"Death Out Of Darkness" is a public safety documentary about the deadly tornadoes of the 11-April-1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, which affected portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The film primarily focuses on the devastation across Northern and Central Indiana. Produced in 1966 by the Indiana State Police and WISH-TV in Indianapolis, narrated by Lt. Dave Levendoski. Video from visualarchivist on YouTube. There were 47 tornadoes in less than 12 hours. This was the 3rd deadliest tornado swarm in U.S. history. See Also: Ted Fujita


Below are personal recounts of the event. They have been submitted to us by our readers. If you would like to submit your story or photos please click the link in the upper right side of this blog.

Big Ugly Unforgettable Birthday Surprise

Submitted by Doris Holik Kelly 

It was beautiful and hot the afternoon we left Niles to go Grandma's for my 16th birthday dinner. The sky was bright blue and filled with puffy clouds like little round balls. Grandpa and Grandma Hunsberger lived on Indiana Avenue, about a half mile from 19, between the US 20, the Central tracks, and the St. Joseph river.

The day went from gorgeous to overcast and we heard about storms coming but didn't think much about it. Later the sky turned green and it rained and blew so hard that the trees bent sideways.

My parents and grandparents sent us six kids to the basement but they stayed upstairs We sneaked out onto the porch when it turned so dark and blackish-green and looked southeast and saw the double tornado filling the sky not very far away.You could hear the roar, like all the trains on the tracks were moving . It was so scary.We watched until it rose up into the air and disappeared and the sky lightened back to pea green.

Grandpa left for his job at the Labour company, but had to come back home because he couldn't get through the traffic to the factory. We went home to Niles after 8:00 at night and we were stopped by police at least twice to make sure we were going where we were supposed to go. It was a birthday to remember. One I'm sure many people would like to forget.

I'll always remember how calm my parents and grandparents were. ( Except for my 3 brothers and 2 sisters that is. We were all running around like crazy people.) But maybe that was because they were huddled next to the radio and didn't say much. Maybe they were more nervous than I thought.

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