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The mystery of the Zanetti train that disappeared in 1911 that still travels in space and time

Friday 27 may 2022

A train that left Rome for Milan, mysteriously disappeared in a tunnel, only to appear in half the world and surrounded by truly unusual events

The mystery of the Zanetti train that disappeared in 1911 that still travels in space and time

As italian comedian, Pozzetto, said in the movie "Country boy" "Well well, the train is always the train, eh" and not only is it always a pleasure to see those carriages pass, sometimes slowly like lazy turtles, sometimes very fast like powerful jaguars on their glittering track; but it is perhaps an even greater pleasure to be inside and enjoy the landscape that accompanies us through the windows. The thousand colors of the countryside, the spectacle along the sea coast, the curiosity slowly approaching the station of a big city and the suspense entering a dark tunnel. The train offers a thousand emotions and, personally, I find it a perfect way to travel… Sitting there, doing nothing, with my nose towards the world whizzing past me, in complete relaxation.

Thinking about trains, I recently came across the little-known mystery of a train that disappeared in a tunnel between Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy in the early 1900s. I have researched a lot about it and, being a lover of legends and mysteries, the story has left me truly fascinated and I hope to be able to convey this sentiment in my account of this legendary event.

But let's start from the beginning, that is, from the Rome station. It is July 14th, 1911… Everyone on board!

Previous to that day, the Zanetti railway company had made an important advertising campaign for the maiden voyage of a new tourist train, consisting of the locomotive and 3 luxurious wagons, which would take passengers from the capital to Milan, passing through the spectacular campaigns of Lazio, Umbria, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy. It should be noted that, between Emilia and Lombardy, the train had to go through a tunnel about one kilometer long which at the time was considered the longest tunnel ever dug in a mountain. An engineering prodigy, therefore. For the maiden voyage, Zanetti had selected 100 passengers from the local upper class and members of some families of the railway company. 6 other people accompanied them, including train drivers and on-board staff. Whistle from the Station Manager, and off we go!

The train moved slowly along its route to allow the elegant passengers to enjoy the view to the fullest while being entertained by violinist sonatas, tantalizing treats and champagne. Everything was going well and the journey was proving more than satisfactory and within a few hours the train arrived at the tunnel. There was a small crowd both at the entrance and at the exit to see the new train go through that prodigious tunnel (which had already been used by other trains previously). The train approached amid the exultation of those present and once it entered completely into the darkness of the mountain... it never got out again. The small crowd waiting for him never saw him coming out.

Long were the minutes of curiosity and bewilderment, and after calling the police on the spot, those present entered the tunnel for inspection thinking of a sort of a breakdown, but in the darkness of that tunnel they found nothing but 2 passengers in a state of shock. There was no trace of the train and there were no signs of any accident. The staff of the railway company also inspected the section of rails without any results.

It took a few days for those 2 to regain a modicum of sanity and one of them gave a strange report:

"I heard a strange hum shortly before the entrance to the tunnel, inside which a strange white fog had risen that seemed to wind around the train that was literally swallowed up inside it. It was a horrible experience despite being able to save myself along with another passenger by jumping from one of the few railway carriages just before the locomotive entered the tunnel. We both crashed on hard ground and this is the last thing I remember of what happened. "

There is no evidence of the other survivor.

Out of fear of other accidents, that section of the railway was closed and the Zanetti railway company employed many resources to cover up the incident. At risk was the future and the credibility of the company. But to definitively put a "stone" on this mysterious event was an aerial bombardment which during the Second World War completely blocked access to the tunnel, preventing further investigations.

The memory of the brand new Zanetti tourist train, the 104 passengers and their disappearance was lost over time, but what happened to them? If the passengers were from the upper middle class, is it possible that no one, not even the press, has ever asked questions? Then those two witnesses and their mysterious "statements"? But above all… an entire train that vanishes into thin air?!?

A decade passed since Zanetti's disappearance when one of the relatives of the missing passengers found a strange testimony in the medieval chronicles of the Modena Monastery. This told of a satanic metal chariot, from which black smoke came out, followed by three other smaller ones. From these chariots came three servants of the devil who were beardless and dressed in strange black robes. The "servants of the devil" began knocking on the door of the monastery asking to enter but the strong bolts, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary invoked by the prayers of the monks, prevented the sacrilege. Could it have been our missing train that traveled in time to the Middle Ages? Since then, of the Zanetti and his passengers have not been talked about anymore and it seems that the manuscript with the chronicles was destroyed during the Messina earthquake in 1908.

