Disaster Leads to Conspiracy Theory around Tom Zombie Legend
On March 25th, 2014 at 11:00am The Tom Zombie Festival will unveil its first historical marker, in the form of a 4’x6’ sign, on the outside wall of Legends Tavern, facing Talbot Street, in Downtown St. Thomas. The marker will recount the tale of the Tom Zombie Legend as well as reveal how the legend ties into the “Rain of Fire” (so named by author John Passfield) train accident that occurred in that location in 1887. This was the worst train disaster in St. Thomas’ history devastating a huge swath of downtown St. Thomas and killing or maiming hundreds.
“The Legend of Tom Zombie has a lot of holes in it but certain things we do know for sure,” say Bryan Bakker, spokesperson for the Tom Zombie Historical Society and Chairperson of the St. Thomas Tom Zombie Festival Organizing Committee. “One of those things is that had that accident not occurred the Tom Zombie Historical Society might not have taken until the 1980s to really begin unravelling the Legend that is the Tom Zombie Curse.”
According to Bakker, at the time of the horrific accident the very first meeting of the Tom Zombie Historical Society was taking place in the basement of a building that was located on the very spot where Legends Tavern now operates. Because of that disaster, says Bakker, almost all of the original members of that secretive society were trapped and killed. “Either it was an incredible coincidence or it was by design. We have very little to go on,” says Bakker.
Certainly the new sign will be a great way of assuring that the Legend of Tom Zombie will take hold in the minds of local folk who may not have heard the stories. Andy Lerikos, Owner of Legends Tavern said, “The Tom Zombie Festival is all about dressing up and having fun. No different from what our restaurant is about. That’s why we think it’s a great fit. Besides our local history really is fascinating; it’s about time we all started to talk about it.”
During the unveiling Bakker will dedicate the marker with a short speech where he promises to reveal how the Rain of Fire story also ties into London and the newly renovated London Roundhouse; a building constructed in 1887, the very same year as the train accident.