Shadow Spirit haunts the land
Where sorrows and sadness lie.
Shadow Spirit visits the sites
Where hundreds of people die.

Where railroad and flood
Twisted steel or thick mud.
Where coal mines’ roofs fall
Or their rivers drown all
Or their methane ignites
and blows them to hell.
Or the black damp steals breath
Of the many that fell.

A land of misfortune
Where many have died
In sorrow and sadness,
Shadow Spirit we ride.


My life has revolved around the state of Pennsylvania. As a first grader I lived in Lacyville on US 6 in the Endless Mountains. As a junior high student I went to North Scranton Junior High. I spent high school in South Jersey, just across the Delaware from Philly. I did college in Ohio, on the other side of Pennsylvania. I have worked in New York’s Southern Tier, just north of the Pennsylvania border, in King of Prussia, PA, Harrisburg, PA, and now I live in Maryland, about 2 miles south of the Pennsylvania border.

Pennsylvania is a big part of my life, but it is also the place of many disasters. Just to list a few:

Type Date Location Deaths
Railroad1943Frankford Junction79
Anthracite Mine1869Avondale Mine110
Bituminous Mine1907Darr Mine239
Flood1889Johnstown Flood2209
Pestilence1918Philadelphia Liberty Loan Parade16000

One of the most devastating disasters in Pennsylvania was a virus – the Spanish Flu. Of all cities in the US, Philadelphia suffered most.