The Perennial Fire of Centralia: The Real Silent Hill!

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Lluis Enric Mayans

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You have surely heard of Silent Hill, one of the most successful video games of the modern era, which was also followed by a film. What most characterized this video game? The atmosphere of desolation and fear that enveloped the small town in which the player's virtual character had to move and survive. Did you know that a small town with the same characteristics as the game's Silent Hill it really exists? The creators were inspired by Centralia, a small town in Pennsylvania. Due to a fire that was never put out, the city now lies almost completely abandoned, were it not for the very few residents who do not want to leave and for the curious video game enthusiasts who come to visit it.

If you too have played Silent Hill at least once or have had the thrills watching the film, discover with us some more information about the town that inspired them.


  1. A ghost town in Pennsylvania
  2. The perennial fire of Centralia
  3. The real Silent Hill!
  4. History, legends and curiosities
  5. User questions and comments

A ghost town in Pennsylvania

Centralia is a town located in Columbia County, Pennsylvania which, in 1962, had a population of 1100. To date, only 10 residents refuse to leave their homes. They no longer have a code and a postal service, buildings and houses have been demolished, the roads lead nowhere. There are no shops, no schools ... nothing. It is in effect a ghost town.

There is only one road left that leads to Centralia, which can only be traveled on foot, and is called the "Graffiti Highway", due to the graffiti left by adventurers visiting the city. All other access routes (and escape routes) from the city were blocked with mounds of earth.

The perennial fire of Centralia

What happened to Centralia to induce its inhabitants to abandon it? Centralia was a city whose economy was based on the extraction of coal, present in several ed huge underground mines. In 1962 a fire broke out in one of these underground tunnels, perhaps initially set in a landfill and not extinguished properly. The fire thus managed to enter the abandoned coal mine through an unsealed entrance. We tried several times to put out the fire but none of these attempts were successful and, to date, no further attempts are planned. It seems that the fire has spread around 1600 square meters and has enough combustible material to consume for continue to survive for another 250 years or so. In 1979, the owner of a petrol pump noticed a rise in the temperature of the fuel and, a few years later, a boy fell into a chasm that had suddenly opened under his feet. As if that weren't enough, cracks began to open at a section of Highway 61 (what is now the "Graffiti Highway"). due to the heat of the fire. The carbon monoxide released from the subsoil began to weigh on the health conditions of the residents, who began the exodus in 1984. This story was the main inspiration of the Silent HilI video game series and of the film and that is why many fans visit it. occasionally.

The real Silent Hill!

An immense fire burns under the streets. Ash and smoke rise and spread from the ground, people leave their homes. A once vibrant town is now almost completely abandoned. The right scenario to settle in a video game of the horror genre! Centralia also inspired the setting of the 2006 film directed by Christophe Gans titled Silent Hill, based on the video game of the same name. Although the film is taken from the events of the video game saga, it deviates slightly from the plot and originates from the first chapter of the series. There are many similarities to video games, starting with by various monsters that meet, as well as the setting and the soundtrack. The story of Silent Hill, in short, tells of the pain of a little girl who, accused by a religious sect of the city of being somehow sacrilegious, is burned alive. Saved by her mother, she was taken to the hospital but suffered severe burns. The hatred generated in the heart of the child by this story pushes her to tighten a pact with the devil, which condemns the city to burn for eternity, forcing the inhabitants to flee. Centralia is, in some ways, the real Silent Hill, manipulated and exploited by man until the city itself revolted thirsty for revenge.

History, legends and curiosities

A setting that is already spooky in itself cannot help but increase the aura of mystery which surrounds almost all the so-called ghost towns around the world. Centralia is no exception, if you consider that 3 cemeteries stand out among the last artificial works left in the city. In Centralia, therefore, there are more dead than alive! Some visitors then tell of having perceived, seen or felt strange presences, and to have felt observed for the entire duration of the visit. Some even think Centralia be the true gateway to hell.

One such visitor, Ruth Edderson, went to Centralia in 1998. He and his companions swore that he saw two individuals, dressed in typical miner's attire and complete with helmets, escape from the smoke and walk for a few meters, until it disappears just like the smoke from which they appeared. It's all about suggestion, powered by video game and film, or else Centralia is really cursed?

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