The Bloody Pit
Posted 13 October 2004 - 06:18 AM
The Hoosac Tunnel, Florida, MA
By: Tom Vannah
I'm almost as far as I can go. I'm maybe 200 yards down the track, an infinitesimal fraction of the 4.82-mile length of the tunnel. I can't see light ahead of me; there's light behind me, but I feel it more than I see it. It's cold in here. And even though I know the ceiling is more than 20 feet above me, I feel nearly overwhelmed by claustrophobia. Try as I might, I can't shake the sense that, at any moment, the tunnel might collapse, leaving me buried under a 1,200-foot mountain of rock.
I'm stopping now. I want desperately to turn and run. Instead, I try to calm myself by reciting some of the factoids I gleaned from my web search earlier in the day: "The Hoosac Tunnel in Florida, Mass., is one of the great engineering feats of the 19th century. To this day, it's the longest railroad tunnel east of the Rocky Mountains. It took nearly 25 years to complete and cost more than $22 million. Construction crews excavated more than 2 million tons of rock to make the tunnel. Nearly 200 workers were killed while working on the project."
That last stat has my heart pumping, but I continue: "The Hoosac Tunnel is thought to be one of the most haunted places in New England. The workers who built it referred to the tunnel as the 'The Bloody Pit.'"
I'd hoped I'd have the balls to walk in a mile or so, but I can't make even a quarter of the distance. I haven't flipped on my headlamp yet, but I want to.
Now I'm thinking about Ringo Kelley. On March 20, 1865, the story goes, two explosives experts had just put down a huge nitroglycerine charge when Ringo ignited it prematurely. The two experts were blown to bits, but Ringo came away unscathed. A few days later, he disappeared. A year later, almost to the day, in the exact spot where the two experts lost their lives, workers found the body of Ringo Kelley. He'd been strangled to death.
What if I saw a ghost? Would I end up like Harlan Mulvaney? Mulvaney led a team of horses pulling a wagon into the tunnel in the fall of 1875. He got a few hundred yards in when he suddenly turned his team around and drove them out of the tunnel. A few days later, workers found the horses and the wagon about three miles away from the tunnel. Mulvaney was never seen or heard from again.
There have been other mysterious disappearances linked to this tunnel. In 1973, Bernard Hastaba set out to walk through the tunnel. He was never seen again. Maybe he saw the blue lights so many others have reported seeing, heard wailing in the blackness.
I'm not seeing blue lights, not hearing moans and groans, but I do feel an occassional rush of cold air against my skin--its source, a mystery. I turn on my headlamp. My eyes are trying to adjust. I feel confused, scared.
I'm running now. And I don't look back until I'm outside in the September sunshine. Even there, I feel a chill.
For the best information on the ghostly Hoosac Tunnel, check out "Hoosac Tunnel: Abode of the Damned?" at www.boudillion.com/hoosac/hoosac.htm.
Posted 13 October 2004 - 09:20 AM
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