It begins each and every night at just past 2:00 am.
Richard’s Glen is, by all accounts, an All-American small Midwestern town. If you were to leaf through the pages of a Norman Rockwell book of illustrations, you would get a clear and unmistakable impression of life in Richard’s Glen.
Despite its inauspicious size, Richard’s Glen has long enjoyed the enviable notoriety of having produced the likes of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, Butch Alcorn…as well as decorated astronaut, Wallace Jensen. Much in keeping with the town’s ironic history, it is also the birthplace of Ernest Thacker, convicted mass murderer.
Things have always seemed to be governed by some inexplicable force, which has produced a wide range of successes…..and failures…..as long as most locals can remember. As example…a few years back, the local Little League team went all the way to Williamsport three consecutive summers, winning the League’s World Series each time. Conversely, the town’s high school football program hasn’t won a single game in over six years now.
The town had enjoyed a rich history as a mining and railroad “boom town” from the late 1800’s until the early 1940’s. Today, the mines are all sealed up, and the nearest train runs some 60 miles north of Richard’s Glen.
Yet, the town of 2100 residents remains one of the most picturesque small town throughout the Midwest.
Most anyone you might ask would agree. It’s the kind of town in which you’d want to raise children, or retire. That is, unless you’ve spent a night there.
Earliest recollections of its mysterious curiosity come from a few of its old-timers, who first heard it during the hot summer nights of 1952. Frightfully, no one can remember a night without it since.
As you might imagine, there have been countless exhaustive efforts made by any number of groups over the years, hoping to find its origin, and lay the myth to rest. But…fact is…to this day, there are no clues as to how it happens, or what it means.
It’s been explained off in many ways. Scoffed at by some; taken advantage of by some opportunistic entrepreneurial sorts; as it has also driven many to pack up and move away.
As if to make it a bit more unnerving, it never happens at exactly the same time. But…without doubt…it happens. It happens each and every night, between 2:00 and 2:30 am.
Folks describe it in different ways. But, it’s generally agreed that it begins as if the sound of a sole miner methodically striking his pickax at some unknown precious treasure somewhere in the night. As unexpectedly as it began, it will randomly stop. When it begins again, it’s as if another miner has joined in the search. Varied periods of silence are always broken by the expanded efforts of more and more miners, who seem to be digging in areas all around the valley.
Oh….Many organized searches have set out over the years, in quest of the meaning of it all. Bizarre tales always seem to accompany their return. Well…that is….for those who do return. Since the earliest expeditions into the night, as many as twelve searchers have unexplainably disappeared….never to be heard from again.
Without variance, the phantom miners’ pickaxes grow in an eerie cadence for as long as two hours until it happens….as it does each night. No one can ever agree from which direction it comes. But, the lonesome sound of a distant freight train grows ever nearer, until the sound of its mournful whistle finally drowns out the sounds of the pickaxes. After it’s whistle and rushing wheels have seemed to come out of the walls of every home in the valley, it passes….leaving the night in absolute silence until the sun once again rises on this All-American town, called Richard’s Glen.