The Railroads

  1. “In 1851 there were hills in the way of a railroad that was trying to be built. They began work on a tunnel in the western end sat the town of Florida and east Adams holding up the eastern end and in between there there were five miles. There was no small undertaking. It took the twenty-four years to finish, and 21.2 million dollars, aka 40649207 dollars. Construction came with the cost of 200 men losing their lives. One of the first major tragedies occurred on march 20 1895. Three men did their work, did they work, and ran down the tunnel to the safety bunker. They set off the explosion a little too early so two of them died except Kelly. He went missing. The accidents didn’t end there. By October 1867 there was a 500 ft deep hold in the ground which was to act as ventilation. There was a pump system to remove ground water each day they would lower a dozen or more crazy miners and set them to work. On October 17 leaky lantern made the place blow up, as a result things started to fall down the shaft. 300 freshly sharpened drill bits, the burning wreckage of the building, and the shaft also began to flood. The workers up top tried to reach the bottom but they guy who tried to go down had to go back up. The workers in the area apparently frequently heard the sound of people crying for help. Highly educated people recorded similar experiences of seeing shapes and ghastly apparitions appearing briefly and leaving no footprints in the snow. Voices, lights, shapes in the darkness. A full year after the accident they drained the shaft and they discovered bodies in a raft because apparently some of the men survived long enough to build a raft but they died because they had been abandoned. After that the tunnel began to be called the bloody pit. 4 years later, James McCinstry and Dr. Clifford Owens in the tunnel both educated had an encounter beyond unusual. Owens wrote on June 25 1872 at 1130 pm and traveled about 2 miles into the shaft. Except for the dim smoky light from the lamp, and when they were bout to turn back they heard a strange mournful sound. The next thing they saw was a dim light approaching them yet as the light grew closer it took on a strange blue color and a person without a head, it looked to be floating about a food above the tunnel floor. The temperature suddenly dropped and the thing came soo close that he was too scared to move. The two men stared and the blue light remained motionless. Then it moved on and disappeared into thin air.
  • He knows this story because he finds something especially interesting about things difficult to explain
  • He doesn’t remember where he learned this one
  • The context of the performance is that we were merely sitting and exchanging interesting stories and tales we’ve heard over time
  • I think this story is interesting because the railroad industry was such a huge and booming time period and so it seems only natural that there would be folklore occurring around it, similar to how American folklore really took hold in the industrial era where people could try to relate to each other more when they were in similar predicaments with each other. It also reminds me incredibly of the story of how people would be buried alive in coffins and people thought there was ghostly activity when in reality it was the person buried alive trying to escape from their coffin.