MPIN Remembers Peshtigo
142 years ago today, October 8th, 1871, a fire that killed more people than any other fire in the history of the United States ravaged NE Wisconsin.
Known today as The Great Peshtigo Fire, after the town at the center of the firestorm and which lost the most lives, it has been largely forgotten in the annals of American history. The reason for this is because the fire occurred on the exact same day as The Great Chicago Fire. Chicago, being obviously the much bigger and well-known city, had pushed those lost in the Peshtigo fire onto the back pages of the newspapers of the day, as well as our history books of today.
250 people were lost in The Great Chicago Fire. It is still not known today, and never will be known, exactly how many lives were lost in The Great Peshtigo Fire, although the estimates range from 1800-2400.
Although seemingly an astonishing coincidence to have two fires of that magnitude only miles apart on the exact same day, it actually wasn’t. The entire upper midwest was experiencing an epic drought that year. The upper midwest being prime logging country made the environment ripe for fire. Writings from the time tell of those in Peshtigo having to cover their faces and mouths to prevent from breathing in ash and seeing the reflections in the sky of multiple prairie fires burning in Illinois, Michigan, and as far west as Minneapolis for weeks before that fateful day. Oconto, WI had a fire just days prior, which many had thought was “The Big One” they were waiting for and knew would eventually hit.
They were ready for that one, but they had no idea what was coming.
The weather pattern on that day created contrasting fronts which forged winds up to 100 MPH, pushing the many smaller fires in the area into 1 big fire centered over Peshtigo. It was literally a fire tornado.
Peshtigo burned in 90 minutes.
No buildings survived.
800 residents of Peshtigo were dead, along with hundreds more in the surrounding areas, including across the bay in the Door County Peninsula.
Some were burned alive, some were killed by flying fireballs and debris, some were killed by simply breathing in the air which was so hot many spontaneously combusted.
The reason the number dead will never truly be known is because many of the dead didn’t have bodies left to identify.
Those who survived in Peshtigo did so by staying in the river that bissected the town for 12 hours until the air was safe enough to breathe again and not succumbing to the hypothermia which also killed dozens.
Bodies were still being found well into the next year.
It is still today, 142 years later, the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history.
The MPI Network conducted a paranormal investigation in Peshtigo this past September, just days prior to the 142 year anniversary. Our goal was to examine the possibilities if the energies from that day still exist, if spirits from those effected by that tragedy are still searching for answers, and to let them know that they, even if our history books tell them so, have definitely not been forgotten.
We are still in the review stage of this investigation, though we are already aware from completed material, that all three phases of our investigation goal had positive results.
Evidence page for this remarkable, though humbling and solemn investigation, will be coming soon….