Radium Mine In The Ozarks?
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1913: In November 1880, three Missouri "hill billies" [sic] followed their dog up a mountain canyon in Barry County, Missouri on the trail of a wildcat. At the end of the canyon, the cat vanished into a cave. The dog was sent in tow times until the hillbillies decided to explore it on their own. Later, one of them recounted what they found:

"A little way from the mouth of the cave 'Bill' Henry, John Dempsey, and I found what looked to us like rich silver ore. It was growing dusk and we decided to go back to camp, get a good nights rest, and return the next day to make a more careful examination. In the morning we lit our pitch-pine torches and started in. About two hundred feet from the mouth, the cave was partially blocked by what looked like a big tree trunk of solid silver. It was a light peacock blue in color and glittered like diamonds in the glare of our torches. We filled a small box with bits chipped off this pillar of ore, but it was so heavy we could hardly lift it. Finally we went on further into the cave. Nearly five hundred feet from the entrance we entered a big arched room, the walls of which shone like polished silver. Its roof was supported by three transparent, crystal pillars, each about the diameter of a salt-barrel. The floor and part of the walls were a light blue, shimmering mineral. We thought we had found our eternal fortunes. Presently we noticed that when we got on the other side of the crystal pillars, our torches died down and almost went out. We got scared and hurries back to the mouth of the cave. When we reached the open air I fell down in a heap and was not able to move my legs. Henry kneeled over in a sort of faint and Dempsey commenced to talk wild and raving. The boy we had left to wait for us at the cave"s mouth ran for help and finally we were all carried back to the camp."

Henry later died in a hospital from these effects, while the cave was blocked up by one of the others after a quarrel over the land. Later the element Radium was discovered, and in 1912 the land was purchased with the intent to build a Radium mine on the spot, as at the time the only Radium mine in the world was in Austria.


2. movie: Murder, He Says (1945) — Screwball comedy involving a murderous redneck family in the Ozarks whose members keep dying from a poison which makes their skin glow eerily. It's a comedy. Really.

Game and Story Use

  • If you want to be nasty, spring a place like this on low-tech PCs who have no idea about radiation poisoning.
    • And if you are running a fantasy game, maybe this cave is inhabited by very strange or "polluted" earth spirits…
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