Posts Tagged ‘1851’

The tale has been documented by Michael Norman and Beth Scott, in Historic Haunted America about a tunnel in western Massachusetts. The tunnel is the Hoosac Tunnel in North Adams.

It began construction in 1851 and wasn’t finished unti 1874, for 24 years workers chipped away at the rocks and around 200 men lost their lives by explosions, fires and drowning in what became known as the bloody pit. It seems that many of those were accidental but one may have been more sinister.

Nitroglycerin was an explosive introduced in 1865 to the miners and used for the first time at the Hoosac Tunnel. 20th March, 1865, three men planted the nitroglycerin and ran for the safety bunker, they were Ned Brinkman, Billy Nash and Ringo Kelly. Kelly had prematurely set the charges and it buried both of his colleagues under a heavy pile of rocks.

After the incident Kelly disappeared and he was not seen again until 30th March, 1866 where his body was found two miles into the tunnel. His strangled corpse was at the spot Brinkman and Nash had been killed by the explosion. The Deputy Sheriff thought the murder had happened between midnight and 3am but no suspect was on the cards and his murder went unsolved.

The workers felt the spirits of Brinkman and Nash were the culprits and feared the area was cursed, they felt unhappy about having to go inside. The work slowed to the point that an investigation was called for. Paul Travers was a highly respected cavalry officer in the Union Army. He went into the tunnel with Mr Dunn, they went in at 9am and went to the spot where they heard what sounded like a man groaning in pain. They agreed that it did not sound like the wind.

It was a month later, 17th October 1868, when thirteen miners died in a gas explosion, the gas explosion blew apart one of the surfaces pumping stations. The debris filled the central shaft where the miners were working. It was the single worst disaster during the tunnels construction and a local reporter said that a miner, Mallory, was lowered down by a bucket and rope to search for survivors. He emerged almost unconscious, lifted back up, saying there was no hope. With no pumping station the 538-foot shaft filled with water and the bodies of some of the unfortunates began to surface from it. A year later the remaining men’s bodies were found on a raft that they had built trying to use it to float up on the water as it rose up.

All the time that they were missing the villagers spoke of vague shapes and the muffled wails of what the believed were the dead men. Workmen saw them carrying their picks and shovels through mist and also the snowy mountaintop. They left no footprints and only appeared briefly before they vanished. Once the last of the missing dead were located the strange sightings stopped.

That may have been the end of one tale but in 1872 another report came up about Dr Owens and James R McKinstrey who went into the tunnel. They went down the two miles down and halted to rest, the place was cold and dark, the only light was from their lamps. Both men heard a moan like someone in great pain. A dim light came down the tunnel and as it came closer the light took on a blue hue and looked more like the form of a human being with no head.

The strange light was so close it could have been touched but the men stood with gaping, open mouths and were most likely terrified. It eventually turned away and vanished, Owens was unable to come up with a rational explanation for the very thing they had witnessed.

16th Octobre, 1874, another bizarre event came up, a local hunter named Frank Webster vanished and three days later a search party found him stumbling around in shock, along the banks of the Deerfield River. His story was he had been ordered by strange voices to go into Hoosac Tunnel, when he did ghostly figures were walking around. Suddenly his rifle was seized from his hands, it was used to knock him him out around the back of the head and he woke up outside without the rifle and without any memory of leaving.

The first train went through on 9th February, 1875 and with its completion the stories still carried on. That fall a man named Mulvary, a fire tender, was driving a wagon load of firewood into it. He suddenly turned his cart around, whipped the horses flanks and was never heard of again. Three miles from there they did find the wagon and in 1977 a man named Impoco said he heard someone yell “Run, Joe, run!” as he was chipping ice from the tracks and there was a train coming. The voice alerted him and most likely saved his life.

The tunnel is very much in use today, the Boston and Maine railroad is very busy. It’s an impressive feat of engineering and visitors can talk to local old-timers who will recount the local tales.

Hoosic.jpg
By en:User:Acela2038 – en:Wikipedia, Public Domain, Link

 

Mary Shelley is best known in history as the creator of the novel Frankenstein. She died 1st February 1851 and despite never having lived in Bournemouth requested she was buried there. Her wish for this and her deceased parents to join her was met, her parents were buried with her. 

Mary Shelley had lost three of her four children to illness and when her husband died she was in the process of recovering from a miscarriage. Her son, Percy Florence, had purchased land there and was arranging to build Boscombe Manor for his sick wife and Mary, his ailing mother. She died before it was completed but she was buried in Bournemouth anyway.

In 1822 Mary’s husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, had died during a boating accident out in Italy. The body washed ashore on a beach near Viareggio and due to quarantine laws it was cremated on the beach. A friend saw this and the heart did not seem to be burning very well, he was able to take it from the pyre and passed it back to Mary Shelley. It sounded like a very bizarre and romantic thing to do but most likely Edward John Trelawny was more interested in the object for his own collection. He was eventually persuaded to hand the heart to Mary Shelly and the heart then ended up at Boscombe Manor for many years.

It is worth noting that it was not customary for the wife to attend such a thing either, and that the picture below isn’t quite right because of that. It is also worth noting it was a hot day and not so bleak as the picture shows, his body was doused in wine  and the head was intense from the weather and fire. The corpse fell open and from there the heart was laid bare, it was surprising to see that it remained in tact and 

When her son, Percy Florence Shelley, died he was buried in the family tomb. At the same time the heart was slipped into the tomb. The two were finally united.

Shelley, the writer of some infidel poetry, has been drowned, now he knows whether there is a God or not.” – Courier of London

Mary Shelly on Find a Grave

Shelley's cremation

Louis Édouard Fournier, entitled The Funeral of Shelley.