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"Cut in two from crotch to crown"

Old newspapers serve to remind us just how dangerous life could be in the days of our grandparents and great-grandparents. When they weren't busy dodging cholera, black lung and other diseases, they were busy dodging trains, carriages and trolleys. Sometimes they weren't always so lucky, as the following newspaper story from 1905 illustrates.


From the April 27, 1905 edition of the Bloomsburg Columbian:


AWFUL DEATH ON THE RAIL- Mangled remains of man found on Pennsy Railroad above Espy
About seven o'clock Sunday morning the horribly mangled remains of a man were found by George Kelchner who lives near Espy, on the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad above Espy. The body was literally torn to pieces and scattered along the track for thirty feet. It was cut in two from crotch to crown, the face was torn off, and the left side was cut in five pieces. A freight train that came along was stopped by Kelchner, and the crew brought word to East Bloom station, and a trackman was sent …

The great Sunbury chocolate spill of 1925

In May of 1925, a freight train traveling from Tamaqua to Williamsport derailed while crossing the railroad bridge over the Susquehanna River in Sunbury. The contents of the freight cars-- including six tons of chocolate bars-- spilled into the river. Children wasted no time plunging into the water in hopes of "rescuing" the chocolate. Although the accident caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to the bridge and train, no injuries were reported, perhaps making this incident the happiest trainwreck in history!

From the Altoona Tribune, May 28, 1925: