Historical Fiction and Poetry Come Together to Entertain and Intrigue

I am tickled pink to share with you this ghost story written by author and visionary storyteller Lisa Redfern. 

Turn out the lights. Take your mind back in time to the mid 1800s in Truckee, California.  Railroad construction was progressing across the Sierra Nevada mountain range – from East to West – connecting the rest of the country to California’s rich mining, agricultural, and timber industries. History was exploding at breakneck speed with gold discoveries and settlers, lawlessness and company greed, massacres and mayhem. Progress was gained at a terrible human cost.

Immigrants from afar were congregating in the west, living, working hard – driving the growth and economy with their blood and sweat, making a new life in the land of promise, and dying broke and hungry.

Sometimes death was slow and agonizing from hunger or disease. Other times it was sudden and violent.

The only way the railroad could pass through the mountains was to blast.  And blast, and blast they did. Untimely explosions were not uncommon. Many Chinese railroad workers died. Some of their remains never made it back to their homeland for burial.  

“Chinese dead must be buried with their ancestors. A soul is cursed if there are no remains.”

Last November, embarrassingly unaware of the history, I walked the Chinese Tunnels on Donner Pass for the first time.  The experience was unforgettable – the views incredible, the tunnel art fascinating, the shiver unexpected. A poem emerged with a pressure to be written that consumed me as I drove down the mountain after the eerie hike. That poem has been published here (at the end of the ghost story):

Tunnel Spirit Crossings poem at Little Mountain Publishing

If ever you are passing through on Donner Summit, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the tunnels. Listen for the Jiang Shi.

Then make your way across Donner Pass Road and take the short hike up to Catfish Pond. The magnificent view is worth the trek! And the fish and wildflowers are pretty cool too.

As always, thank you for visiting! Feel free to like, comment, share, follow my journey or re-blog as your heart and mind desire. I’d love to know you’ve been here.


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