The haunted city of the well-known games is based on a real ghost town called Centralia PA in Pennsylvania. You can visit the location. It may seem unlikely that a place as terrifying as Silent Hill could exist in our world, but it does.
Silent Hill, a series of survival horror games, has raised the bar for horror video games over the past 24 years. The original game in the series, which debuted in 1999, set a new standard for the genre by heavily emphasizing psychological fear and a menacing environment.
The city of Silent Hill is where the games are set, and it plays a significant part in the eerie atmosphere that envelops the player and its enigmatic inhabitants. The ghost town of Centralia, where the hell is raging beneath, is fully enveloped in a dense fog.
A coal mine fire that has been raging beneath Centralia for almost 60 years is a deserted mining town. It shares a gloomy past with Silent Hill, marking the time when the area wasn’t what it is now.
Pre-Hell Centralia PA
Native American tribes surrendered the land to colonial authorities in 1749, and one of the country’s founding fathers, Robert Morris, eventually purchased it. Stephen Girard bought Centralia after filing for bankruptcy, and the area had coal resources.
Alexander Rae, a mining engineer, settled in the area known as Bull’s Head and started making plans for a settlement. By attracting workers to the mines, coal exploration gave the small city life.
In 1854, the Mine Run Railroad was established to move immigrants and coal. The first two mines began operating in 1856 after the town’s name was changed to Centralia.
A History Of Violence
The Molly Maguires, however, settled in Centralia. They were a rustic secret organization with their roots in Ireland and immigrated to America. The gang was held accountable for a string of violent incidents against those in charge of the Irish employees’ exploitation, horrible living circumstances, and discrimination based on their religion.
They were thought to be responsible for both the killing of the town’s first priest and the murder of Centralia’s founder, Alexander Rae. A Roman Catholic priest cursed the area after being attacked by three Maguires members, and there were several killings and arsons in Centralia in the 1860s.
The Molly Maguires’ attacks on Centralia ended in 1877 after their leaders were hanged. Many Molly Maguire ancestors are thought to have continued to reside in Centralia up until the 1980s.
The Fire Underneath Centralia PA
The mine fire’s start and end are still under dispute among specialists. The cause of the fire is unknown. However, it is known that it has been burning since at least May 1962. If the current rate of fire under Centralia continues, it might burn for more than 250 years.
The population increased until it peaked in 1890 at 2,761 individuals. The town’s five local mines closed after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 as the demand for coal gradually decreased. By the 1960s, the population began to decline, and most companies shut down.
To continue extracting coal, miners would use a method known as “pillar-robbing,” which included stealing coal from the coal pillars that had been left to support the mine’s ceiling. The collapse of numerous empty mines due to pillar-robbing made it more difficult to put out the mine fire later in 1962.
The burning of waste put in mine pits is the most likely reason for the fire. The local council resolved to clear up a strip mine dump, but according to DeKok, putting rubbish on fire wasn’t described because dump fires were forbidden by state legislation.
The Aftermath Of The Fire
The effects of the mine fire didn’t initially appear to be a problem for the community, but they soon became apparent. The city began to experience unpleasant odours from the trash, temperatures in the town increased, and sinkholes began to appear, releasing hot steam and turning the town into a ghost town resembling Silent Hill.
In 1962 and 1963, a total of $154.000, or $1,376,613 today, was spent on various excavation projects to try and put out the mine fire. However, nothing was able to do so.
As the town’s population began to decline, the government spent more than $42 million relocating more than a thousand people and demolishing 500 structures. Only a few houses were still standing in 2002, so the U.S. Postal Service stopped using the ZIP code.
Despite the high levels of carbon monoxide in the air, a few people resisted leaving Centralia. According to the 2010 census, just 10 persons, five females, and five males, were residing in the abandoned town.
The Bottom Line
You can legally visit Centralia. Although the State owns a few vacant structures, there are still families in the town, so be mindful of your surroundings to determine whether you are trespassing.
Always remember to show respect for the town’s residents and history. Many visitors visit Centralia not only out of interest but also to show respect for the community. Family and friends occasionally pay visits to the three cemeteries in the borough of Centralia.
You may see the smoke-filled town that served as the basis for the Silent Hill video game series when you travel there!
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