Friday, June 13, 2014

Hoosac Tunnel: The Bloody Pit, Part ll

Many workers died during the twenty-four years this tunnel was under construction in Massachusetts.

In 1868, a gas explosion on the surface near Hoosac Tunnel set hot debris shooting through the tunnel turning it into an inferno.

Dead men were found inside heaped together. Most horrific were the cries of the men who were wounded and suffering. 

The remaining workers set about the gruesome task of clearing the debris and bodies from the partially constructed tunnel.

For months after more bodies and body parts were found.

This accident reconfirmed the worker's belief that the tunnel was haunted. Local villagers began reporting strange sights around the tunnel entrance and forest that surrounds it.

Semi-transparent figures of miners were seen all over the mountain. These figures were described as walking slouched low, carrying pickaxes or shovels slung over their shoulders.

These phantoms were seen wandering around, when spotted in winter it was discovered they never left footprints in the snow.

More terrifying encounters were reported. Witnesses stated that some of these disfigured ghosts, with bloody wounds, would rush at them. Again leaving no sign in the snow, they had actually been there.

These reports were shared so often that storytellers dubbed the Hoosac Tunnel with a new name.

The called it the "Bloody Pit."

Train engineers also heard the phantom moans in the tunnel, after the construction was completed. Several reported hearing human screams over their train engines as they passed through the tunnel

Hunters and hikers walking near the Hoosac entrance report similar sounds of cries coming from the dark tunnel.

Two hunters, Greg Jefferies, and Ian Bolt passed by the tunnel in the fall of 1874. They went inside when they heard the moans of a man they thought must be hurt.

They knew that the Hoosac was considered haunted so they were curious--they got more than they bargained for.

Continuing to hear the moans, Bolt called out, “Hello! Are you badly hurt?” The cries stopped so Bolt continued to question, “I said Hello there! Tell us where you are so we can help.”

The two hunters heard slow, heavy footsteps approaching them. They waited, holding their lanterns high. In the next moments, they saw a light coming down the tunnel swaying gently.

A dark figure, six feet tall, stopped just outside the circle of light their lanterns provided.

Horrified, both men realized this figure was covered in blood and had no head. The two men didn’t say a word as they ran out of the tunnel.

After this, many people questioned this story--they felt the two men were exaggerating. Today this story about the “headless miner” is one of the most enduring ghost folklore tales told about the Hoosac Tunnel.

In contrast, there have been many witness accounts that indicate this old railroad tunnel is haunted. Some consider these spirits benevolent.

More than one railroad worker has claimed the spirits in this tunnel saved their lives.

Geoff Graig’s life was saved in 1972, when he heard a sudden warning shouted from the darkness.

“I was inspecting the tracks about 80 yards into the tunnel when a shrill voice I never heard before began screaming at me. It was a man’s voice, screaming Run! Run! Run! over and over again. I ran without thinking, just as scared of the voice as I was of whatever danger it was warning me against.”

After Graig reached the tunnel entrance, he heard the roar of a train approaching. He had made it out of the tunnel just as the train caught up to him.

I’ll never know for certain who saved my life that day, but I’m convinced it was one of those workers who died digging the tunnel so many years ago.”

Many other modern-day workers in the tunnel believe just like Graig that something unique protected them. 

Thanks to the spirits that still reside in the Hoosac Tunnel other men have heard warnings that have saved them from being electrocuted, disfigured or killed while working.

It appears that these ghosts do not want to see any more deaths occur in this tunnel.

In Part l of Hoosac Tunnel: The Bloody Pit, I share the reason why so many workers lost their lives in this tunnel and two other stories why it is considered to be haunted.

Dan Asfar, Haunted Highways, Ghost Stories and Strange Tales, 1973 here.

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