In 2011, a man who owned a storage unit decided to drill a hole in the wall of the structure after noticing something unusual. During the process, he posted a video of the project on YouTube under the name “cyrex686.” The YouTuber had discovered two odd-looking round things on his wall and wanted to investigate.
He explained, “I, er, noticed that there were these things down here… circular, whatever.” He proceeded to hammer on one of them, and it sounded hollow. So he decided to drill a hole in it. He discovered something quite strange when he took out the drill and started the process.
A Secret Passage?
When he used the drill on one of the holes, he discovered that the circular area was in fact a wooden plug. He was easily able to pop the plug right of of its spot on the wall. In the video, cyrex686 points out that the circular hole wasn’t exactly what he thought it would be.
“I thought it was just like two big pipes here, but it’s not. It actually turns out that entirely behind this wall here is another like secret passage or something,” he explained. “Which I think I can enter through this hole I’ve started up here.”
A Look Inside
According to the YouTuber, the building he was using was originally a century-old industrial property. Over the years, it had been altered to accommodate numerous commercial units. So who wouldn’t be intrigued upon finding a secret compartment?
And who could resist the temptation? Cyrex686 noted, “Our best guess is it was sealed off in the 1980s.” When the YouTuber shined a light into the space, he was unable to see very much. But there was no way he was going to stop there. He was compelled to open it up and get a better look to see what was inside.
No Permission Granted
Cyrex686 didn’t own the building in which he rented the storage unit. He really had no business using a hammer to drill a hole into the wall of the structure, and he never really explains in the video what compelled him to start dismantling the wall.
You can’t help but wonder if anyone in the vicinity ever heard him drilling down there. But for some reason, his curiosity was so strong that he was forced to continue the project. He and a few of his friends got together, and they popped out the circular plug so they could finally see what was inside the wall.
The Big Reveal
After all the drilling and built-up anticipation, it was the moment the YouTuber had been waiting for: a look inside the mysterious wall. He finally got inside and discovered that behind the wall was a room. The reveal was a big deal, and people who watched the video (over 4 million!) had all sorts of ideas about what the room’s purpose may have been.
They speculated on who may have built it and what its original use was. They also had some ideas about what it could be used for in the present time. Some of the online comments were quite incredible, while others seemed to make sense.
Hide & Seek
A user named CrafterBox had one of the most popular comments about the secret room. He suggested that it would be an excellent way to win a game of hide and seek. He wrote, “You should put a painting over the big whole [sic]. You would be unbeatable at hide and seek.”
Most people would never expect an individual to hide behind a painting, so that would probably work. As long as he or she was stealth enough and quick enough to remove and replace the painting while silently slipping into the secret room behind them. And they weren’t afraid of the dark.
A Hidden Torture Chamber?
But not everyone thought the hole would be great for fun and games. People let their imaginations run wild about its purpose. Some had some fairly macabre ideas about what the room was originally created to do. A few suggested that it may have been a hidden torture chamber.
Perhaps it contained human remains inside? It could have been used by a serial killer or another nefarious person to do evil things out of the public’s view. Others believed it may have contained a supernatural being that was released after cyrex686 and his buddies inadvertently let it out when they opened up the wall.
Don’t Trust Your Friends
People on YouTube had great fun with the mysterious room behind the holes. A user named Bud Watson, who must be a very paranoid individual, suggested that it would behoove cyrex686 to be very careful about the people he surrounds himself with because you never know if you can trust someone 100 percent.
He wrote, “From that point on, you found out that those guys were not really your friends. When you had reached the end of the room, you turned around as you saw your friends plugging the hole up.” Hopefully, if this happened, it would just be a joke and they’d let him out!
Another Theory about the Room’s Purpose
Then there were people who took the concept of the secret room to a whole other level. Because, after all, if no one knows about the room, all kinds of things can take place there — even things that aren’t culturally acceptable.
