Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Ashtabula Train Disaster-Do you know about it?

Hello All.
I wrote this up earlier for a group chat but it ended up not sticking (prob. cuz the new yahoo groups is sucky) Anywho, even though it happened just after Christmas, the story is horrible enough to give you shivers. Plus there are stories of hauntings.So, I thought this might be appropriate for Halloween.

For my spookie story I am going to dip into some local history. This event took place in Ashtabula (ash-ta-byou-la), Ohio in 1876. See, the thing is that most people don’t know where Ashtabula is and many people don’t know that we had the worst disaster in history until the Titanic went down. Because of this event laws were passed that are still in effect today.
I’m talking about the “Ashtabula Train Disaster.” (also called the Ashtabula Horror or the Ashtabula Bridge Disaster)
It happened a few days after Christmas, during a terrible North East Ohio blizzard. If you’re not from this neck of the woods, I should tell you that the winters get pretty nasty up here next to Lake Erie. Because of the lake effect snow, we generally have more snow fall, wetter snow and air and dangerous conditions. If there’s a blizzard, you can’t see your hand in front of your face and can have snow up to your knees within an hour. Within seconds of stepping outside the cold cuts through you like knives and seems to chill your soul.
Train No. 5, The Pacific Express, was a luxury train carrying  159 passengers from Erie, P.A to Ashtabula, OH. At around 7:30pm the train crossed over the Ashtabula River and was nearly to the train station (only 1,000 ft. away), when the bridge collapsed. The engine was across the bridge and tried to speed up to pull the train to safety but everything plummeted 76 ft. into the water. On top of that many cars flipped over and landed on its roof. And most of the cars had fireplaces. Within seconds the cars turned into an inferno. The crash had been heard and the town raised the alarm. With difficulty the townspeople trudged through the snow and down the steep hill to the river’s edge. Some survivors had made their way to the shore. When the fire brigade showed up the railroad employees gave instructions for the fire brigade to save some survivors and make a path up the ravine. They never used any water to put out the flames even though there were still people trapped inside that were never rescued. 92
Mass grave for the unrecognizable
Charles Collins burial sight
people died that night, 48 charred beyond recognition. Sixty-four were injured. After much investigation, The railroad engineer Charles Collins
was found dead with a suspicious gunshot wound to the head. Speculations about suicide occurred but it was obvious that he had been murdered. 7 years later Amasa Stone, President of the Lake Shore Michigan Southern Railway, committed suicide. There are still pieces of the train down in the ravine today and from the local stories, some nights you can hear the crash and screams of the passengers. If you go down there, the hair on your arms raises and you can feel the heat from an invisible flame caressing you.
Here are a couple links if you would like to know more. (This is a pretty awesome and creepy trailer)

So, tell me have you heard about the disaster? Do you have any other info that might not be general knowledge?
How about your stomping ground--does it have an interesting history?
Let me know. I'd love to hear from you.

Heather Geoffries
Author of best selling erotic romance "Nordic Prince" and the following story "South Sea Siren"