"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.

Did the Wooden Leg Belong to Bob the Barber?

Submitted by Sue Wilden

Modified from Photo by premasagar
I was just less than a month from my third birthday when the Palm Sunday tornadoes came. My memories are sketchy at best, but they are lasting ones. My family lived on the corner of Clinton Street and Green Road, AKA County Road 30 and it was very rural at the time. No Greenfield Addition, no Roxbury Trailer Park, no water tower, just corn fields. And if anyone can tell me who Harry Green, Green Road’s namesake, was, I would appreciate it.

My brother and I were taken to the basement but my parents stood on the front porch facing the west, to watch the storms. They clearly could see the storm which was devastating Dunlap and the Midway Trailer Park. I am sure this was the same storm my Grandparents and Uncle watched in their dining room window, too afraid to move. We spent many an evening in the basement during 1965, choosing to take cover even for a garden variety summer thunderstorm.

My father helped in the cleanup efforts at Sunnyside and his stories were not pleasant. The most horrific story was the recovery of the eviscerated body of a young boy, which was found in a tree, with his intestines draping out like spaghetti. A wooden leg was found and it was initially feared Bob Voorhees, the local barber, was killed. Fortunately, Bob the Barber was fine and he would remember the tornadoes with a simple 4-11-65 sign on the front of his shop.

The Glad farm belonged to the grandparents of a friend of mine from kindergarten through graduation at Ball State. She in fact lived in the house before it became Peddler’s Village.
To this day, I just “know” bad weather is forthcoming and I am positive this came from Palm Sunday. My grandmother still likes to tell people I could sense a storm when I was little and with the watch and warning systems not being as sophisticated back then as they are today, I usually gave a good half hour lead time before the first bulletins came over the TV. I am still fascinated with tornadoes; I followed the Storm Chasers the past two seasons and I am anticipating seeing the IMAX movie Sean Casey worked so hard in filming. I would also like to see Reed Timmer get a dose of hubris by being tossed to OZ by an F5.

Other storms have come and will come, but none will be as, for the lack of a better word, special, as the Palm Sunday Tornadoes.


  1. Yes, that was Bob the barber's wooden leg. the story is that he was also known as Smiley on the cb or brownie as they called it back then. He stayed at the radio trying to warn and tell everyone that the tornadoes were near and to seek shelter, about that time he looked up and saw his newspaper boy and his donkey in the air. He grabbed his wife Viola and threw her to the ground at the corner brick peeler,at the edge of their property. He then threw himself on top of her to protect her. Later that day his son started looking for them and feared the worst. He had been taken to look through the ones who had passed and see if he could Identify them. Several hours later As he was going from place to place he had stopped for some coffee, at that time they were posting pictures of people at the hospital, just as he looked up there was Bob and Viola Vorhis! They lived to tell stories and have some memorabilia from that terrifying day. Bob passed in 1974 and Viola in 2004. And until the day she died she was still picking little pieces of glass out of her arms and legs. They are my Heroes....I know the stories well they were my Grandpa & Grandma..... Jeri Vorhis White

  2. Jeri,

    I would love to include your memories here on this blog if you would like to send them to me. Right now I'm a tad backlogged but I will post every story that's sent about this outbreak.


  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILMXb2L3Ty4

    check my video compilation about tornadoes :-)