"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.

A Huge Black Mass Coming Our Way

Submitted by Arthur R. Tait

I lived two blocks north of the intersection of CR 17 and Cr 18 in Elkhart County, Indiana. We will never forget that afternoon and evening even though we sustained no property damage.

In the early afternoon, we were visiting with friends on the west edge of Elkhart. As the day wore on,the air became very warm and sultry. It was quite apparent that something was going to happen and we decided to return home.

We sat glued to the TV watching the track of the storms. When it became apparent that the track that went through Dunlap, was headed our way, we went to the basement. After sitting huddled under an old oak table, we just had to come up and see what was happening.

I was doing some chores when my wife called for me to 'come look at this' A huge black mass was coming our way. In a bare whisper, my wife said it is going to hit us! I replyed, I think you are right' Both of us along with our son, sure that we were going to be wiped out, just stood by the window too frozen to move.

Photo from NOAA Library
As the mass approached, it enveloped the house at the top of the hill and we were sure that it was gone. Afterwords, when talking to the people they had seen that mass cover our house and were sure that we were gone. The tornado's path was about 3/4 mile south of our house.

We and another neighbor, saw a kite hanging lazily along on the outer edge of that cloud of debris.

Ever since that fateful day, whenever we hear someone say they 'were too petrified to move' we know exactly how they feel.

At the time, I was a custodian at Concord High School. The first time that I was allowed to drive up CR 14 (Lewis St) I was overwhelmed by the utter devastation! As I approached the path of the tornado, things were so torn up that I had no idea just where I was at.

The only damage to the school building was cracked and badly scared glass

As an aside: When Johnson came to survey the area, he did go to the chow line set up in the Concord Fire station. One of the ladies working there was amazed at the press coverage. All the press core could ask is WHAT DID HE EAT??

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