A user named Louie Alouie criticized people for their lame ideas and suggested that the room was used by a deviant. He wrote, “People have the stupidest ideas of what this room really is. It’s obviously a room used to fornicate with goats.” And while his comment may seem disturbing, it received over 100 recommends from the YouTube community.
A Cave For Narcotics?
Still others had even more theories about the room’s purpose. Several people got behind the idea that it was created to produce illegal substances. User PoolBoysTX12 commented, “What you just stumbled upon is a hidden Hydro Cannabis Grow room.”
You can almost imagine a row of grow lights in the room and dozens of plants along the floor. No one would have any idea that it even existed. One could easily slip in and out of there without anyone suspecting what they were doing. Even if that wasn’t the room’s purpose, some believed it would be a good route to follow.
The Pieces Are All There
The theory that it could be used as a grow room had a bit of plausibility. PoolBoysTX12 added, “Vent shaft for squirrel fan to move the air out. The metal plumbing was used for hydro phonics [sic] watering system.”
If an individual did want to grow marijuana in a room like that, a hydroponic system would necessitate ventilation and irrigation in order to work properly. Plants need oxygen, water, and light in order to grow and thrive. Savvy marijuana producers have been known to grow their product in spaces such as this using minimal resources. And they’ve been successful.
A Pulley System for Lighting
It may seem like setting up lighting would be a problem in a secret room like this, but PoolBoysTX12 had that figured out too. In his mind, he noticed a pretty ingenious way a user may have gotten light to the plants to keep them healthy.
He explained, “The pile of wood with the rope was used for a weight for lowering the lights to plant level. Look at the corner of that room, there is a small pulley system.” We have a feeling that PoolBoysTX12 has quite a bit of knowledge about the subject. Perhaps he has some first-hand experience?
Hydroponics Theory Shot Down
PoolBoysTX12 also added, “I would be surprised if you researched your address with police records and didn’t see a drug case. Good luck…” A bunch of people online got very excited by the theory that the secret room had once been a drug den.
There was something fantastical about it being a hydroponic grow room, and the idea seemed quite believable. Yet, once again, while the idea was interesting it wasn’t the room’s true purpose. “Everyone wants it to be,” wrote cyrex686. “But it never was.” So what exactly was the purpose of the mysterious room? Would an answer ever be revealed?
People were stumped. The room had not been used for illegally growing marijuana, playing hide and seek or fornicating with animals. It was not a secret torture chamber used by serial killers or other nefarious people. Cyrex686’s friends did not play a joke on him and push him inside and plug the hole back up again.
While the room didn’t have anything to do with hydroponics, its purpose did involve water. Several YouTube users suggested it involved a septic tank, and they were pretty close to guessing the truth. However, they didn’t quite hit the nail on the head.
Chemical Storage Theory
After all the speculation, cyrex686 had his own theory about the room’s purpose. And because he was actually inside the room and was able to walk around it, take video, and inspect it himself, it seems like he would probably have the clearest idea about its purpose.
He wrote, “I think it was for liquid chemical storage. There are hookups on the outside next to the rail spur line used to supply the factory that was here before.” And while his theory seemed to make sense, he wasn’t 100 percent correct about its true purpose. But he got a little help from those online.
A Water Cistern
Don’t forget, the building was originally a century-old industrial property before it had been converted into commercial industrial units. So it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that the room had originally been used for storage. Several commenters pointed out that the room was indeed a storage tank.
However, it wasn’t used for waste or chemicals. They believed it was probably a water cistern. In all likelihood, it at one point held a reservoir of water, similar to a well. In the past, before pipes were used to supply water, cisterns aided in capturing rainwater from the roof.
Old Technology Vs. New
In order to get the water into a cistern, a system of gutters and downspouts directs rainwater from the roof into the storage area. A cistern is typically located underground, or in this case, in a hidden room. A cistern may be constructed of various materials, such as cinderblock, reinforced concrete, precast concrete, fiberglass, or steel.
