News Article

News Article

Visit the Burning City that Inspired 'Silent Hill'

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Whether you're a fan of the Silent Hill game series or just familiar with the story through its feature film adaptations, you no doubt remember the ultra-creepy title location: a literal ghost town that's constantly ablaze, veiled in thick black clouds of smoke and raining ash from the sky.
 
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But fewer people are aware that the fictional city of Silent Hill is based on a real location: the abandoned mining town of Centralia, Pennsylvania, which shut down operations after a catastrophic fire... a fire which is still burning over fifty years later.
 
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Photo by Rick R, AndroidCentral.com
 
The fires began in May of 1962 (a century after the Centralia mine was first opened) when a burning landfill over a strip-mining pit ignited exposed coal, setting off a chain reaction that spread through a massive network of mining tunnels. As it grew beneath the town, the blaze quickly became unstoppable, and after two decades of failed attempts to extinguish the fires, the government set about relocating the entire population to a safer area. As of today, only seven surviving residents remain.
 
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Photo by Rick R, AndroidCentral.com
 
Screenwriter Roger Avary recalled childhood stories of the burning city while penning the film adaptation of Silent Hill, and even visited the town for creative inspiration. Today, fans make pilgrimages to Centralia, where they're stunned by its similarities to the nightmare world from the games and films.
 
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Photo by Don Emmert, AFP/Getty Images
 
According to last week's episode of the Travel Channel series America Declassified, the fires are shown to be very active, and experts theorize there is enough coal beneath Centralia to keep the fires burning for a thousand years.
 
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Photo by acejenna via Tumblr
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