Sheppton PA in 1963: A mine disaster coupled with a real life paranormal story

Sheppton PA: The location was one of the first rescues of trapped miners accomplished by raising them through holes bored through solid rock, an event that gripped the world’s attention during August 1963..

At press time, that was 57 years ago this month.

The headlines initially were dire.. The idea that the entire world was paying attention to every dispatch and detail from Schuylkill County PA is amazing to consider..

THE ACCIDENT

This was the HAZLETON STANDARD SPEAKER’S front page the day after the incident:

aug14sheppton.jpg

The roof of the Sheppton anthracite coal mine collapsed on August 13 and three miners were trapped 300 feet below ground. A small borehole was drilled from the surface in an attempt to contact the miners.

After several days a borehole successfully reached a mine, and revealed that two of the miners, Henry Throne and David Fellin, had survived in a small, narrow chamber! A miracle amid the tragedy.

Rescuers dropped provisions to the miners through boreholes with the assistance of the likes of billionaire Howard Hughes..

survivingminors.jpg

Thone and Fellin were successfully raised to the surface on August 27.

Attempts to contact the third miner, Louis Bova, were unsuccessful..

But the story did not end there. Both relayed strange stories, apparitions, and tales of the other world.. the Pope at the time even became an audience .. to this day, their tales live on in ghost and coal mine lure…

THE HEADLINES

On August 14, the STANDARD SPEAKER went into depth into the background of the minors:

shepptonaug14

The STANDARD SPEAKER reported this about the rescue on August 23:

shepptonaug23

By the rescue on August 27m the SHAMOKIN NEWS-DISPATCH reported that the miners were dancing a ‘jig’ during the rescue:

danceajig.jpg

THE AFTERMATH

Steve Kondrad, president of the Plymouth Historical Society, said this in 2017 of the Sheppton disaster: “As the miners die, their stories are forgotten.”

The TIMES LEADER reported this on January 8, 2017 about  Maxim Furek’s presentation “The Sheppton Mine Disaster, August 1963”:

Furek spoke for about 45 minutes on Sunday about how the miraculous, supernatural, technological and bizarre differences make the Sheppton Mine in Schuylkill County different from other mines around the world. In August 1963, three “regular guys” who happened to be miners went to work at the Oneida No. 2 slope, not knowing they would become trapped. The mine collapsed and buried the trio more than 300 feet below, Furek explained. David Fellin and Henry Throne were pulled out alive. The third miner, Louis Bova, was never found. Some argue the hit song “Timothy” by local recording artists The Boys was based on the the rumor Bova was eaten by Fellin and Throne.

The news reported that Fellin sang as he was rescued..

More from the 2017 report,

The rescue, Furek said, was the hardest part. The two men came out of a 17-inch opening in a harness because there was a concern the capsule, which was originally the rescue device, would break since the hole wasn’t straight down to the men. Throne was first and, when he saw the light of day, he passed out. Fellin, on the other hand, was talking and singing, Furek said. During a post-rescue interview, Fellin signed an affidavit that said he prayed to Pope Saint John XXIII daily and the Pope, who died months prior to the accident, was with the trapped miners. “I believe they had a flight of the soul, out-of-body experience,” Furek said.

THE PARANORMAL AND SUPERNATURAL

Back on the 21st anniversary of the Sheppton Mine Disaster, the HAZLETON STANDARD SPEAKER reported about the weirder and paranormal aspect of the incident:

shepptonparanormal

 Dave Fellin and Hank Throne told their story to medical survival experts: Claims of supernatural involvement—prompted by the remarkable visions the trapped men had witnessed.

They recollected the humanoids who were dressed in space suits with lights on their helmets. Revealingly, the two miners felt strangely wonderful and seemed to be in a dream state, like traveling through a hall of mirrors.

Throne yelled to one figure, “Show me some light over here! Over here!”

Fellin saw him too, he said, “but the shape of the man got smaller and smaller as we crawled toward him and then he was gone altogether”

But there are some others who would take refuge in the SKEPTICAL inquirer.. as they reported onJune 3, 2019:

Taken together, the different bits of evidence demonstrate that the men’s visionary experiences were, understandably, almost certainly hallucinations, delusions, and imaginings, shared through suggestion so that eventually they became more or less standardized between the two trapped miners. This probability is both plausible and corroborated by evidence, whereas the alternate explanation—that the described visions were actual supernatural occurrences—loses out to the principle of Occam’s razor, the scientific rule of thumb that suggests the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions is to be preferred. (Positing the supernatural requires assumptions not founded in science.)

This is not an unscholarly “debunking” attitude but rather an investigative one. I remain confident that an investigation leading to explanation is the best approach. If something can be effectively explained, any needed debunking will take care of itself.

But the ghost stories lives to today.. These old tales of the Pope and humanoids in a mine during utter chaos and collapse continue cause debate.

THE POPE?