A cistern delivers water to a household through the plumbing. The cistern cryex686 found could technically be repaired and used again. And while that seems like a neat idea, who wants to rely on old-fashioned technology when modern amenities are available? And why spend the money?
Another Secret Room
While cryex686 decided not to attempt to get the cistern system operating again, he did not simply leave the room alone. In fact, he made some changes and shared that information with the YouTube community a few years later after he posted the original video.
He responded to one of the commenters, “It’s been a few years since I made this video. I found another secret room next to the original secret room. I was thinking of showing what I’ve done with the room since then… And the secret passageway, I found, which I’ve not gotten into yet, but found the entrance.”
Cyrex686 made the follow-up comment in 2016. That means he had five years to turn the original room he found into something special. As for the second secret room, he has yet to reveal what it looked like or what its purpose was. And what about the secret passageway? Was he ever able to get inside of it?
Maybe he’s being a little secretive because he doesn’t really want people to know what he’s using the secret room for. Perhaps he got some ideas from the YouTube community and is too embarrassed to let anyone in on his little secret.
Mystery Solved … Sort Of
It’s interesting to note that just a little bit of curiosity, and the discovery of odd-looking round circles on a wall, led to such a big investigation and eventual conclusion. Not only was cyrex686 caught up in the hype of his own adventure, but those who watched his video were also taken for a ride.
And while the answer to the secret room was not the most romantic or macabre, it did reveal a little bit of history. And the mystery remains because we’re still not sure about the second secret room or its corresponding secret passageway. Perhaps we’ll never know.
Cyrex686 isn’t the only person to have found something completely unbelievable hidden in his house. While most people who discover things in their historic homes tend to find things like newspapers from a time long gone or perhaps a time capsule, most of them don’t find secret rooms in their houses.
Secret rooms are definitely something that is more common in older homes or houses that were customized by the wealthy. That doesn’t mean, however, that some of the discoveries that people have made in their homes aren’t fascinating in their own right and, in some cases, even downright shocking!
An Interesting Find
Many of the people who find objects or hidden passages hidden in their homes are not the original owners of the home, or are descendants of the people who were the only ones who knew the secrets of the house. Often, it is contractors doing some renovations on the home or remodeling it who are the ones to make the discovery.
There are many intriguing tales of contractors who thought they were on just another job when they made surprising discoveries! One such contractor is a contractor named Bob Kitts who found something unexpected in a home he was working on a few years ago…
Getting To Work
A few years ago, Bob Kitts took on a job for a woman named Amanda Reece. He was hired as a contractor to do some work on the house. Kitts thought that it was going to be a job just like any other, but the historical home turned up some surprises.
Kitts was remodeling the walls of the bathroom when he made the discovery. Hidden inside the bathroom walls was a lot of money dating back to the Great Depression! The 83 year old home near Lake Erie had been hiding its secret for generations until Bob Kitts came along and uncovered it.
A Small Fortune
The cash was hidden inside of two green lockboxes below the medicine chest, suspended from a wire. The envelopes holding the cash had a return address for the P. Dunne News Agency. Bob Kitts later referred to the surprising discovery as “the ultimate contractor fantasy.” He could not believe what he had found hidden inside the home!
Kits called Amanda Reece, the owner of the house, at work as soon as he made the discovery. She rushed home and the two counted up the money that Kitts had found. They were astonished to find a grand total of $182,000! Inside the envelopes they found $157,000 and another $25,000 in a cardboard box.
The Greed Case
Amanda Reece offered to give Bob Kitts a finders fee of ten percent, but the greedy contractor demanded forty percent of the total findings! After that, claimants to the money demanded their share of the cash. There were 21 descendants of the original owner of the money, Patrick Dunne, who laid claim to the money. A lawyer who represented the estate of Patrick Dunne referred to the case as “the greed case.”
“If these two individuals had sat down and resolved their disputes and divided the money, the heirs would have had no knowledge of it,” said the lawyer. “Because they were not able to sit down and divide it in a rational way, they both lost.”
