Would you dare to walk the abandoned train tunnel?
In 1856, the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad was making its way through southeastern Ohio in the hopes of constructing a rail line straight to Cincinnati. While building the railroad, an abundant supply of coal was found in the immediate area, resulting in several coal mines popping up, and the town of Moonville was born.
Straight out of a horror movie, the town rarely ever had more than 100 inhabitants and was isolated in the woods, removed from the rest of civilization. The only way in and out of Moonville was to walk the railroad tracks to the closest town, and that proved to be deadly. By 1920, six people had lost their lives along the tracks in the tunnel, with the most recent casualty in 1986 when a 10-year-old girl was struck by a train at the mouth of Moonville Tunnel.
Today, the tunnel is just as isolated as it was before… but now, it is haunted by four unique spirits: the Engineer, the Brakeman, the Lavender Lady, and the Bully.
The Engineer is said to have lost his life in a tragic head-on collision. Today, people report seeing him dressed in a white robe holding a lantern as well as crossing the tracks. The Brakeman was a young man working on a train long ago. One night while he was drunk, he fell from the train and died under its wheels. He is sometimes spotted in photos of the tunnel and is occasionally spotted carrying a lantern (though that could also be the Engineer). Visitors to the tunnel have reported seeing a thin, older woman they have begun to call the Lavender Lady. According to reports, people watch her cross the tracks and fall. But before she hits the ground, she vanishes, leaving only the scent of lavender behind. No one knows who the Lavender Lady is, as there are no stories or legends relating to her.
The most infamous ghost of the Moonville Tunnel is the Bully, also known as Baldie Keeton. Keeton was an angry and violent drunk who was kicked out of the local bar one night by a group of men. On his way home, he wandered over the Moonville Tunnel only to be attacked by the men once more. Beaten and thrown over the edge of the tunnel, Baldie’s body laid on the tracks overnight, and by the time he was found, several trains had run over him. No one was ever convicted for his murder. Today, Keeton is seen lurking on top of the Moonville Tunnel, glaring at anyone who approaches the tunnel, and is even known to throw rocks and pebbles at them.
You can access the Moonville Tunnel at 39.308458°, -82.324539°, park in the parking lot, cross the bridge, and the tunnel will be on your left. A longer Rail Trail map is available here (about 10 miles one way), but please keep in mind that this is an old trail that may need to be maintained, so practice common sense and be safe on your trek.
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