Posts Tagged ‘1868’

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.

By en:User:Acela2038 – en:Wikipedia, Public Domain, Link


It is known as The Necropolis, located close to Lidcombe Station in Sydney, Australia. Around a million souls are at rest in the Victorian Cemetery and ‘Friends of Rookwood Inc’ campaign to raise the awareness of its cultural significance and to ensure its preservation.

1st January 1868 the non-denominational burial ground was opened. By the end of the 1890’s they had buildings including a chapel and cottages for employees. The garden cemetery was a popular place for Victorian’s as a visiting spot and it was in it’s height a major employee for the area.

One of the most famous graves is that of Harry Houdini, the magician. It is also the burial place of one of the more infamous Davenport Brothers and they are said to haunt the cemetery. They toured the world and displayed ‘Spirit Phenomena’s’. One of the brothers died 1st July 1877 when they were on tour in Australia and he was buried there.

Houdini visited it in 1910 to find it somewhat neglected, he and two magicians placed flowers there and Houdini paid for the stonework to be repaired. The surviving brother was so moved by the kindness he revealed the secret of their trick (although it seems quite viable this was already known to a fair few).

Rookwood’s haunted reputation probably stems from the sheer fact that it is a cemetery. There are victims of wars, sickness and those who were stillborn all located there. As far as cemeteries go it seems a fair example of those from the time and worth a visit for it’s historical value alone.

A far cry from England, this was found in Cardiff, New York State in October 1869, workers who were digging a wall came upon stone man 10 foot tall on the land of William C Newell. Farmer ‘Stub’ Newell began charging 50 cents a time to gaze upon the petrified person.

Who was the Cardiff Giant? Or what… some of the Christian folk turned to their bibles, a giant mentioned in the Book of Genesis, and others wondered if the giant man was turned to stone by witchcraft. Other declared that he might well be a statue made by the Christian Missionaries that landed there, to awe the local Indians.

The Cardiff Giant was soon revealed as a hoax. George Hull was an atheist who conspired with stone masons and Nevell to produce the statue. It was aimed entirely at the folks in the Bible Belt as a joke. In November 1868, Hull had the giant figure secretly buried on Newell’s farm. A year of patience passed to ensure that the locals would not connect the wagon with the find, the digging them commenced when they called in the workers. Hull recouped his money and more when local worthies brought the giant and exhibited it at the city of Syracuse.

Showman P T Barnum made a bid for the stone giant but was refused, instead he displayed a plaster copy. The copy drew more spectators than the original and can be found in the Farmer’s Museum at Cooperstown, New York State.

A great article on WordPress can be found HERE

Sports day anyone?

I love curious things, I love odd and possibly crazy ideas made real so this is on my list of fun things! So how about the Annual Coffin Race?

The Emma Crawford Annual Coffin Race, takes place in somewhere called Manitou Springs and the chances are most people passing by this post won’t have heard of the place, well that is unless you like creepy things like haunted hotels etc.  For a good review of this I found this – Click here

 Manchester Mummy 

So previously I had mentioned a Carny Mummy so I figured what the hell I am English and from Lanacashire, I’ll add Hannah Beswick to the list, not to mention it keeps in with the theme of the dead.

Hannah supposedly left express instructions in her well that upon her death she would want her body regularly checked for signs of life. To make this easier her doctor has her placed inside a hollow grandfather clock for easy viewing. She was apparently buried 110 years after on 22nd July 1868.

A light in the dark…

From running coffins and obscure displays I move to the curious and very original looking grave of Sal Giardino’s grave.

Sal’s grave is an ode to his profession and the fact that he loved his job. Sadly taken before his time due to cancer Sal’s daughter collaborated on the ode to his life and work.