The estate ended up filing a lawsuit to defend the claims of Dunne’s descendants to the $182,000. Yet the fortune was greatly diminished by that time. Amanda Reece was so excited about finding the money that, rather than save it or see if someone else had a better claim to it, she spent a large portion of it. She spent around $14,000 on a trip to Hawaii and claimed another $60,000 had been stolen from her.
In the end, the remaining money was split up between the other claimants of the money, who each received just a small portion of the cash. It seems that sometimes, finding something hidden in your home can be more trouble than it is worth!
Of course, it isn’t all that often that people found thousands of dollars of cash hidden in their homes. Usually, that money is long gone or safely stashed away in the bank by the time a house gets sold or passed down to the next generation.
It’s a lot more likely that people find something hidden in their homes that turns out to be worth a small fortune. These items get left behind because people lose them or forget to pack them or, more likely, they just don’t realize that they will one day be worth a lot of money.
A Pleasant Surprise
That is what happened to one guy who was remodeling his home and found something hidden in its walls. David Gonzalez of Hoffman, Minnesota is a general contractor who decided to remodel his own home. While he was doing the renovations, he made an unexpected discovery. The walls of the historical home were stuffed with old newspapers for insulation, a common practice back then.
Stuffed among the newspapers was a rare comic book from 1938, completely intact. As soon as Gonzalez spotted the hidden comic book, he knew that he had found something that was worth a lot of money.
The comic book Gonzalez found wasn’t just any comic book. It was a June, 1938 edition of Action Comics #1. While the title of that comic book might not mean anything to all but the most dedicated of comic book fans, that just so happens to be the issue in which Superman is introduced. “I knew it was worth money,” Gonzalez later told reporters. “But I had no idea how much.”
After finding out just how rare of a gem this comic book was, Gonzalez decided to sell his treasure. He was surprised to learn just how valuable it truly was…
Hitting the Jackpot
Gonzalez knew that the comic book was worth some money, but he didn’t realize just how valuable it was truly worth! He ended up putting the comic book up for sale at an auction where he expected to maybe make a thousand dollars. Instead, the comic book that originally sold for 10 cents at the time of publication sold for an astonishing $175,000! Gonzalez was stunned at his good fortune.
When David Gonzalez purchased the home he later remodeled, he bought it for just $10,100. The discovery of the comic book paid for the home several times over and was worth significantly more than the walls of the home it was hidden in!
A 19th Century Barn
Any old home is bound to have its fair share of surprises, but most people don’t really expect to find more than some old odds and ends covered in dust. The lucky few, however, make some huge discoveries in their historical homes! One couple made such a discovery when renovating the childhood home of the wife.
The home was more than a century old. It started off as a barn just outside of Louisville, Kentucky. Built in the 1880s, the barn was later converted into a house in the 1920s. It was later sold to another family who purchased it in the 1980s.
A Romance Novelist
The 1920s homeowner who converted the living space from a barn to a house had an intriguing backstory. A romance novelist, the owner turned the home into a setting perfect for the location of a novel of its very own, although the family who bought the house in the 1980s didn’t know it yet!
The family who purchased the house lived there happily with their family for many years. When their daughter grew up, she decided to purchase the home from her parents and live there with her spouse and her parents and to make some renovations to the house.
When the barn was converted into a house, Prohibition was in full swing. Selling alcohol was illegal, not that this stopped a lot of people. Bootleggers made a fortune from the illegal sales of alcohol, and secret bars called speakeasies could be found all over the place. Many people had their own private stashes of alcohol in their homes.
The owners of the former barn had lived in the home for decades, but did not discover the home’s connection to this time period until they went to renovate for home. The secret had literally been hiding beneath their feet for years!
The Secret Cellar
While the house was being renovated, the owners of the home made a discovery that was even more surprising considering how long the family had occupied the house! When they went down into the basement cellar they found a locked door.
After opening the door which had been locked for decades, they found a closet hidden in the cellar. Inside the closet was a huge stash of liquor dating back to the time of Prohibition. The bottles were intact and still had alcohol in them, although they were covered in a thick layer of dust. Some of the bottles dated back to 1919!
