I remember when I saw the episode of Ghost Adventures where Zak, Nick and Aaron made their way to North Adams Massachusetts to investigate the mysterious Houghton Mansion. My eyes were peeled to the screen, as they always were when I watched my favorite paranormal shows. Zak's familiar exuberant excitement for all places presumed to be haunted always drew me in and I would sit wide eyed, just craving a chance to set foot in some ghost infested locale. The episode eventually led the frenzied trio of paranormal investigators directly to the, known to be haunted, Hoosac Tunnel. I leaned in closer to my television inspired by their immediate spiritual connection with the many souls who had so tragically lost their lives within it's damp, dark walls....195 to be exact, with 30 more to perish post construction. It was a cauldron of ghostly activity...or so they would have you believe. I firmly believe that inspiration can come to us in many forms. Perhaps your greatest inspiration was a historical hero, or a valiant character in a book or television show. Perhaps you had a relative that really inspired you to be the person you are today. It may have been a tragedy in your life, or a triumph that lit a fire beneath you. Now, you wouldn't think that a television show about entities that may or may not exist could ignite much worthy inspiration, but for me, the dream of feeling a presence or seeing an apparition commenced. So when the biggest and greatest inspirational figure of my life, (insert a long and lengthy sigh, followed by a dreamy smile and butterfly filled stomach) Marcel, brought me, for the first time to walk amongst the ghosts I so fondly adored, I felt overwhelmed with wonder and amazement. It was a late fall day and, after a brief viewing of the Houghton Mansion and a trip to the cemetery to pay our respects to the Houghton family and their chauffeur, John Witters, we pulled over and created our plan of action. Neither one of us knew where this famed haunted tunnel was, but we sure as hell weren't going home until we found it. Approximating logistically where the tunnel just might be, we parked the car and began our trek past moss covered gravestones, through yet another patch of tick infested woodland, down a steep and boulder layered ravine, across a gentle, yet ice cold brook searching for clues that would lead us there. It seemed like an impossible destination to reach....what were we thinking?? Should we have called Zak, Nick and Aaron before we left to get the DL on where this place actually is?? Just at the fringe of frustration, we began to sense that we were drawing near. We found a large gaping hole lying suspiciously in the ground and, as Marcel has always taught me...when something seems out of place, more often times than not, something awesome is to be found. And with that thought in mind, we came upon a tree lined hill and just upon the crest, we looked down and for the first time, beheld the beauty before us. We had conquered the landscape to reach our goal and it felt as though 225 lost souls were cheering us on, leading us down the embankment to set foot upon the tracks leading into the tunnel. The chill air from within the darkness embraced us as we stood upon the threshold. The industrial smell of left behind diesel, enveloped us as we began to enter into the shadows. Further we went, ever mindful and respectful of the fact that this tunnel is active and that at any moment, vibrations of powerful proportions may arise as freight filled trains traverse the very rails below us several times a day. Archway of brick giving way to carefully laid stone above us captivated our attention. We marveled at its magnificence as we moved forward. Chilled droplets of dew splashing down upon us as we called out to the souls we were seeking....silence interrupted only by the echo of dripping water...no spirits to be found. Truth be told, neither one of us were bothered in the least that we didn't have a gaggle of ghosts swarming around us as we traversed through the blackness. The tunnel beholds great mystery and intrigue, and quite honestly doesn't need the haunted hype to lure us back time and time again. Since that magnificent day, we have returned and each time have been captivated by new discoveries. Remnants of abandoned power stations at the West End leading out to...would you believe, a fast and stress free entrance to the facade that we spent over an hour to find....cascading waterfalls at the East Side leading to the majestic Deerfield River, that, during the summer is a playground for trout fisherman and kayakers alike...the Central Shaft where 13 men died tragically in a fire caused by the uniting of fumes from an old gasometer lamp and sparks within the abyss...our most recent find, the East Tower which was one of many towers used for navigation of the tunnel as it was being constructed....and....the piece de la resistance (in my mind anyway) our discovery of the first attempt at boring through the tunnel, a dark and gloomy piece of Hoosac history that we could not wait to get inside of. The possibility of meeting up with a few snakes, bats (don't tell Marcel, he HATES bats) and spiders loomed before us, but....listen and listen carefully....
DO WHATEVER MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE!! Get into that cave like opening and enjoy the hell out of it!
If you have had a chance to read any of our previous blogs (and if you haven't...what are you waiting for??) then you know that it is our firm belief that exploring comes in all shapes and sizes. Adventure doesn't judge or have an agenda...it just wants you to find it and with every grand adventure of your life (be it great or small) you are creating the memories that will follow you until the moment you take your last breath. Get out and enjoy this life and when you do, drop us a line and tell us about your adventures and your inspirations. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and check out our ever growing YouTube channel where you can actually watch us exploring at the Hoosac Tunnel and surrounding areas. Thank you, as always, for taking the time out to read our blog. Now, get out there and explore!
-Jennifer and Marcel