Silent Hill: the real ghost town



The Silent Hill from the homonymous and renowned videogame franchise of psychological survival horrors, is described as an holiday resort on the Toluca Lake, divided into various areas, amongst which stand the residential district and the old part of the town. Built on an ancient Indian cemetery, the town had a troubled past that led it to be populated and abandoned many times, and then to become the place where a sect practised human sacrifices and necromancy. In the game, Silent Hill is constantly shrouded in thick fog, with rain, snow, and ashes coming down all year long. At the sound of air raid siren, the town turns into the “Otherworld”, a distorted parallel dimension where everything takes the aspect it would have after a terrible fire: everything burned, blood everywhere, and bodies hanging from the wall. A purgatory to cross and where one must face their inner demons or die. 


In 2006, a film based on the videogame was made, directed by Christopher Gans, in which the plot follows loosely the first and third episode of the series. In the film, Silent Hill is a West Virginia Ghost Town abandoned in 1974 due to a devastating fire. But in this case, the script does take inspiration from a real story… 


The nightmarish has, in fact, really existed. Its name isn’t Silent Hill, but Centralia, and it stands in Pennsylvania. The city rose in the first years of the XIX century over a deposit of anthracite, a 95% pure coal, that was extracted in huge quantities until the end of the century. During its golden age, Centralia was home to over 2.000 inhabitants, but in May 1962 a fatal accident scarred forever their fate…the coal-vein suddenly caught fire, blazing everywhere underground, and any attempt to put it out proved useless.
“This was a world where no human could live, hotter than the planet Mercury, its atmosphere as poisonous as Saturn’s. At the heart of the fire, temperatures easily exceeded 1,000 degrees. Lethal clouds of carbon monoxide and other gases swirled through the rock chambers.” – David DeKok (1986) 

The real causes of the fire are yet unknown. Apparently, it started from the introduction of burning wastes into a disused deposit. What’s certain is that the consequences were disastrous. Clouds of ashes and smoke covered the city, the trees died, the asphalt melt and everywhere formed cracks and chasms. In the following twenty years the population was progressively evacuated. In 1979 a thermometer inserted into the ground to check the petrol level of a malfunctioning station, and much to everyone’s surprise it showed 77.8°C. In 1981 a twelve-years-old fell in a 46 metres chasm that suddenly opened under his feet; luckily, thanks to his brother’s help, he survived. 

Today, Centralia is a ghost town were only about ten people live. Many buildings were pulled down and dangerous carbon monoxide flows out from some of the cracks in the road. The fire underneath Centralia is still active and it is estimated it will be for hundreds of year. Its tragic fate turned it into a gloomy and sadly instructive touristic attraction.



Translation by Marco Salvadori
Image gallery on ORIGINAL POST

28 comments:

  1. Very good information, and you are infected ir.Pero I can not love the games, just missing me:
    SILENT HILL ​​ORIGINS 1
    SILENT HILL ​​5 HOMECOMING
    And no, thank you for the information :)!

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    1. what about SILENT "HILL 4: The Room" the one with the best soundtrack and a damn fine story, even if it does have really shitty graphics

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  2. Thanx for the history

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  3. thanks for the info i really needed just a little extra history lesson!!

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  4. Thank you. That was very helpful.

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  5. Awesome info thanx

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  6. thank u I hope I get to go there n see it n visit n take pictures

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  7. I would like.to go to silent hill what does anyone think?

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    1. I am thinking the same thing it would be amazing and an interesting sight to see

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    2. I am going this summer

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    3. I am going this summer

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    4. I cant wait, the Japanese pointed this place out to us by making a video game way before the movie

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    5. Id like to go as well. o and what bout silent hill restless dreams??

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  8. Thanks for the info I plan on makeing a trip there on interstate 80 from omaha Nebraska

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  9. I can't wait to go. Sounds interesting...I'm thinking a week?(:

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  10. God I wld love to go myself. what funn interesting... if anyone really goes let me kno how it came please

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  11. I thought that this was only just madeup in the movies! Really interesting!

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  12. ID LOVE TO GO AND VIST LOVE STUFF LIKE THAT THE HISTORY BEHIND IT IS COOL

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  13. All of you that go are crazy ass hell....

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  14. But why would you go there....?.....

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  15. I knew this movie wad based on a real place but now I know where it is. It would be very cool to go there just for the experience. Thanx for the great info!

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  16. Silent Hill, very dark and misunderstood...those who travel...beware..for even though it was a story to sum but true to others, make no mistake...you will witness a unbelievable entity which you might not want to see....Information...no..just not this time...

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  17. Centralia is haunted. Been there. Not haunted by ghosts, but by demons or very angry spirits. You MIGHT see some apparitions. You definitely hear whispers and voices.

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  18. its see so scared ...

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