A Great Deal?
In 2005, Jason and Kerri Brown were celebrating the fact that they had scored a great deal when they purchased their new home. They got the five-bedroom, two bathroom home for a fantastic bargain…or so they thought at the time. The house had been in foreclosure and the couple were able to buy it for just $75,000 and prepared to move into the Greenville, South Carolina home with their two-year-old daughter.
Since they had gotten the home for such a good price, they were able to afford some renovations on the house…and that is when the troubles began.
The Secret Corridor
Most people would probably be thrilled to find a secret room or corridor in their home, viewing the discover as a great adventure. What treasures would be hidden in the hidden chamber?
Jason and Kerri Brown were exploring their new home, preparing for their upcoming renovations. Behind a bookcase the couple found a secret corridor. There were doubtless excited when they found this secret passage, especially after they found a secret note tucked away inside the hidden room.
You Found It!
A secret note hidden inside a secret room tucked behind a bookcase sounds like the beginning of a great mystery novel, right? That’s what Jason and Kerri Brown thought at first…until they read what was written in the note which had been left in the secret corridor by the previous owners of the house.
The note had “You found it!” written on the front. Jason and Kerri Brown opened the note in excitement, wondering what treasure had been left behind for them to discover in their new home, but the answer was not exactly a thrilling one.
A Horrifying Discovery
It turned out that that there was a reason the couple had gotten such a good deal on what they thought had been their dream home. Instead of the secret passageway and room being a delightful hidden bonus to their new home, it turned out to harbor a dark secret.
The rest of the note said: “Hello. If you’re reading this, then you found the secret room. I owned this house for a short while and it was discovered to have a serious mold problem. One that actually made my children very sick to the point that we had to move out.”
A Bad Bargain
Jason and Kerri Brown were horrified to find out that their new home was infested with black mold and that they seemed to be stuck with the toxic home. “I just couldn’t believe it,” Kerri told the press after making the discovery. “The previous owner left his email address, so I got in touch with him and he said that he didn’t want the same thing to happen to him, that the mold made his children very sick.”
The couple ended up hiring an environmental engineer to examine the house. He found so many different molds and toxins that the Browns were told it was too dangerous to move into their new home.
It turned out that the previous owners had told the broker who sold the house to the Browns that there was a problem with mold in the home, but that the real estate agent never got back to them. Worried about what would happen to the new owners, they snuck into the house and left it in the secret room and left the note where they knew no one but the new owners would find it.
The Browns immediately left the home and rented an apartment. They ended up suing both the real estate agent and the home loan corporation for deceiving them into purchasing a home that was too dangerous to live in.
A Family Secret Is Discovered
Everybody likes to think that their home is special. After all, it’s the place that we go to to be safe. But this family had always been told that their home was an important part of American history.
There was, however, no evidence that this was anything more than a family myth passed down for entertainment value. That is until the current residents began renovating their home in January of 2014. It was then that they discovered that there was more to their basement than they had known and it was, in fact, concealing a secret room beyond the walls.
Imgur User Provides The Evidence
An Imgur user with the less-than-amusing handle of “IvebeentoYungay” was the person who shared this discovery with the world. He claims that this basement is in his family home and that the photographs document the secret room’s discovery accurately.
He tells us, “The room was found in the basement of the house I grew up in, which was completed in 1849. It is 25 miles south of the Canadian border.” The home’s location near a national border is significant to the tale he then goes on to tell about the room’s importance to American history.
A Hint At What’s To Come
It looks pretty ordinary, doesn’t it? In fact, there’s nothing at all that suggests this isn’t the typical basement of an American family home. Obviously, a bunch of water softeners has no historical significance at all. It’s what lies behind them that is truly amazing. They mask a secret which is very much connected to the darkest side of America’s history in the 19th century.
It was a different time when many Americans had very different values from the ones that we hold so dear today. It seems that places like this basement played a part in creating our modern values.