The Ukrainian newspaper "Gloria di Sebastopol" brought up the history of the 1911 Zanetti Rome-Milan, which in its August 12, 1992 issue published the article "Ghost train on the roads of Ukraine", which quoted:

"A ghost of three carriages appeared at the intersection of the duty officer Elena Spiridonovna Chebrets... The train with the curtains tightly closed, the doors open and the empty cockpit moved absolutely silently, crushing the chickens that they walked along the street. "

In fact, it seems that, from time to time, a train appeared for a few moments at the level crossing near the village of Zavalichi, in Poltava (Ukraine). The article cited the chairman of the commission for the study of anomalous phenomena at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Vasily Leshchaty, who had been studying these apparitions for some time. It was Leshchaty that proposed the idea that that ghost train was the infamous Zanetti who was somehow able to travel not only in space, but also in time.

While studying some documents, he found the testimony of a famous psychiatrist from Mexico City, José Saxino, who in the 40s of the 1800s had 104 Italians interned in the psychiatric hospital of the Mexican capital, who behaved in a surly and confused way. It seems that, after having ascertained that these were neither Mexicans, nor Spaniards, but Italians, they claimed to have arrived in Mexico City by train... a train that left, but from Rome. There are those who say that after time the 104 mad people adapted to their new reality and integrated themselves into that new life. Some went crazy in the lifetime facility. There are also those who say that no trace of them was ever found again and of their stay in Mexico only the note of Doctor Saxino exists. Again, the train was never found. Did he get his passengers off and then start wandering alone in time and space?

But returning to the chairman of the commission for the study of anomalous phenomena at the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Leshchaty was so obsessed with the ghost train that he himself disappeared after "ambushing" it and getting on it in front of several witnesses. Since that evening of September 25, 1991, there is no trace of Leshchaty and no one was interested in taking care of the mysterious train anymore.

To make this whole story even stranger there is the testimony left by Pyotr Ustimenko, a signalman at the railway crossing near Balaklava (Crimea), to the Russian writer, Nikolai Cherkashin, who quoted:

“I rubbed my eyes, I thought, it looked like trains couldn't go without rails, instead: a steam locomotive and three passenger caravans. Both the locomotive and the entire train are not ours, they seem pre-war, or perhaps even previous. Traveling without lights from the side of Mount Gasfort along the trajectory of the former railway. I even ran to the spot: no trace, no crushed tufts of grass. Well, pure ghost? A damn thing. So I thought: it's not good, it can create problems. "

This testimony was lived in October 1955.
Since then of sightings of a pre-war train with three passenger carriages in tow, which moved as if it were floating, without drivers and with curtained windows closed and doors open, appearing at night and then disappearing after a few moments, there have been many: in Moscow (in 1975, 1981 and 1986), in Chernobyl (shortly before the accident at the nuclear power plant), in Norway, in the Balkans, again in 1986 in the Channel Tunnel and in other places… and times. I didn't understand why, but the history of Zanetti Rome-Milan has aroused strong interest in India and if you try to search on Youtube you will understand it but for many videos you will have to understand Hindi.

If you think that the mystery is over here you are wrong! In fact, this is where it thickens.

It seems that on the Zanetti, during that tragic inauguration trip, a rosewood case traveled, in which inside there was the skull of the well-known Ukrainian writer, Nikolai Gogol, but why? It seems that the skull was stolen in Moscow in 1909 by the merchant Alexei Bakrushin, a fanatic of Russian theater. That theft caused a sensation until it reached the ears of the writer's great-grandson, a certain Yanovsky, lieutenant of the Russian imperial fleet. Yanovsky confronted at gun point Bakrushin and told him:

“There are two cartridges here. One in the trunk. the other is in the drum. The one in the trunk is for you if you refuse to give me Nikolai Vasilyevich's skull. The one in the drum is for me ... "

