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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Circus nightmare

While clicking through a link embedded in the Wired article covered in my previous post, I stumbled across something too bizarre to not share: an article about a mass grave of circus workers and performers. Woah! Not too surprisingly, perhaps, is that this grave is the result of a horrific train accident in 1918: an empty troop train plowed through the rear four cars of a train transporting the Hagenbeck-Wallace circus outside Hammond, IN; the train subsequently burst into flames. 50 or 60 of the approximately 90 victims (many unidentified - anonymous roustabouts or drifters newly-hired) of this crash were buried in a "Showmen's Rest" plot in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Forest Park, IL. has a piece about the plot here, as does the Showmen's League of America (the fraternal organization founded in 1913 that supplied the Woodlawn plot), here. According to all these sources, the plot continues to be used to this day, with more recently departed performers joining their historical compatriots; about half the space is dedicated to the victims of the train wreck. The Roadside America article also links to another piece about a slightly different "Showman's Rest" in Hugo, OK (entertainers and rodeo stars) and mentions that the largest "Showman's Rest" is in Southern Memorial Park, Miami, FL.


Blogger Carnacki said...

Damn! Great post. Sounds like the great hook for a short horror story.

10/11/2005 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger protected static said...

Doesn't it though? I saw it and knew this was the perfect place for it ;-)

10/11/2005 10:07:00 PM  
Blogger Cav said...

I'm already working up a plot ;-)

10/14/2005 04:10:00 PM  

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