The Family Story
The Imgur user says that his family had always had a story about a secret hiding place within their home. Yet, they’d never been able to find any evidence of this being true. They knew it was supposed to be under the fireplace, but nobody wanted to tear up their living room floor to see if this was the case.
So, they had contented themselves with trying to find evidence of the room from the basement, but still they had no success. This, it would transpire, is because the room needed to be well disguised to prevent discovery by the law and by bounty hunters.
A Barrier To Overcome
Our intrepid Imgur user discovered the room one day after a careful survey of the basement. It lay behind a wall. Not just any wall mind you, but a more recently constructed stone wall compared to the rest of the home which is 32 inches thick!
He found that with the assistance of a step ladder that it was possible to find an opening at the top of the wall and to be able to peer into the room. What he saw confirmed the family rumor – the house had indeed been used as part of a smuggling network in the 19th century.
Ethical And Moral Smuggling
Traditionally, a smuggler is an individual who exchanges goods in order to avoid paying taxes or duty on the cargo in question. Smugglers are not thought to be good people because they are essentially thieves. Yet, the smuggling network that had made use of the secret basement in the Imgur user’s home was not made up of thieves and scoundrels at all.
There were no gangsters involved here – instead, those involved were moral and considered bastions of society. They were activists from a whole range of different backgrounds. Notably, many were from religious organizations such as the Quakers, Wesleyans, and Presbyterians.
The Mystery Unveiled
The room’s main users were African-Americans. The secret hiding place was part of the Underground Railroad of the 19th century. This was a network designed to facilitate the freedom of black slaves from parts of America in which slavery was legal to free states and indeed, across the border into Canada which is why the home’s position near a border is so important.
Why was it called the “Underground Railroad?” It was because the whole endeavor had to be kept a secret, so the activists would refer to their activities using railroad terminology. This kept their communication safe from prying ears.
The Underground Railroad Code
An escaped slave who entered the underground railroad looking for their passage to freedom would be called a “passenger” in the coded language of the underground. Those who helped “passengers” escape by taking direct action would be known as “agents.”
A room such as the one the Imgur user found in his home would be called a “station” as it was a place to wait for the next “agent” to take action. The person whose home the “station” was in would be called a “station master.” Those who guided the “passengers” across the country would be known as a “conductor.”
An Incredible Number Of People Used It
It is hard to picture a land where men, women, and children were bought and sold, isn’t it? America today is so far removed from those times that it just doesn’t seem real. Yet, it was all too real, and more than 100,000 men and women escaped slavery thanks to the underground railway.
It is thought that approximately 1 in 3 escaped slaves fled north and into “British North America.” Today, that territory is known as Canada, but on the Underground Railway, it was often called “Heaven,” “The Promised Land” or it was simply the final stop on the “Gospel Train.”
Not Much Left Behind
Some folks have remarked at how little there was to see inside this stop on the Underground Railway. It doesn’t take much thinking to realize why this would be the case. An escaping slave was unlikely to have many if any possessions to take with them. The ugly truth of that time is that property, which is how slaves would have been seen by their owners, could not acquire property.
The homeowners would have been reluctant to decorate the interior or provide lights because it would have meant a risk of discovery. For some reason, however, there was a single – now rusty – bayonet on the wall. Was it for self-defense? We will never know now.
Near The End Of The Line
Here we find ourselves in what would have been one of the last stops on the line for the Underground Railroad. At this point, an escaped slave must have been almost able to taste his or her freedom as the border with Canada loomed just over the horizon.
There must have been an incredible amount of nervous tension as they huddled down in this dark, bare room and waited for night to fall before they could resume their long, tiring isolated trek on foot to a life without fear of being owned by another man.
Lessons From The Underground Railway
Places like this basement room are an important part of American history. They mark the turning point in people’s lives as they began to understand that a man’s skin color made him no less or more of a man than anyone else.
