Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Mule Revealed Death Of A Miner
Anybody who reads this blog will note that I like Mules, especially mine mules those wonderful animals that worked for years in the depths of the anthracite coal mines of eastern Pennsylvania.
Here is an interesting story from March 6, 1907 issue of the Daily Pottsville Republican newspaper.
There is a superstition about the mines that the mule is able to give warming of an impending accident and is also gifted with a sixth sense whereby it can tell when a fatality has occurred, which superstation has taken a further hold on the employees of the Glendower colliery as is the result of the display of this sense given by a mule when John Zerbe of Mt. Pleasant was killed at that colliery.
The mule was at work on the surface while Zerbe was deep in the mines. Suddenly the animal; broke loose from a post of which he was tied, ran to the mouth of the slope and again and again repeated a loud hee haw, which could be heard about the entire colliery. It was with difficulty that the animal could be taken away from the mouth of the slope and when it was finally forced to do so it threw itself flat on the ground and pawed wildly, refusing to get up. The actions of the animal were so peculiar and so unexpected that the employees were unable to surmise the cause when a foreigner solemnly walked up and said, “Must be a man die inside.”
This superstition was known to all and an investigation was made with the result that the body of Zerbe was discovered crushed to death, the accident having happened about the same time that the mule ran to the mouth of the slope.
Zerbe has volunteered to do some measuring in a small offset, which was so small that the other men could not get in to do it, and it was while engaged at this that the fall of coal occurred which resulted in his death.