Lightning Portrait Etched in Window
One of the more bizarre sights anywhere is the face on the courtroom window -- aka, the Lightning Portrait of Henry Wells.
Wells, a former slave, was accused of burning the original Pickens County Courthouse in 1878. He was finally arrested two years later. As there was no jail, Wells was placed in the garret of the new courthouse. A mob of locals gathered outside to lynch him.
As Wells peered out the garret window, a bolt of lightning struck nearby and permanently etched his terrified expression into the windowpane. Wells died less than two months later "of wounds received while attempting to escape."
The lightning photo is still visible today, and only from the outside. Up on the third floor, an arrow painted on the outside directs you to the miraculous face.
According to one RA tipster: "Through all the years, in spite of hail and storm, which has destroyed all the windows in the courthouse, this one pane has remained intact. It has been scrubbed with soap and rubbed with gasoline by those who doubt its permanence, but it has met every test and the face remains unchanged. At close range the pane looks clear and flawless, but viewed from the ground where once gathered an angry mob, the fear-distorted face of Henry Wells can be clearly seen!"
Another lightning portrait has been reported in Clay's Ferry, Kentucky, of a slave's face burned into the upper window of a three story house. Also in Kentucky, the lightning portrait of an angry bather supposedly haunts the turret window of an old house on Hwy 79 in Russelville.
Update - January 2008: The 130th anniversary of the Face in the Window passed without fanfare in Carrollton. "I don't think anybody took the time to realize that it's been 130 years," the town clerk told us. "We just know it's there." The clerk also said that the Courthouse was never threatened with demolition; Carrollton would never tear down its most famous building, even if it carries Henry Well's curse. The Courthouse was just being restored to tip-top condition.