Invading Army or Lighting Bugs?

Tonight I saw my first lighting bug of the season and made me remember a story that has been passed down in my family for the last 150 years.

My great-great-great Grandparents on my father side moved from what is now Germany to Columbia County, New York in the mid 19th century.  Since they moved in Spring they of course knew nothing of Lighting Bugs.  The first few months of their existence here in America was spent establishing the farm, then late one June evening, my great-great-great grandmother saw them.  Hundreds of twinkling lights in the nearby forest.  Since there was nothing like these insects in Europe, their imaginations began to run wild.  The only thing they could think of was an invading army, moving silently through the woods.  The twinkling lights?  The distant torches of the army.  As the story goes, they spent the night in the cellar.  The next day they talked to their neighbors and asked them about the ‘army’.  That night they were quite embarrassed, but awed by their new discovery.


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