The novel Saluki Marooned was written specifically to promote a unique university located in an obscure but history laden part of the country. Sadly, much of history is tragic. Southern Illinois has seen more tragedy than some entire states.
In Chapter 10 of the novel Peter and Marta are eating lunch in the Lentz Hall cafeteria. Marta believes there is some sort of sinister power that permeates Southern Illinois.
“Power, incredible power, has been released in this region from time to time. This power does something to the people who live here: one of the worst earthquakes in US history was right here in 1811, 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,” said Peter.
“Think about it, brother...in 1925 a mile-wide tornado crossed both the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. 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 history…shit!”