For some locals who are into ghosthunting, the Moonville Tunnel in Vinton County is too tempting to pass up.
The ghosthunters who make up Unseen Forces Paranormal Research Team consist of members from both Meigs County and Mason County, W.Va. who specialize in investigating haunted places. Unseen Forces has previously investigated Beech Grove Cemetery in Pomeroy.
As for their Moonville Tunnel adventure, Unseen Forces members Brenden Black and Raven Johnson said their experience was by far the most haunted the group has documented. Black, Johnson and members Ryan Ferrell and Whitnee Russell have been to the tunnel three times, collecting evidence that the location is indeed haunted.
According to various ghost hunting sources on the Internet, the Moonville Tunnel is regarded as one of the most haunted places in Ohio by many ghosthunters. The old tunnel sits along Raccoon Creek in the Zaleski Forest. The town of Moonville was a mining town founded in the 1850’s which was said to be located around the tunnel which was used by the Marietta-Cincinnati Railroad. The town’s population is said to have peaked in the 1870’s at under 100 residents. The town then completely fell off the map and disappeared in the 1930’s. All that’s left is the tunnel, a cemetery and a few old foundations for long-gone homes. The train stopped running in 1986 and the tracks were torn out in 1988.
Though some ghosthunters report there were as many as six people killed in the tunnel between 1859 and 1986, the most popular “ghost” story haunting the tunnel is the ghost of a railroad worker. The legend goes a Marietta-Cincinnati railroad worker fell onto the tracks outside the tunnel on March 29, 1859 and was hit by the train. People claim to have seen his ghost walking the tracks with a lantern, wearing his railroad uniform.
The crew from Unseen Forces believes they came in contact with what could be the mysterious railroad worker during their investigations at the tunnel. While in the tunnel, Black said the group turned on a flashlight and began asking questions of what they felt was a spirit near them. The group asked the spirit to dim the flashlight for “yes” and brighten it for “no.”
Through this communication, Black and Johnson said the spirit answered to the name of “Brakeman” and said he died in the tunnel. He told the team he is staying at the tunnel because he feels he has a purpose there. He also communicated he did live in Moonville, is happy and feels at peace, was killed at night time and there was an important thing he wanted the team to know but he couldn’t tell them. The Brakeman also said there was a girl in the tunnel who died there. In fact there are reports of a small girl dying in the tunnel in 1986 after she was struck by a train.
In addition, team members reported being touched by unseen hands and heard unexplained noises and footsteps in the tunnel. The team also captured a photo of what appears to be the shadow of a person at the far end of the tunnel. Black said the photo was taken during daylight and no one saw the “shadow man” in the tunnel when the picture was snapped.
Black said the team utilized video recorders, digital cameras, voice recorders, EMF detectors, contact thermometers, UC blacklight flashlights and K2 meters to complete the investigation. In addition they used laser levels in the tunnel which occasionally would show breaks in the light as if something unseen was walking past.
“It is definitely haunted,” Black concluded about the tunnel.
As for those who don’t believe in hauntings, Black and Johnson said, “you’ll believe once you experience it.” As for why do ghosthunting? Johnson said “it’s a rush.”
The evidence collected at the Moonville Tunnel as well as during other Unseen Forces’ investigations can be viewed on the group’s myspace page or at www.unseenforcespr.webs.com.