Faced with this kind invitation, the merchant who was certainly not a lion's heart, willingly agreed to part with the relic and the skull accompanied the lieutenant to Sevastopol to board the ship where he had taken up service. In 1910, the Italians invited Russian sailors to the anniversary of the Messina earthquake of 1908 (don't you ear a bell?) during which the Russians had given important aid to the inhabitants of the Sicilian city. It was Yanovsky's chance to take the skull to the Russian embassy in Rome, which he considered his second home. But the trip, for a variety of reasons, did not take place. On the contrary, it was an Italian destroyer who went to Sevastopol to collect the ashes of Sardinian generals who died during the siege of the city of 1854-1855 buried in the cemetery of Mount Gasfort (don't you ear another bell?). On that occasion, the lieutenant handed the rosewood case (containing the skull) to commander Borghese, making him promise to deliver the relic to the Russian consul in Italy. But this promise would never be kept and the captain sent his apologies to the lieutenant in a letter saying "A man's fate does not end with his life." Letter that was later allegedly found by the famous journalist Carlo Vicentini. In the spring of 1911 Borghese had to leave on a long mission and the famous rosewood case was found by his younger brother (let's call him Borghese Jr.) who thought it was fun to take it with him on a tourist train trip to which he had been invited. The same one who left the station in Rome on July 14th. His plan was to scare the passengers at the right moment by showing the contents of the famous rosewood case but something really went wrong. In fact, perhaps panicked, perhaps by a paranormal warning, I don't know... the fact is that one of the 2 who jumped off the train and the one who told the story of the milky white fog was Borghese Jr.

So, now the skull of the well-known writer Gogol wanders in time and space on a ghost train that has disappeared in a tunnel between Emilia-Romagna and Lombardy that no one can find. Train which was mentioned in a medieval manuscript that was destroyed during an earthquake, and which took away the chairman of the commission for the study of anomalous phenomena at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, the only "true" scholar who is he ever interested in the case based on the testimony of a "well-known" Mexican psychiatrist who interned 104 Italian madmen 150 years earlier (approximately).

So far, all clear, right?

Returning to the chronicles of the Monastery of Modena. These were kept on the Kasta-Sole estate, in a unique collection of ancient manuscripts collected by many generations of the Sadzhino family. It appears that one of the owners of the estate was one of the 2 survivors.

But the links in this story are certainly not lacking. Do you remember the writer who had collected the testimony of the signalman in the Crimea? I'm talking about Nikolai Cherkashin, who plays a strong role in what I'm about to explain to you about the ghost train. The writer, in 1988, was in Sevastopol gathering information on the accident of the Russian battleship "Novorossijsk" which exploded on the morning of October 29, 1955, causing the death of over 600 people. The "Novorossijsk" which was actually the Italian battleship "Julius Caesar" taken by the Russians as a war trophy after the war, exploded just the morning after the sighting of the train in Crimea ... just the day after someone saw the ghost train , he said "not good, it can create problems."

And just that someone, who was amazed that a train could travel without rails on Mount Gasfort. Well, Cherkashin discovered that on that mountain, in 1855 the Italian soldiers who died during the siege of Sevastopol were buried and 100 years later, by order of the Soviet authorities, the cemetery was razed to the ground and its chapel was blown up. .

Based on this, writer Nikolai Cherkashin made a conclusion:

"Whoever shoots the past with a gun, the future will shoot him a cannon," says Cherkashin. - And the stick of dynamite, planted under the old chapel, turned into a monstrous explosion under the bottom of the Novorossiysk. I am completely convinced of the karmic connection between these two events ... "

Furthermore, the local historian Yevgeny Venikeev, who accompanied the writer in his research, added:

“Here, at the Italian camp of Gasfort, the British built a railway from Balaklava. Then it was removed. But the embankment remained. The branch from Balaklava to Sevastopol passes exactly along the route traced by the British ”.

Does this mean that the ghost train followed the tracks of the removed sleepers?

“Take the souls of the Italian soldiers, troubled by the explosion of their last refuge? Or did one of the 106 passengers have relatives buried here and they came to pay the last toll? Or perhaps they, these lost passengers, avenged the desecrated cemetery from their temporary imprisonment, interfered with the earthly causal relationship. Is that why "Julius Caesar" - "Novorossiysk" blew up? Cherkashin suggested.

There is so much to think about... but I was stubborn and inspired by everything I discovered so far I wanted to know where the myth ended and where reality began. Well, before I tell you what I finally found out I would like this whole story to come back to you the next time you, like me, feel a sense of suspense when you enter a tunnel while traveling by train.

Having said that: of a Zanetti railway company that built trains in Italy, I have not found any trace. Same about the Ukrainian newspaper "Glory of Sevastopol". Same about the "distinguished" chairman of the commission for the study of anomalous phenomena at the Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Vasily Leshchaty. Same story about the "well-known" Mexican psychiatrist, José Saxino, about Captain Borghese, about the Kasta-Sole estate and about the Sadzhino family. Not to mention the tunnel and the medieval chronicles that were destroyed. The only certain things are that Gogol's skull has disappeared, the atrocities of the war and that, in many countries and at different times, there are those who see the Zanetti Rome-Milan train that disappeared during its maiden voyage on 14 July. 1911 bringing with him 104 people no one ever wanted to know about.

This sounds like a great read for a train ride.

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