioned in this way, with a large (obviously paper mache) chain attached to her “iron” panties and the rock behind her, meant to shackle her there. The top half of her head, including her eyes and nose, was concealed by a headpiece fashioned to make her look more “cartoonish”, but it also had a pale-green skin, as well as orange hair and large, spherical orange eyes to match the lipstick.


Susan Siren explains to Janice that she was condemned to “Lullaby Rock” centuries ago, when a fleet of ships almost crashed due to her hypnotic, sleep-inducing singing. Janice laments that she cannot free Susan, but promises to return to visit if Susan promises to lure another ship (without crashing it) to the rock to rescue them. Susan agrees, and sings a peaceful song about “your hard work at sea” and how “it’s earned you a nap”.

That day, I came home from school especially drained. I remember that much. What had happened in kindergarten that would leave a five-year-old so exhausted is lost to time, but I remember being tired. So, taking Susan’s advice, I switched from a sitting position on the couch to a laying one and let my heavy eyes sink. Only seconds after my eyelids made everything dark, I heard the song end, and Susan boast to Janice:

“Now, watch this.”


My eyes fluttered open, eager to see what had happened. But I was somewhere else: The room was white, as where the sheets on the bed I had apparently been tucked into. There were silver, boxy machines surrounding me, beeping monotonously. A little tube poked into my arm and connected it to a hanging pouch of clear liquid. I wanted to touch it, but was afraid of the pain. I wanted to scream, but a large tube had been shoved in my mouth. I wanted to cry and struggle and kick down the walls, but I was too weak, so I settled for sobbing. After a few minutes of that, a woman in a white dress rushed and and called for a doctor, who simply studied me. but he did call my mother, and after I was unhooked from all those machines and latched onto her, exchanging with her happier sobs, she sat me down to explain that I had been in a coma for nearly two years.

So why is my curiosity only rekindled now? I suppose I never related it to the show. The doctors never a gave a straight answer as to why this happened to me, so who else could know of one? I only started looking into it again about a week ago, around a month after mom’s funeral. I was going through some of her tax receipts when I found an empty envelope from NASA, dated December 29, 1971. The kind of envelope a check might arrive in.

Credit: Simon Corvax

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40 thoughts on “Lullaby Rock: A Candle Cove Memoir”

  1. Guys look up candle cove on wiki and you’ll find the entire show is said to have been a NASA experiment launching images and audio directly into a person’s brain…that’s why he references nasa

  2. I’m gonna have to say I rather believe Cameron knows what Candle Cove is and is not. To his detractors – how much info have you found about NASA’s tests, online or otherwise? Less than you can find about Candle Cove. So, does he know something more than you do because he knows someone or another who was involved with the tests? Something, real or not, to add to the CC canon? There are a lot of conspiracy theories about plenty of things in our past. Using it to explain what’s going on in another story doesn’t mean you don’t know what’s going on in the other story. It just means it’s there to help those who aren’t sure what the story is talking about when it refers to a little known conspiracy theory.

    Or maybe it’s flame bait and some people have torches that are too quick and easy to light up.

  3. Not really crazy about the Candle Cove spinoff stories. Part of what made the original scary was the mystique about it. The zoned out faces of children watching a show of monstrosities hidden by a veil of static while parents sit idly by both oblivious and helpless to the horrors their kids are facing. But now there’s actors and set designers and NASA. IMO it’s robbing the original of its aura of mystery. I’d like to read one that both honors the original AND continues the story.

  4. Tied in really well with Candle Cove. Then ending should have been explained a little better without giving too much out. Thanks Cameron for sorting everyones questions :)

  5. i kind of agree with this but i think they paid the mom to allow them to test the show on the kid then when she went into a coma they probably had to pay her again for the damages

  6. I think the ending was supposed to imply the characters mother was payed off by NASA. You know, hush-hush money.

  7. Candle Cove has got to be the best Creepypasta out there and I have to say this is almost as good as the original story now that I have more understanding of it thanks to Cameron. An amazing sequel to an already amazing work of art.

  8. Like many, I’m not much of a fan of the NASA addition, even if you’re going to go with the govt. theory, I would think something more black box, like MK-ULTRA or Project TALENT would be the culprit. Other than that I enjoyed this addition to the candle cove file.

    1. Reddit /nosleep/ rules should apply here. The creepiness about the stories is not knowing whether they’re real or not. Disputing them is like a buzz kill.

  9. I can explain the nasa thing in the 1970s apparently nasa scientists were doing research with radiowaves and how they effected people they found out that in children aged 2-6 their undeveloped brains could interperet low signal radiowaves and one of their experiments was with candle cove and the broadcasting tower in ironton Ohio. keep in mind candle cove was made by mainly graduating colledge students in the fields of neuroscience and engineering.they were chosen by nasa to create the puppets and record the shows and nasa broadcasted a low frequency signal from ironton to places near there. It was such a low frequency that adults with fully developed brains could only see static but children could see the show.It was supposed to be made to increase education and make radio waves undetectable by the soviets (remember it was the cold war) but soon after they completed their final test (screaming episode) it was aborted and almost all files on it were burned that’s why threre is so little info on it the unethical studies that they did caused dimensia paranoia coma other mental issues and even death from watching candle cove

    1. True story (please give me a straight answer. I’ve been doubting the fakeness of the Candle Cove-story an awfully lot, recently =P)?

      1. Candle cove isn’t real, it is a fictional story created by Kris Straub who manages as well as writes for the horror fiction site, Ichor Falls. The above paragraph regarding NASA experiments, etc, may sound convincing, but a little internet research will unearth the fact that this whole candle cove story is completely made up.

  10. Hes trying to say His mother took part in a Experiment From NASA . One That had to do with the show, maybe Only the kids whose parents wanted them to take part in this experiment was lured by the show which was a distraction . Well something like that if you catch my drift . .

  11. Yup, I have no idea what the NASA reference is. I even went on wiki and looked up the September – December 1971. Didn’t see any references to NASA there.

    Besides that, this was a really good tie-in pasta to Candle Cove.

    Mechanically, the opening paragraph flowed pretty awkwardly, and there was a line, “[the nurse] rushed and and,” instead of “in and,” but otherwise it was really well put together. You did quite well, creepypasta author.

    1. I assume that the mother had given her son to NASA for testing or something, and received a paycheck in turn.

      1. I think i get the NASA thing. One website said that NASA was doing an experiment with broadcasting and air waves, and that they broadcasted during the time Candle Cove played. Maybe NASA was sending a check to the mother for letting the child watch the broadcasting that nasa sent out. idk, im kinda guessing. o_o

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