The Case of the Deadly Tornado (Warner Robins)

One of the biggest questions I come across in almost every single case I’ve covered is a simple one. Did the legend really happen? After all, history without truth is just a lie that grows into a legend. Later, some poor researcher, like myself, have to come around and try to set the record straight.

With that said, every chance I get to do a historical piece on Warner Robins, I’m super glad to do it. Warner Robins is a relatively young city, basically (seriously in a nutshell) being a product of the second world war. Before the base, it was simply farm land. This is why you’ll hear stories from people as young as 30 say “I remember when this road was a dirt road” or “man, this town sure has grown since I was little.” All of that is true, because it has. It grew fast, so fast that any history before is basically, well, lost.

There is one major event that did happen in 1953, however, that some would argue changed the course of Warner Robins forever. In May of that year, a string of powerful tornadoes would ravish the military down. One of the tornados, which was a category EF-4, REALLY did some damage. What’s crazy is the fact that it was caught on video. That is where our legend begins. It is said that the man who filmed this video actually died while filming it, and his death is shown as the video cuts off. Making it the second known film to ever record a death on American Soil. So, we ask, did Vince Rupert (the supposed man behind the film) die while filming the tornado footage in Warner Robins? Here’s the truth.

Now, it’s unfair to answer this question without giving you the original source of the rumor. A YouTube video by the channel “Swegle Studios” Posted a video about this subject and it has actually garnered over a quarter million views. You can certainly tell they are not from this area, as he calls it Hews-ton County, and not House-ton County. Either way, in this video (which you can find here they show the footage in question and actually set out to prove it or debunk it. They used some of the very same tools I use in my research. In fact I was quite impressed. Please, when you get the time you should check out the video. It led me down a rabbit hole, finding out that this rumor has been around for quite a while.

Nonetheless, let’s get to the facts. As they point out in their research, Vince Rupert never existed. I checked every where I could check as well. I even went further than find-a-grave and used, along with the favorite, and still nothing. It looks like they did a spot-on job. That’s not where this case ends, however. Because now the question is, who filmed it, and did THEY in fact die while doing so? That’s where I step in, and I have an advantage called hindsight.

Others have done research on the subject since the video was posted, and I really didn’t have to look far. As it turns out, a man named Sgt. Lewis Prochniak filmed the video. He did indeed survive the event. So much so that he went on to actually sell the footage, which is why we are able to see it. In a strange way, we owe him a thank you for this rare historical footage. I Found the newspaper article with him and his film in Black and White from the page…/1953-warner-robins-tornado…/ if you so chose to read up on the subject.

So, there you have it. A prime example of why you should always research ideas, and beliefs before jumping headfirst into them. This story, to me, was still uncanny and worth a visit!

Hey! I hope you enjoyed this case. If you have any other legends you’d like me to check into, please feel free to send an email at You WILL be featured in these cases!


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