HALLUCINATIONS?

History!

All in August of 1963.. Before THAT world changed when JFK went to Dallas in November…

The headlines initially were dire.. The idea that the entire world was paying attention to every dispatch and detail from Schuylkill County PA is amazing to consider..

THE ACCIDENT

This was the HAZLETON STANDARD SPEAKER’S front page the day after the incident:

aug14sheppton.jpg

The roof of the Sheppton anthracite coal mine collapsed on August 13 and three miners were trapped 300 feet below ground. A small borehole was drilled from the surface in an attempt to contact the miners.

After several days a borehole successfully reached a mine, and revealed that two of the miners, Henry Throne and David Fellin, had survived in a small, narrow chamber! A miracle amid the tragedy.

Rescuers dropped provisions to the miners through boreholes with the assistance of the likes of billionaire Howard Hughes..

survivingminors.jpg

Thone and Fellin were successfully raised to the surface on August 27.

Attempts to contact the third miner, Louis Bova, were unsuccessful..

But the story did not end there. Both relayed strange stories, apparitions, and tales of the other world.. the Pope at the time even became an audience .. to this day, their tales live on in ghost and coal mine lure…

THE HEADLINES

On August 14, the STANDARD SPEAKER went into depth into the background of the minors:

shepptonaug14

The STANDARD SPEAKER reported this about the rescue on August 23:

shepptonaug23

By the rescue on August 27m the SHAMOKIN NEWS-DISPATCH reported that the miners were dancing a ‘jig’ during the rescue:

danceajig.jpg

THE AFTERMATH

Steve Kondrad, president of the Plymouth Historical Society, said this in 2017 of the Sheppton disaster: “As the miners die, their stories are forgotten.”

The TIMES LEADER reported this on January 8, 2017 about  Maxim Furek’s presentation “The Sheppton Mine Disaster, August 1963”:

Furek spoke for about 45 minutes on Sunday about how the miraculous, supernatural, technological and bizarre differences make the Sheppton Mine in Schuylkill County different from other mines around the world. In August 1963, three “regular guys” who happened to be miners went to work at the Oneida No. 2 slope, not knowing they would become trapped. The mine collapsed and buried the trio more than 300 feet below, Furek explained. David Fellin and Henry Throne were pulled out alive. The third miner, Louis Bova, was never found. Some argue the hit song “Timothy” by local recording artists The Boys was based on the the rumor Bova was eaten by Fellin and Throne.

The news reported that Fellin sang as he was rescued..

More from the 2017 report,

The rescue, Furek said, was the hardest part. The two men came out of a 17-inch opening in a harness because there was a concern the capsule, which was originally the rescue device, would break since the hole wasn’t straight down to the men. Throne was first and, when he saw the light of day, he passed out. Fellin, on the other hand, was talking and singing, Furek said. During a post-rescue interview, Fellin signed an affidavit that said he prayed to Pope Saint John XXIII daily and the Pope, who died months prior to the accident, was with the trapped miners. “I believe they had a flight of the soul, out-of-body experience,” Furek said.

THE PARANORMAL AND SUPERNATURAL

Back on the 21st anniversary of the Sheppton Mine Disaster, the HAZLETON STANDARD SPEAKER reported about the weirder and paranormal aspect of the incident:

shepptonparanormal

 Dave Fellin and Hank Throne told their story to medical survival experts: Claims of supernatural involvement—prompted by the remarkable visions the trapped men had witnessed.

They recollected the humanoids who were dressed in space suits with lights on their helmets. Revealingly, the two miners felt strangely wonderful and seemed to be in a dream state, like traveling through a hall of mirrors.

Throne yelled to one figure, “Show me some light over here! Over here!”

Fellin saw him too, he said, “but the shape of the man got smaller and smaller as we crawled toward him and then he was gone altogether”

But there are some others who would take refuge in the SKEPTICAL inquirer.. as they reported onJune 3, 2019:

Taken together, the different bits of evidence demonstrate that the men’s visionary experiences were, understandably, almost certainly hallucinations, delusions, and imaginings, shared through suggestion so that eventually they became more or less standardized between the two trapped miners. This probability is both plausible and corroborated by evidence, whereas the alternate explanation—that the described visions were actual supernatural occurrences—loses out to the principle of Occam’s razor, the scientific rule of thumb that suggests the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions is to be preferred. (Positing the supernatural requires assumptions not founded in science.)

This is not an unscholarly “debunking” attitude but rather an investigative one. I remain confident that an investigation leading to explanation is the best approach. If something can be effectively explained, any needed debunking will take care of itself.

But the ghost stories lives to today.. These old tales of the Pope and humanoids in a mine during utter chaos and collapse continue cause debate.

THE POPE?

HALLUCINATIONS?

History!

All in August of 1963.. Before THAT world changed when JFK went to Dallas in November…

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK

%d bloggers like this: