Posts Tagged ‘Disaster’

The tunnel is located in Richmond, Virginia and has two supernatural reputations of ghosts and another of the Richmond Vampire. The tunnel originally opened in 1873 but closed in 1902, then in the 1920’s with growth to the area it was decided by the rail company that they would re-open the 4,000 ft tunnel but to do this they needed it cleaned and reinforced.

Disaster struck 2nd October 1925, 200 men were at work in the tunnel; the men stood on cars and a steam locomotive so they could work on the tunnel. Above the locomotive the ceiling collapsed, the train was buried and steam from the squashed boiler scalded the train’s fireman. He crawled out of the tunnel but he died of his injuries in the hospital later on.

After eight days of searching they found the driver in his cab. The unfortunate man had a lever through his chest and he was badly burnt. Records are pretty sketchy but at least one body was never recovered and the locomotive is buried in the tunnel, probably along with a few bodies. They sealed the tunnel up with sand and blocked up the entrance with concrete.

There have been reports of people hearing a number of sounds, of voices crying to ‘get me out’ and the sounds of digging or the screeching of wheels of a locomotive. It seems inevitable these tales would surface given such a set of tragic deaths.

The legend of the Richmond Vampire surfaced shortly after the collapse in the tunnel. The report of the creature was that it was blood covered, had jagged teeth and skin that hung from its muscular body. The creature was said to feast on the bodies of the trapped dead.

It emerged from the cave-in and was pursued by a group of men who followed it to a mausoleum of WW. Pool at Hollywood cemetery. Some have suggested that this urban legend may have become mixed with the death of the 28 year old fireman, Mosby, who had crawled out of the tunnel, badly injured and died, the vague description could match up with the terrible injuries he suffered.

The grave of WW. Pool has been padlocked and the bodies inside it have also been removed. The grizzly reality is said enough but the stories of the supernatural also seem to keep the memories and history of those events alive.

Church hill tunnel.JPG
By EsubterfugeEsubterfuge, Public Domain, Link

 

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

 

So whilst I am not an avid sports fan it seems fair that I cover these, as they no doubt come under interesting even frightening if you were there for them. So lets go with the round-up. ( I am avoiding Hillsborough if you are wondering, this is simply too big to cover and would no doubt require me to go into a major history account.) I haven’t chosen to link videos, if you want to go and find out more do so but I will say they are very harrowing, you are watching people in the process of dying on some of them. Whilst I am pretty much of the stance that I will take a neutral view, even I admit these are damned sad to watch.

23rd June 1968 – Puerta 12 tragedy, Buenos Aires. This is less well-known it seems but 71 fans died at the stadium, it was two sides that seemed to blame one another for the terrible events. Calls about people burning flags seemed to have caused a stamped and the fans rushed towards gate 12; it caused the deaths and around 150 injuries. Victims were between 13 and 20 years of age and in the end the league paid compensation to the victims families. Even today the area remains to have changed little with the low light around the area, the stairwell and the gate are virtually unchanged.

2nd January 1971, Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland. A stampede led to the death of 66 people and over 200 people being injured. Until the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster it was the worst to have occurred in the United Kingdom. The stadium’s owners were later found to be at fault over one of the deaths, they did not dispute it and 60 other cases were brought forwards. In 1902 there had been a previous incident there, a stand collapsed due to heavy rain the night before and killed 25, and injured 517.

In 1971 more than 80,000 fans attended and Celtic took a 1-0 lead against the Rangers. Some Rangers supporters began to leave but at the final moments an equaliser was scored. Thousands were leaving and as this was happening, by stairway 13, a child was on his father’s shoulders and fell, it caused a terrible chain-reaction. Most of the deaths were caused by compressive asphyxia (chest compressed until the longs cannot take in enough air and the person suffocates). Bodies had stacked up to six feet in some of the areas and these days there is a memorial to the event and those who lost their lives.

20th October 1982, Luzhniki in Moscow, Soviet Russia (it was the named Grand Sports Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium) a stampede started that killed 66 RC Spartak Moscow fans and the number of those that died was not made official until 1989, until then speculation ranged from 3 to 240 deaths. The fans had two of the four stands open, they could get the area cleared of snow that way and most of the fans went to the East Stand as it was closer to the Metro station. Thee were about 100 Dutch supporters. The game itself was pretty much uneventful and the fans began to head out minutes before the end, presumably they had already seen enough of the match. The fans effectively rushed to the Metro Station side exit.

