Southern Illinois: Quiet, Bucolic…Treacherous!

Time Warp Saluki Marooned SIU

A sinister looking afternoon at Campus Lake, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

The earthen dam at the east side of Campus Lake. Before the inland hurricane, there was a solid line of trees bordering this path.


In May of 2009, an inland hurricane, or  derecho, destroyed most of the trees on the left side of this path over the earthen dam of Campus Lake.

The Inland Hurricane of May 2009.

The inland hurricane was one of many fantastic events that have occurred in Southern Illinois over the centuries.





In the following excerpt from Saluki Marooned, Marta, a hippie student, is sitting gazing out of the dining room window of Lentz Hall towards the dam on Campus Lake.

Fall? Saluki Martooned

Lentz Hall overlooking Lake on the Campus.


The Mississippi River during the 19th century.

"Think about it, brother, one of the worst earthquakes in US history was right here in 1811.  It changed the course of the Mississippi River! Then there was the Great Tri-State tornado...



Track of the Great Tri-State Tornado of 1925. Courtesy of Paduka, KY NWS. Click for the story.



"The thing was on the ground for three and half hours and moved at an average speed of 65 miles an hour.  300 mile-per-hour winds destroyed 20,000 homes and killed nearly 700 people in three states, including 260 people in Murphysboro.  Hell, all told, 2000 people were reported missing—2000 people! It was an F-5, a once-in-a-thousand-years occurrence, the worst tornado in!”

"But what do those disasters have to do with anything?”

“Power, incredible power, has been released in this region from time to time. This power does something to the people who live here: blood feuds in Williamson County, the Herrin Massacre of 1922, and the spring riot season in Carbondale. There is some sort of raw energy here in Southern Illinois that lies latent for years, then–BOOM—an explosion in the New Orient Mine, or—BOOM—Old Main is torched, or—BOOM—the 1957 Murphysboro tornado,or—BOOM—Williamson County attempts to secede from the union, or—BOOM—”

“Okay, I get the idea.photoviewer

“Think about it, man!  Have you ever wondered how SIU became one of the 25 largest universities in the country when it’s located in the middle of a bunch of cornfields and woods?  Then there are those UFO sightings, the Big Muddy Monster, the Hundley House murders, and reports of people disappearing into thin air, most of it probably bogus, but still—”

“And added to it, the Federson time warp,” I chimed in.

“That’s what I mean."

The Story.

May 7, 1970.  SIU students block Main street in Carbondale.  The university was later closed because of the riots.