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 up to guard the body until the coroner could be notified.
The body was that of a man under thirty years of age, well dressed, with $8.21 in his pockets and two photographs, one of himself, and the other a group of which he was one. He also had a railroad pass from Altoona to Wilkes-Barre, and this led to his identification as J. Bupaski of Altoona. His watch had stopped at 12:30.
The body was brought to East Bloom on a handy car, and Director of the Poor Boyd Yetter, of Main township notified and he instructed undertaker G.G. Baker to take charge of the remains. They were brought here to his rooms at about noon on Sunday. One half the body was on a board, and the other half in a bag, in five pieces.
Coroner Sharpless learned from Supt. Allibone of the Pennsylvania R.R. that J. Bupaski boarded with Dominick Davis of Altoona where he worked, and that he left there on Saturday to visit his sister who lives in Scranton. The theory now is that the man missed his train at Sunbury and started to Wilkes-Barre on a night freight train and fell off while asleep.
His sister did not come to take charge of the remains and so they were sent to Altoona by express yesterday afternoon.