I used to give myself a massive case of the heebie-jeebies as I drove between Athens and Pittsburgh when Mrs. Crappy was still in school. Between Marietta and Belpre, there is a series of industrial plants  — power plants and chemical plants, mainly — and especially at night, driving by the hulking scaffolds and towers was enough to plant some ominous, post-apocalyptic visions in my head as I drove by.

To double my fun, I once stumbled upon a looped AM broadcast in or near Belpre: a scratchy female voice telling me over and over and over that this is where I should tune if something were ever to happen at one of the plants. That sort of thing also has freaked me out for as long as I can remember — or, at least, since the time I became aware of what those Emergency Broadcast System cut-ins on TV and the radio were really for (The Day After, anyone?). The combination of that voice and the sight of the looming plants alongside the Ohio River was more than enough to completely freak me out every time I drove by.

(I found a similar snippet at the end of “Poor Places,” on Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot record — a disembodied female voice, repeating “Yankee. Hotel. Foxtrot.” over and over through the torrent of noise at the end of the song — and at night, it produces a similar result, for me anyway.)

On two different instances, once directed to me and earlier today, when Burgh Baby and Ginny were having a Twitter staring contest, my friend Goob has plopped this video down right in front of me:

And I proceed to freak out all over again.


  1. Dude, that video is definitely freaky. Also, I got pulled over for speeding outside of Belpre when I was 18 or so, driving home from visiting my brother. That place gave me the creeps so bad I had to floor it.


  2. I drive past those plants at least once a week usually. Many good friends of mine work in them. I breathe that air every day… yowsa.

    Fortunately a few of them are now gone.. Also, the new I77/US50 Corridor D bridge lets you skip just about all of them except one.


  3. Oh…The Day After – that scared the crap out of me. And I think folks our age (that is – those who still remember doing air raid drills in school – did you do those, or am I just from a backwards, paranoid town?) had a little more fear of that kind of thing.


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