There have always been ghost stories surrounding the Main Line Mine incident in Pennsylvania, but few suspected that these ghost stories would in time actually lead to the discovery of a mass grave. And even when the mass grave was discovered, no one would have suspected those buried at the site would have been murdered under suspicious circumstances some 200 years ago.
The story begins almost a world away on a ship known as the John Stamp arriving for the United States loaded with Irish immigrants bent on building a new life in America. As they disembarked from the ship with the Statue of Liberty seen in the distance, several Irish workers would meet the man who would ultimately lead them down a short road to their deaths.
His name was Philip Duffy. He was a rail road man, hoping to close rifts and open doors for people everywhere, making him a captain of industry and creating new veins to support sprouting communities throughout the west. He is also currently being investigated for the murder of 37 men.
But conditions out in the field for mine workers were tough. Diseases like dysentery and cholera were commonplace. Conditions were nowhere near today’s standards of hygiene. Instead people were expected to work like machines long hours with little pay to help bring about a burgeoning industrial revolution. By the end of the year a cholera epidemic swept through and killed thirty seven workers. At least that was the official story.
For years afterward legends of ghosts in the area dressed in period garb would spread like wildfire. And as the legend was investigated by anthropologist William Watson he would discover disturbing telltale signs that the official story was not only inaccurate, but could even be a diabolical cover-up. With the first two skulls he noted peculiarities suggesting blunt trauma to the head, but then with the discovery of new skulls there was at least one skull with a disturbing mark on it that punctuated the history of these men in a disturbing way – a bullet hole. At least it looks like a bullet hole. Further analysis is ongoing to confirm the find, but the discovery mixed with the trauma to the other skeletons discovered in the mass grave paint a grim and disturbing picture. It would seem these men did not in fact die of cholera, but were murdered.
And even though it happened over two hundred years ago, Watson is determined to solve this mystery so those who were lost can once again be spoken of not merely as ghosts, but allow those handling their remains to tell the truth of their demise.
Meanwhile, stories of the ghosts dancing on their graves have stopped temporarily while the investigation continues. Perhaps the ghosts were merely thought up as part of a legend fueled by knowledge of something that should not be forgotten. Or perhaps they truly were dancing after death, hoping someone would notice and uncover the mystery of their disappearance.