"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.

The Sound of a Freight Train and the Twin Tornadoes

Submited by Ron Lantz Sr.

My palm Sunday story starts on at cloudy Sunday early evening I was 16 and sitting with my parents watching Disney's Wonderful World of Color, when all of a sudden a car storms in to our driveway on the corner of Hively and Southdale Dr. A couple jumps out, runs up to our front door, practicably beating It down and hollering, "A tornado coming, tornadoes coming can we get in your basement?" Well of course my parents let them in and we ran to the basement.

Within a short time we heard the sound everyone talks about, the sound that makes you think a freight train is running beside your house. We looked out the basement windows and could see the twin tornadoes in the air eastbound looking as they were following Mishawaka Road, probably just seconds before the famous picture was taken. Well they passed and after a little while the couple that burst in our door headed home to check on their family, they told us how much they appreciated our basement as they left.

About an hour or less after they went through, my dad, Delbert Lantz, got an emerency phone call that sent him to Sunnyside subdivision to turn off gas lines, as he was a construction foreman for NIPSCO. When he had arrived and began to work, he received word that his stepbrother's house and garage were gone, his stepbrother was found deceased in his neighbors basement, believed to have been blown there from out of his own home. His wife was not found for 3 days, farther away as she was caught by the storm between her house and her son Fritz Griffins house. She was on the way to warn them. My uncle had just built a new 24x24 garage and all that was left were the bolts sticking up from the concrete. He also had a fishing boat and motor that was never found.


  1. I would like to hope that today, in 2013, people would still be as charitable as your parents were to those strangers who pulled up, terrified, knowing that a tornado was on the way and asking for shelter.

    Thank you for sharing that story. I live in Tornado Alley, and it hit home.

  2. I wonder if you are related to my grandparents, Millard and Helen Lantz who lived in Elkhart for many years. My parents, mom Nancy Lantz Isbell, lived in Valparaiso at the time and have told us stories of that day. My mother was 8 months along with me that day. I was born in May.