A fan fell at the lower steps of stairway one and, according to some reports, it was a woman that had lost her shoe and stopped to find it, some stopped to help. The crowd was getting dense by this stage and a domino effect started.

People around had no idea what was happening as impatient fans tried to move to the exit, the stampede was in full swing as the second goal for Spartak came 20 seconds before the final whistle. The autopsy showed that those who died all died from compressive asphyxia. A Russian site explained that perhaps the goal at the end helped to save more lives as people rushed back to see that and eased the crush, who knows…

1st February 2012, Port Said Stadium, Port Said City, Egypt... a riot occurred at the stadium with 72 killed and over 500 injured when thousands of El Masty spectators stormed the stadium stands and pitch, following a 3-1 by their team. They attacked El Ahly fans who were in their own area using weaponry and fireworks. Their anti-government/revolutionary chants had many thousands of Egyptian fans thinking that it was a set up to get rid of the revolutionary group. The Egyptian government responded by shutting down the domestic league for two years.

The match had been delayed for 30 minutes as El Masry fans were already on the pitch, and each time there was a goal they invaded, along with the half time invasion. The El Ahly were trying to escape and being attacked as they ran, they were asking for police to protect them as they ran and in the melee there were people thrown from the stands as well. The Egyptian family airlifted in soldiers to rescue the players who had been stranded and the Al Ahly coach a the time, Manuel José, even considered giving up coaching, as well as leaving Egypt for good. The security forces were condemned that they had hesitated to act and part of the support for the idea it was government organised came from the lack of security searches, that eyewitnesses saw security standing aside during the attack and overall it seems that this was part of the evidence that was being waded through.

On 26th January 2013 they held the trial, 21 accused were effectively handed their death sentences with 52 postponed until March 2013. 27th January 2013 it was reported that the Egyptian government had lost control of the city. Sadly the deaths continued there.

Other mentions are the Estadio Nacional disaster, Lima in 1964 where a Peru and Argentina match took place and with Argentina leading 1-0 and six minutes of normal time left, the fans of Peru were angered by a goal being disallowed that would have meant they were equalised. The result was a pitch invasion and tear gas being deployed, steel shutters were closed and panic ensued crushing people. All those who died were in the stairwell and there were at least 328 deaths, though this may be an understatement.

The Accra Sports Stadium Disaster in 2001 also deserves a mention, taking the lives of 127 people in Africa. Trouble had been anticipated and there was extra security but the match carried on and bottles and plastic seats were thrown on to the pitch. The police fired tear gas into the crowd and panic ensued with a crush off 127 people that lost their lives. Ghanaian fans remember the disaster on the 9th May each year.

After speaking with my more football savvy friend, he also mentioned that as disasters go another really should be mentioned. The Bradford Stadium fire. On Saturday 11th May, 1985 fire broke out. It was a tragic event taking the lives of 56 supporters and injuring 265. Police, supporters and staff were forced from the stadium dragging out people they could, trying to save as many as possible as the stand was engulfed in fire. This event is one that sparked a wave of new legislations for safety, the antiquated stadium had been unfit for purpose. Bradford City still support the Burns Unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary as their chosen charity to this date.

And my final one is the Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores, 16th October 1996, just before the 1998 FIFA World Cup Qualification match was about to take place, saw 83 people killed and more than 140 injured as excessive numbers of fans then tried to break into the General Sur section. It created a human avalanche and it seems that the excess was most likely down to counterfeit tickets and the poor design of the building. It was a terrible situation with many people having suffocated in the mass.

The sad part is that many of these tragedies are due to bad planning or poor layouts, not to mention people. It’s also unfortunate that the majority of the people in all the cases above would likely have been nothing more than people wanting to enjoy a day out supporting their sport. Violence, stampedes or general disasters meant that innocent people died in a terrible way and I think we owe it to them to remember these things and try to learn from them each time.