Eventually, the Underground Railroad would inspire the conditions that led to the American Civil War and the eventual complete abolition of slavery and the recognition that we are all human and we should all be free. It is important that these times are never forgotten.
The Fugitive Slave Act Of 1793
During that time in history, not all of America believed in slavery and in fact, by the time the Underground Railway had come into existence, many states had already abolished slavery. These were known as “free states.”
It might seem logical to assume that the existence of free states meant that a slave just had to reach such a state in order to be free but in fact, the government had passed a law called The Fugitive Slave Act of 1973 to deal with these circumstances. It required people to track down and return runaway slaves, even if they lived inside a free state. It made those who assisted escaped slaves into criminals.
There Was Also A Bounty In The Courtroom
If an escaped slave were to be captured and taken to court, it was a near certainty that he or she would be sentenced to return to their state of “ownership.” Why? There was a financial incentive for a judge to send a slave back to their master. In fact, it was a strong enough incentive that a judge might rule against someone even if they were innocent.
They were paid $5 for freeing a slave, but $10 for ruling against them. $5 may not sound like much money today, but back then it was a fairly substantial sum and more than most families would spend in a month.
Kidnap And Sale
Worse still for black people of the time, there was no law against kidnapping a black person even in a free state and then selling them into slavery in a slave-owning state. Many ordinary folks found themselves press-ganged into slavery by evil men even after they were freed.
This is why the Underground Railroad became so important. It offered a chance at real freedom. Those who entered Canada would be free from slavery forever. It was a place where American law no longer applied. In order for the railroad to be effective, it was important that no individual knew the extent of the operation beyond their own involvement.
Getting Away Was The Hardest Part
A slave that fled a plantation was at a large risk of punishment and that punishment was often severe. There was no law that prevented a slave owner from beating, raping or even torturing and killing a slave. The most dangerous moments for everyone involved in the Underground Railway often came in the first few miles of the escaped slave’s journey.
Many “conductors” would infiltrate plantations and help the slaves get away and take their first steps towards the “Promised Land,” but they did so at considerable personal risk. If they were caught, they would be beaten and fined for their efforts.
Why They Traveled At Night
When you’re running away from a group of men with a strong financial interest in your return and from the law; it pays to travel at night. You cannot afford for attention to fall upon your party. Groups were also kept small. The average number of escaped slaves in each cluster would be between 1 and 3 people.
This meant if they were discovered and recaptured that a minimal number of people would be forced to return. Each night they would travel between 10 and 20 miles and often this would be on foot, though sometimes if they were lucky, a mule might share the burden.
The Real Heroes
Many reading this might think that the “staff” of the Underground Railroad are the heroes of this tale. After all, it is they who risked life and limb to help others, but in reality, it is African-Americans who were the biggest heroes of this time period. Some, like Harriet Tubman, would return to the South over and over again to escort other slaves from the clutches of their masters.
The majority of conductors were once slaves themselves. Tubman, who performed 19 such operations, would become known as the “Moses of Her People” for her part in freeing 100’s of people.
William Still Helped 800 Slaves Escape
William Still was the living proof that free black men could achieve success and prosperity in American society and that black people should never be treated as property again. He was an African-American businessman and passionate slavery abolitionist who ran a large part of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia.
His work is directly attributed to securing the freedom of at least 800 escaped slaves. Many of them would have taken shelter in his home for a while before moving on up the railroad. In 1872, he would publish his own account of his experiences of the railroad, The Underground Railroad: Authentic Narratives and First-Hand Accounts.
John Fairfield Went Against The Family Grain
John Fairfield was one of the leading white contributors to the actions of the Underground Railroad. He had little financial incentive to take part in its activities, for he was the son of a Virginian family which was proud of the fact that it owned many slaves to work the family lands.
However, he rebelled against his family’s revolting actions and joined the Underground Railroad where he gained fame for his daring exploits. One of his most famous successful attempts to free people was when he disguised himself as an undertaker and walked 28 slaves out of a funeral procession to freedom.