Wednesday, October 31, 2007

you are running from an invisible killer. savage and merciless, he leaves a trail of rotting flesh in his wake. day and night, the streets echo with shrieks of grief and agony. your friends and family fall prey to his ravenous appetite, one by one, and the air is heavy with the scent of death as purple-spotted bodies are dragged away. he will find you. his teeth will sink into your flesh and your final days will pass in a blaze of blood and pus and burning flesh. he will find you. you cannot hide.

in the year 1665, a tailor in the quiet derbyshire village of eyam opened a bundle of cloth newly arrived from london. it was damp, and he hung it by the fire to dry. within days, he was dead. the plague had taken its first victim in eyam.

as the death toll mounted, with urging from william mompesson, the local rector, the village of eyam decided to close itself off from the outside world in an attempt to prevent the ravaging disease from travelling further north. for eighteen long months, no one came or left eyam. food and supplies were left at a well a safe distance from town by neighbouring villages. a rock with three indentations, set in the middle of a field, marked the boundary between clean and contaminated.

the quarantine was successful, and the plague did not travel beyond eyam. 83 of the 350 villagers survived.

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