Lapuerta12-1968

Disaster-ibroxi6.jpg
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2184782

So for a Halloween treat I decided to hire a random film from On Demand. Flicking through I spotted it, expecting the usual cheesy rubber monster or bad CGI but at least it was going to be something new to waste some time on.

I didn’t really have a clue about what the plot was, I’ll try not to spoil anything in this review but I apologise if I inadvertently should. Basically the premise is that a bunch of
teens end up taking a somewhat dodgy tour around Pripyat, the nuclear plant explosion is well known so a quick youtube search will give you amply footage (or check my previous blog for more details about it).

For one reason or another, the tourists and their guide go via an alternative entrance to the area. They find themselves bypassing a rather freaky looking fish on the side of the contaminated river and then land in the town. The history the guide gives is brief but pretty much a quick bite size low-down to tell you how it ended up abandoned. Pripyat footage is stunning in this; I thought the location was a great one including a scene where the Reactor in the background is pointed out from a window in a block of flats. There was a little jumpy bit at the river with the fish but it’s not until things start to go wrong that it kicks into real “life” suspense.

Now I know a lot of people love to give massive criticism to the influx of these types of horrors but firstly, it’s not done in that overused Blair Witch/Cloverfield style.  Personally however I have to say I liked Cloverfield too, but the camera angles are mixed and the lighting used in what I thought was a clever approach of claustrophobia and strange noises. To begin with it looked like it was nature fighting back, dogs in the area scavenging a rather fun section with a bear and then it started to kick into live going very wrong for everyone involved.

My plus points on the film? Okay the fact you don’t see stupidly created models that make it all too fake, no arbitrary bloody scenes of gore that meant nothing in the face of the fears they were supposed to be enacting. The scenes with the dark lighting and the confusion from their actors when they are without a guide and the slow decline of health of the party all made it feel very scary. (I was alone with the lights out too, go me!)

The downsides? Well I guess some parts of the acting weren’t too strong as I didn’t really get too attached to the characters or their stories. The dark shots got a bit annoying at times as they were pretty dark, I am sure I could adjust the settings on my TV but that would have made the other scenes too bright. The ending felt a little bit rushed but I guess the counter argument to that would be that it was meant to be that way due to the events of the story.

Overall I think I’d watch it again if it came up and I wouldn’t put this down as a bad movie, and yes I have seen some terrible ones. I think if you like that type of film you’ll probably enjoy it like I did but if you are already looking at it from a downside you’ll just pick holes and flaws with it. My opinion for a mark out of 5 would be 4/5 purely because when I watched it on my own I did jump a couple of times and the things chasing them were far more realistic than a rubber costumed robot.

This is a city in the area, which is part of the Exclusion Zone. It was the administrative centre of Chernobyl Raion since 1932. I’m going to go over the details only briefly but it’s certainly one for the pages as it’s another abandoned place of interest.

In 1986 the city was evacuated due to a disaster at it’s Nuclear Power Plant 14.5km to it’s north-northwest. The city was not the residence of the of the power plant workers but nearby Pripyat was built for them. After the accident the Chernobyl Raion administration was moved to nearby Ivankiv Raion.

The city is mostly inhabited, but a small number of people reside there with homes that state “Owner of this house lives here”. Workers on watch and administrations personnel are the only things close to long term residents outside of that. The city housed 14000 residents before the evacuation; nearly Slavutych was the specifically built area for
those evacuated.

First mentioned in 1193 Chernobyl has lain in the hands of Lithuania (13th Century), Polen (1569) The Russian Empire (1793) and has had a long history of border changes  mostly due to the political climate of its geography. Since the 1880’s it has seen many changed and in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union it remained part of the
Ukraine, now an independent nation. As of 2012 a small number of people remain in the area refusing to leave their native city.

April 26th 1986 Reactor #4 exploded, it happened at 1.23am and nearby  residents in Pripyat were asleep. Two workers were instantly killed and 40 hours later the residents of Pripyat were told to evacuate. Many never returned, many of the residents had already suffered varying degrees of radiation poisoning.

(CRDP) Chernobyl Recovery and Development Project was launched in 2003 by the United Nations Development Program. The program was based on the report initiated in Feb 2002. CRDP work s in the four most affected areas.

Photo’s Link here