Friday, October 11, 2013

The Ashtabula Train Wreck

Submitted by William Hughes

This was a Christmas time disaster that took place in Ashtabula Ohio on the old Lake Shore Line.

It was a cold snowy day as the Pacific Express rolled in Ashtabula. The temperature was frigid and visibility was zero. Nothing could prepare the passengers for what was about to happen on December 29th, 1876. The time was 7:30 PM as the engineer brought the train across the Ashtabula Bridge. As the engine made it across the bridge, the engineer heard a loud crack and the bridge began to shake. He throttled the engine to full and it shot ahead jumping off the tracks and separating it from the rest of the train. The trailing cars plunged off of the bridge 100 feet to the freezing river below. The train cars made of fragile wood splintered as the crashed on top of each other. What made matters worse was as it was winter the passenger cars had their pot belly stoves running for heat. The red hot coals spilled onto the wooden wreckage igniting the the smashed cars. Within moments the entire wreck was engulfed in a colossal inferno.

Over 85 people perished in the flaming wreck that night. Many were so badly burnt they could not be recognized. To make matter worse many of the passengers had signed for their tickets by simply making an X. This made identification impossible. The railways records indicated that there were anywhere from 180 to 250 souls on board, but the grim facts were, 85 dead, 24 of who were identified. As Ohio watched in shock, the dead were taken to Chestnut Grove Cemetery for burial. A monument has been erected there. Its inscription reads:


The grave site as well as the location of the crash on the bridge are believed to be haunted to this day.

Myself and members of my NEOGRT Team have been to both sites. There we have detected Cold Spots, EVP, and a general feeling of uneasiness at both sites.

William and his group are still in the process of investigating this site. They plan on visiting it again as soon as the weather breaks. The investigation is going to be an overnight stay at the crash site. Any wishing to join them in this venture can do so by contacting William or one of his team at:

Linda & Fred:

NEOGRT (William, Micky, Fred, Linda, Stacy, Chris, and Michell)
Story by William Hughes
Research Materials: Henderson Memorial Library, Train Wreck by, Robert C. Reed. Ships And Men Of The Great Lakes by, Dwight Boyer.

I would personally like to thank Micky and NEOGRT for believing in me to make this research dream come true.

William Hughes

This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets' site.

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