Centralia, Pennsylvania

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

(c) 2014, Robyn LaRue

This week’s “Before I Die…” post excites me as it is a location that I have actually visited.  Centralia, Pennsylvania is a modern-day ghost town and real life Silent Hill.  Yep, you heard me right, a real life Silent Hill.  Walking through town, knowing the world burns beneath your feet, you are on edge.  If you have seen the Silent Hill movies or played the video games, you can’t help to feel a panic in your chest, waiting for that air siren to sound.

In 1962, a fire started in an interconnected coal vein underneath the town and it has been burning ever since.  The fire is expected to continue burning for the next 1,000 years.  Before the fire started, the town had a population that was over 1100.  In the 1980s, the town had been almost completely evacuated.  Only about 11 residents remain – refusing to leave.  The buildings that are left, are uninhabited and are slowly falling into decay.

Centralia feels like it is not a part of this world.  Smoke and steam rise from gaping cracks in the Earth.  Heat radiates from the ground.  Your eyes and nose burn from the toxins in the air.  Silence eerily commands the air.  It truly feels like you are on the cusp of stepping into Hell.

I went through several videos, and found this one that resonated best with my experience visiting Centralia.  If you ever find yourself near Centralia, Pennsylvania, I highly recommend visiting the area.  However, a word of caution, the area is hazardous.  Steam escaping from the cracks in the Earth can be laced with toxins, which can be extremely dangerous if breathed in.  Also, the ground is in subsidence.  There is always a chance that the ground could give way beneath your feet.  Under no circumstances should you visit this area alone.