Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Avondale Mine Disaster...and Abigail

The Avondale Mine Rescue from Explore PA credit: Harper's Weekly

On September 6, 1869, the Avondale mines, located in Plymouth Township of Luzerne county, erupted in a huge bloom of flames. Not a miner in the shaft that day escaped alive; even two rescuers died from the noxious gas produced by the inferno.

The Avondale Mine Disaster claimed 108 lives, and spurred the State to enact early mine safety laws in 1870. Better late than never, hey?

Stories of gurgling, moaning sounds and lights attributed to the spirits trying to find their way out of the mine persist to this day. One writer told us that there's always a cold, sucking draft from the covered mine entrance, now just a crack between rocks. The Northeast PA Paranormal gang undertook an investigation of the charred remains of the pit over a century later, and not too surprisingly, they came up with some spooks.

Oddly enough, they didn't find the restless spirits of trapped miners, but a dysfunctional family of three that couldn't cross over to the other side.

Using psychics to get the tale, NEPA found that in the late 19th century, a girl named Abigail got in a family way. She left home to have her child and spare her folks the stigma of having a daughter that was pregnant out of wedlock, a strong taboo of the era. Abigail had a daughter, Rosalyn, and took up with a man named Henry.

Henry was a cruel and domineering dude, and finally Abigail couldn't take any more of his abuse. She poisoned him at a picnic near the mine. But her choice of murder weapons was a bit ill-advised; the toxin didn't act quickly enough to drop Henry on the spot. He realized what had happened, and his final act on earth was to murder Abigail and Rosie.

The ghost hunters did some homework in the archives, and found the eerie tale to be entirely plausible. NEPA returned and found their forlorn spirits still roaming the Avondale site, and discovered that Henry, still the bully, told the girls' souls they couldn't cross over - they'd both go straight to hell if they did, one for bearing a love child, and the other, well, for being the love child.

Armed with the paranormal facts, the NEPA team tried to talk the lost women to the light, competing with blood red skies and a cursing Henry. Finally, a thunderstorm struck the area, and in its' aftermath, everything was calm. Mission accomplished! It's an interesting tale complete with EVPs, posted in three parts by NEPA.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I knew I wasn't the only one who gets totally creeped out by this old mining community in which I live! I just posted another comment shortly before this one. I have lost of stories to share about Avondale Hill, and some of them are pretty vivid. I found the article you linked to (the current link is broken) and in the one picture the group were standing in front of the mine entrance. I've stood in that very spot numerous times, but I never realized it was the former entrance! I've always had a strange, gut feeling when I stood there... and I now understand why. Also, I've been there in the dead of winter and there seems to ALWAYS be an ice cold draft being sucked into the entrance (a narrow crack is all that remains, just above the ground level. It's so easy to mistake it for a natural fault in the rock). A couple houses happen to have former shaft openings in their yard, close to the street. It's very creepy to pass them sometimes, they tend to make rumbling noises...