"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.
Twin Tornadoes - Eyewitness Account
Submitted by James A. Faigh
When they announced that a tornado had touched down at the Midway Trailer Park my father and two of my siblings hopped in the car and drove to the site. My father was the sales director at WTRC and possessed a press pass. The deputy at the road block allowed us in. Sheriff Caton, who was a close friend of my father, quickly commandeered my father along with others to help the injured and retrieve the dead.
My brother and myself continued to watch the skies to the west. The clouds continued to form spirals, descending down but retracting. But soon a tunnel began to form and continued to descend. Both my brother and I alerted all that a tornado was approaching. Because there were no structures left ,alone the cinderblock utility building, the deputies ordered everyone to cross US 33 and lay in the ditch beside the railroad tracks. This was the lowest ground near. When it was apparent that the tornado was tracking south towards us we were ordered to take shelter behind the only structure still standing, a small utility cinder block building.
|Photo taken by Paul Huffman|
Source: NOAA Photo Library
That week was a paramount in my life, as a student at Pierre Moran Jr High School, we were excused from classes because the gym was used as a morgue, as a boy scout, my troop volunteered to help clean up the destruction. I even have memories of a 2x4 board bisecting a VW Bug lengthwise.
When I was young I remember a "old indian saying" that Elkhart was safe because a tornado would never strike where two rivers met. Well I guess that remains true because the tornado struck in Dunlap. But I was foolish to jump into the back of my father's car that Palm Sunday afternoon.