Re: The Journal of Norinko HanasakiA Continuing Series Compiled by Anthony Servante
from Research and Anonymous Sources
Sent in by Tom Thumb (nom de plume for the anonymous journalist for the Los Angeles Free Press 1967). This is a paraphrase of the article originally turned down by the LA Free Press because it wasn’t political enough, according to the writer.
[Start of Email]
To Anthony Servante
From Tom Thumb
Re The article I wrote for the L.A. Free Press in 1967. It was turned down for publication because I was told that it opened old wounds and could be used against the paper. I put this together from my notes. I have a theory you may be interested in. Please contact me at my email above after you've read the article that I tried to piece together as best I could. The L.A. Free Press editor [name not given] kept the original. Please do not share my email address with anyone. I've been feeling uneasy since I read your other emails on the disappearance of Norinko Hanasaki. I think we're both opening wounds now. But the public needs to know.
[Photos included by A. Servante for visual accuracy. Corrections are welcome].
Wasp Newspaper Editorial Cartoon
Depicting the Tyrannical Expansion of the Southern Pacific Railroad
Originally constructed as a train tunnel by Southern Pacific Railroad (SPR), the structure promised the train passengers a surprising view of the
Pacific Ocean as the train exited the
western end of the tunnel. Five years before the building of the tunnel, the
railroad company was buying and selling land along the route passing through
(as it was known then). The settlers of the Fresno County Fresno land known as the Mussel Slough (MS) territory felt the railroad was trying to cheat them when the prices for land
were raised arbitrarily by the SPR. Since the government had awarded the
settlers with the MS land, they wished only to buy more land from the SPR to
expand their ranches and farms, especially in light of the new train route expansion bringing more commercial potential for the landowners. Instead, the SPR began to purchase as much land as possible from the settlers who would sell to gain a stronghold on the property and force
the settlers out. The railroad men turned to drastic measures to get what they wanted from the land owners.
On May 11, 1880, four railroad men were serving notices of eviction to settlers who had lost their settlements due to some corrupt court actions, the settlers claimed. When word got out to the neighboring settlers that their friends were being thrown out of their homes, 20 Mussel Slough residents confronted the railroad men, a U.S. Marshall, a railroad land surveyor, and two "deputies". Upon seeing the mass of homesteaders heading their way, Deputy Walter J. Crow opened fire and wounded several of the men and killed five. As he fled the scene, one of the settlers shot Crow in the back, killing him. The other deputy was killed as well as gunfire exploded from both sides. The Marshall and the surveyor escaped harm by calming the angry homesteaders. But the damage was done. The event became known as the Mussel Slough Tragedy.
The Mussel Slough Five
"The Retribution Comet" — Editorial cartoon published in The Wasp, July 8, 1881, depicting a comet with a skull about to strike railroad tycoons Leland Stanford and Collis Potter Huntington, shown robbing the graves of the Mussel Slough victims.
The newspapers were split in their description of the tragedy. The Wasp, July 8, 1881, depicted a satiric editorial cartoon mocking the greed of the railroad tycoons [see above]. On the other hand, other newspapers, including noted writer Ambrose Bierce, depicted the settlers as squatters who attacked a U.S. Marshall and his deputies. It was later learned that the deputies were never sworn in and that they were merely paid settlers who acted as bodyguards for the railroad surveyor. Five of the settlers involved in the gunfire were charged in federal court and imprisoned. With anti-railroad sentiment running high, the Mussel Slough Massacre victims were hailed as heroes.
The SPR (circa 1898) build a tunnel that connected the
Fresno County railway line to the Santa
Monica connection by . During
construction, however, mysterious sounds were heard in the tunnel by the workers.
Security guards reported hearing gunfire and shouting inside the tunnel at
night. Sporadic screams echoed through the tunnel as workers laid track. Two weeks after the unnamed tunnel was completed, the SPR demolished the
construction and rerouted the train route along the coastline through what today is
known as Long
Wharf in an effort to rebuild confidence in the new railway route that connected King County [as Fresno was later named] and Los Angeles County Venice.
Tunnel Dedication 1936
In 1936 The Olympic Tunnel was built as a motor vehicle freeway connecting to the Pacific coastline highway. The builders of the new tunnel also reported strange noises, including voices, and witnessing the weeping spirits of the victims of Walter J. Crow. As cars drove through the tunnel, the drivers complained to the
city planner that the lights in the tunnel turned off as they entered the
pathway toward the beach and that even their own car lights dimmed to a barely
visible light. It was surprising that no accidents were reported as drivers
were passing through the tunnel virtually blinded. Robert E. McClure, a
respected newspaper man for the Santa Monica Outlook, wanted to honor the
fallen settlers of Mussel Slough in the hopes that the weird occurrences in the
tunnel would cease if the name of the tunnel was changed (The Olympic had
connotations of being paid for by the railroad) and allowed his name to replace
The Olympic in 1966. Today it is known as the McClure Tunnel. Despite the name
change, the supernatural sightings continued. And to this day still continue.
[End of Article]
[Writer adds a footnote that ends abruptly].
Some of the strange events that were printed in the local newspapers between 1936 and 1966 include drivers bursting into tears upon entering the tunnel. One woman claimed that her dog started barking and suddenly stopped; when she emerged from the tunnel the dog was no longer in the car and was never found. Police searched the tunnel, but what they found were the bodies of four railroad workers who were identified by their clothes as laborers of the
tunnel built and demolished over fifty years
before. Their corpses looked weeks old, according to the coroner. But it wasn’t
till 2016 that the most frightening event occurred. A teenaged girl riding the
Santa Monica Big Blue line home from school disappeared while the bus was
passing through the tunnel. This unsolved disappearance garnered much press not
only for the girl going missing but because of the name of the bus driver. His
name was Walter Crow. Since the bus driver in the Hanasaki girl disappearance has not been found, and that no photos exist of the driver in his work file, I believe that the ghost of Walter J. Crow was paying for the murders of the innocent settlers and is condemned
to Long Wharf
[End of Email].
This email arrived at my address (firstname.lastname@example.org) on January 2nd, 2017. I tried to contact the writer by email two times and received no reply. If you have further information on the real name of Tom Thumb, or the editor of the LA Free Press in 1967, or a picture of Walter Crow, the reported driver of the bus, please forward this information to me to update this article. I have been scouring the local newspapers in the beach areas of Santa Monica, Venice, and Long Beach for any further information on Norinko Hanasaki. Calls and emails to investigators have been largely ignored. The one call I received from an anonymous person supposedly from the Long Beach Police Department wanted to let me know that the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office in Downtown Los Angeles were handling the case now. I dispatched an email to the LA Sheriff's Office yesterday and will update my readers as soon as I have any new information.