Friday, January 6, 2017

Betrayals & Massacres
Surrounding the McClure Tunnel
A Norinko Hanasaki Research Case
A Continuing Series Compiled 
by Anthony Servante
from Research and Anonymous Sources
Part Two

The McClure Tunnel

[Start of Email]

To Anthony Servante
From Tom Thumb [Pseudonym]
Re The article I wrote for the Herald Examiner in 1967 was turned down for publication because I was told that it opened old wounds and spoke ill of the owner's [William Randolph Hearst] close friends. I put this together after reading about the Norinko Hanasaki disappearance. You may be interested to know that the Santa Monica Tunnel, AKA The McClure Tunnel, has a history of dirty secrets beyond the Stanford connection you researched. Here are my notes from the article as the Herald never returned the original copy of my story, and in those days, we used carbon paper to make copies, and I was too cheap to buy some carbon sheets. Please do not share my email address with anyone. I've been feeling uneasy since I read your other research on the disappearance of the Hanasaki girl. I think we're both opening wounds. But the public needs to know.

Santa Monica McClure Tunnel: A California History of Ghosts and Greed
[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 Fresno County (as it was known then). The settlers of the 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. Later, however, Bierce wrote a scalding satire against "The Big Four" railroad men in a poetry book titled "Black Beetles in Amber" and railed against political corruption in his book "Fantastic Fables". 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 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. 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 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 Santa Monica 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 the Unpublished 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 Long Wharf tunnel built and demolished over fifty years before. Their corpses looked weeks old, according to the coroner.

Since the bus driver in the Hanasaki girl disappearance has not been found, I believe that there is something in that tunnel connected to the curse of Walter J. Crow. Somehow people going through the tunnel are paying for the murders of the innocent settlers and are condemned to 
[End of Email].

This email arrived at my address ( 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 Herald Examiner in 1967, 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 did receive was from an anonymous woman supposedly from the California Highway Patrol who 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 [January 5, 2017] and will update my readers as soon as I have any new information. 

Update: I heard from the office last month and plan to go live with the information as soon as I organize it and correlate it to other research and sources I've developed since the Tom Thumb email. Please be patient. I have a fellow writer helping me with this story now that it's gotten too big for me to handle alone. Her name will appear on future bylines of new articles. To date, I am merely re-editing and re-posting the articles that I had published earlier this year to reflect the latest information that my research has ascertained. 

Thank you agan for your patience, readers,

Anthony Servante

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