Centralia, Pennsylvania – The Real Life Abandoned City That Inspired The Silent Hill Games and Movies
Silent Hill was not just the imagination of a game or movie maker, it’s based on a real abandoned city called Centralia, in Pennsylvania. It is said to be one of the most haunted places in the United States, so where better to get inspiration for a horror game and movie?
Centralia was a coal mining town since 1842 when the land was purchased by the Locust Mountain Coal and Iron Company. The Mine Run Railroad was built in 1854 to transport coal out of the valley. Centralia was an active coal mining town until 1962 when the coal beneath the ground caught fire.
There is still some disagreement over the specific event which triggered the fire, this makes the underground furnace a mystery in itself, but its what influenced the ideas behind Silent Hill.
In 1966 rail services to the town ended and local residents started to abandon Centralia. By 1980, it had just 1,012 residents, although another 500-600 people lived nearby. As of 2016, there are just 10 people living there. The real-life Silent Hill has become a ghost town, and not just because of the lack of people and smokey, creepy atmosphere.
Many died there and the abandoned town is said to be harboring the souls of the people who refused to leave. Visitors over the years have reported numerous sightings of ghosts, faces, figures, and more. One of the most common reports is that of a young girl covered in ash who stalks the cemeteries. Other claims include screams and moans coming from under the ground, as well as a demonic face which is shaped from the fires below.
The coal fire which started in 1962 is still burning today, and it could do so for another 250 years. It has been described as the gateway to hell and after that name was coined, locals probably heard enough and left. The underground fire gives the town an authentic haunted look as smoke just rises from the ground. You can still book tours around the town today.
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