Black River Falls in Wisconsin was a small mining town. Here, German and Scandinavian immigrants made until the mines in the late 1880s were abandoned.

The city fell into disrepair, many migrated over the that remained, lowered a black madness. Probably would have remembered to decline, murder and Horror, no one, if not the photographic plates of Charles Van Schaick would have survived the decline of the city. He documented the hard life of the inhabitants. A life in the most joyful moments of weird fear to look intimidating. Of the 30,000 images, taken by Schaick, there are still about 3000.

, The town photographer kept everything

Charles Van Schaick documented in addition to the for the time typical memory-images, especially the moments of terror. To them, the Ghost town had no shortage. In 1973, Michael Lesy told the story behind the pictures in the book “Wisconsin Death Trip”, which has become a documentary classic of the horror genre. The goal of Lesly, it was to report less, than to compose a “poetic history” of horror. The contemporary photographer, and the later writers influenced the images we associate with the subject of Horror from the United States and which is to be recycled to this day in numerous films.


The world of Black Water Falls.

©Charles Van Schaick/Commons manufacturer

The book follows the horrors that happened in only 15 years, between 1885 and 1900. In addition to the images of the city photographer’s personal records and the local newspaper were analysed. The stories of the pictures and the book read like a season of “American Horror Story” – it is hard to believe in a random agglomeration of horror. It is a kaleidoscope of the horrors of arson, cruelty, dementia, suicide, murder, incest, and regular outbreaks of diphtheria and smallpox. To all Black River Falls has an Abundance of the Holy burial of the Winnebago Indians sites built. Hundreds of burial mounds are located in the Region.

endless horror

It is a hodgepodge of stories like these:

A funeral Director to have made a mess of a funeral. The inhabitants from digging up the body of the dead woman again. She was buried alive when she woke up under the ground again, she had gnawed her Finger and a half, and swallowed, before she died.

Two small boys run away together. In a remote Farm, you kill the owner, all summer long, they live in the farmhouse. Until the brother of the dead discovered. The older Boy is ten years old – he wanders for life in the penitentiary.

An old woman is disgusted so much in front of your rash on the back, she douses himself with gasoline and then burns. Shortly thereafter, another grandma follows your example.

a Young woman hanged herself because she was left by her fiance seat. Young men kill the fiancée, because she has chosen another.

A farmer heads to all of his chickens, burn down the Farm and the chicken coop, because he is convinced that the devil would have come to Black River Falls. A woman drowned her three children on a Sunny day at the beach, while the auxiliary have to watch lots of passers-by.

A pious family takes in a drifter. All have dinner together. In the night he stands up, and brings his host then he shoots himself.

primal Fears take the form of

special to the deeds: they are all insane and make no sense, common Criminals, it seems to have in Black River Falls hardly. The photographs of Charles Van Schaick with the people and their black, empty eyes are like the dark mirror of the well-known painting “American Gothic” by Grant Wood. The stories in the local press about suicides or madness show, what a time was really lurking fear – what’s behind the facade.

In Black River Falls, it came out short.

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Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.


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