"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.

My Dad Was in the National Guard

Submitted by Beth Riches

I wasn't even three years old when it happened, so I have no direct memories of it.

Flickr Copyright All rights reserved by yzzordorex
However, my Dad was in the National Guard, and ran the armory in Elkhart. He was called out for the aftermath and took plenty of pictures. It wasn't uncommon to have a slideshow when family got together. Dad would set up the projector, and we'd watch slides of vacations, reunions, and so on. Dad would always show the pictures he took when he got called out for the tornadoes. I can still remember the images of destruction, and being terrified of what these terrible storms could do. Everyone would get very quiet when those pictures were shown, with an occasional hushed, "Oh, my goodness" or maybe a horrified, "Will you look at that?" I still have a deathly fear of tornadoes and often have nightmares about them. I know that Dad never intended for that to happen to me, but those were images that stuck with a young girl.

Dad occasionally talked about it, but it wasn't until just a few years ago that he told me something that made me realize how bad it was for him and his fellow Guardsmen. Because they weren't just helping the injured and assuring the safety of everyone; they were also recovering bodies. Dad gave no further details.

My sister is the archivist at the Elkhart County Historical Museum, and Dad donated all of his pictures to the museum a few years ago. They are still there, and my sister told me that someone came up from Indianapolis a while back to work on a video about the tornadoes and used some of their material. I believe that is the video you posted here a while back, "Death out of Darkness." I don't know if the museum has the photos online, but here is their website: http://elkhartcountyhistoricalmuseum.blogspot.com/


  1. Thanks for sharing this, Jenni.

  2. It's my pleasure Beth, and thank you for submitting it! :)