"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.

Swirling Children and Whirling Skies

Submitted by Deb (Schmucker) Carroll

I remember I was 7 yrs old when this happened. We were at a family gathering at my Amish relatives on SR 19 just north of Etna Green, IN.

All of us kids were outside playing and one of the older ones suggested we play "tornado." I had never heard of that game before and thought it would be interesting to play and asked how we played that "new" game. We stood with our arms outstretched and were supposed to twirl around in circles and make whirling noises and we "twisted" around and around in circles - we did this till we all were quite dizzy!!!

While we were playing I remember looking up at the sky and it was getting darker and darker - and the clouds were getting closer and closer. And the wind was picking up - it was getting hard to stand up in the wind. I remember my cousins from Ft. Wayne were getting knocked down by the huge gusts of wind.

It was a struggle for all of us to run back up to the main house - I remember having to hold hands to keep from falling down and all of us finally got up to the house.

When we got home that evening, one of my aunts and one of my uncles that had stayed home told us that a tornado had touched down in grandpa's field out there on CR 17, just outside of New Paris. I remember her saying that "it looked like a stock car race out there with all the dirt flying around in circles." They had been standing in the doorway watching.

When you're a child you really don't understand the full impact on a disaster like this. Seeing the pictures on the TV just made you stop and feel humble.

I think it was shortly after that that my dad signed up to become a volunteer fireman for New Paris. He later became the chief and served over 35 years in that position until he retired. He showed me how to read the clouds - to know what the signs were when a storm was approaching so that I could help take care of my mom and sisters when he had to leave to go on watch.


  1. I think this is one of my favorite stories. It's almost as if the kids subconsciously sensed what was about to happen.

  2. they probably never played that game again...