“Alone in the darkness . . . the only sound is the pulsing of your heart as the searing heat slowly boils you alive . . . It was reported to be the worst coal mine accident in history. The families of missing miners begged for help but it was decided that a rescue was too dangerous. The miners were left entombed deep underground.”
So begins the Web pitch for the new “Miner’s Revenge” maze, one of 10 haunted attractions meant to tantalize and terrorize visitors during “Halloween Haunt” at Kings Dominion amusement park in the rolling Virginia countryside about 70 miles south of Washington.
The advertisement continues: “Lamps at their sides and pick-axes in their hands they are searching for the men who left them to die . . . waiting to exact their revenge.”
I haven’t gone through the maze, and I don’t intend to, although Kings Dominion spokesman Gene Petriello offered me a free pass. That’s because Miner’s Revenge hits a little too close to home for me.
From 2010 to 2012, I spent a good bit of time researching a real coal-mine disaster for a book published last year: the massive April 5, 2010, underground blast at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine near Montcoal in southern West Virginia. Twenty-nine miners died in what was the worst U.S. coal-mine disaster in 40 years. Three investigations have found that the incident was the result of Massey’s...