My Visit to Moonville:
Every once in awhile I get a suggestion from a reader informing me about a haunted location to visit, but the idea of visiting Moonville, Ohio, has been made by MANY readers!
Being from Ohio, I really wanted to go but when Covid-19 hit, my whole world was turned upside down and we were in quarantine for three months. Sometimes I still can’t believe it all happened. So needless to say, I couldn’t go for awhile.
So, on Saturday, June 20, 2020, I was ready to hit the road with my good friend and fellow sensitive, Amy Branam. Nothing like two girls hitting the highway for a little day trip to a haunted location! Woo hoo!
Two hours and twenty-minutes later, we pulled onto a gravel road, winding our way through a cliffside-forest trying to find traces of an old town that’s been taken over by trees and fallen rocks.
We pulled up to a trail and hiked our way to an iron bridge that was covered in a rock path all the way to a tunnel. Amy and I found out later that we could have driven my car right up to the bridge, parked and walked a short way. But no! We had to take the hardest, must dangerous hike there was, almost falling numerous times, again and again. At one point, I tried to turn around and ask Amy if she was okay, while I moved forward hiking up a mud-filled hill with pointy rocks coming out of its path, almost falling backward. After that, I just said, “Amy, are you okay back there, because if I turn around to look, I will fall!” She replied that she was fine and told me to not hurt myself. Soon we reached the bridge. THANK GOD!! “Wow,” I thought, “that was a scary trail.”
Walking towards the tunnel, I was truly amazed! I have only seen pictures of it myself up until that point and NEVER realized how HUGE it was! Pictures on the internet sure didn’t reveal its actual size. It really was an impressive sight to take in. We both were surprised and stopped to take several pictures of it. The tunnel that says “Moonville” on it is made of stone and really looks beautiful and surprisingly intact for its age!
Here is a little Moonville history: Moonville was a small town in a forestry area, now an abandoned ghost town in Vinton County Ohio. Little remains of this former mining and railroad community except a few foundations, a cemetery, and an abandoned railroad tunnel. The tunnel is legendary for its numerous ghost stories and tragedies involving many deaths mostly because the town had no roads so people were forced to walk the railroad tracks to get from place to place.
One story I have heard time and time again is about a male ghost known as the Brakeman. A young man that was hit by a train in the tunnel and he was instantly killed. Now people say they see his shadowy figure as he haunts the tunnel day and night not realizing that he is actually dead.
Also reported is the Lavender Lady, who is a thin, elderly woman, spirit that is hunched over as she walks the far side of the tracks. As she walks, she leaves behind the scent of lavender. People report that the spirit of the woman looks as if she is falling off the track, only to vanish into the air.
Another story is about an Engineer who caused a train-wreck in 1880 dying instantly inside the tunnel. This ghost comes back to haunt the stony walls day and night.
And lastly, and I think the most interesting ghost rumored in Moonville, is The Bully Above the Tunnel. This is a male spirit who, when he was alive, got intoxicated and was reportedly murdered one evening near the tunnel. He is said to walk above the tunnel.
However, when I looked up this story, I actually found more deaths reported in the tunnel and on the bridge. By 1920, six people had been killed on the bridge (the same bridge Amy and I walked on to get to the tunnel) or inside the tunnel. The last death supposedly reported was in 1986 when a 10-year-old girl was reportedly struck by a car on the bridge; however, Moonville was abandoned in 1947 when the coal mines closed down, so that doesn’t make sense. By 1960, all the buildings were gone, and little was left of the tiny town in Ohio. All that can be seen today is its grand stone tunnel and what’s left (which isn’t much at all) of the town’s cemetery.
Amy and I walked through the tunnel and you could definitely feel a presence inside, but to me it felt like a presence of the past. Simply history. There could be a spirit or two, but they certainly weren’t coming out to talk with us.
After investigating the Moonville Tunnel, we decided to move on to the cemetery! We walked back to my car and drove up the small, gravel, winding road toward the town’s cemetery. This turned out to be the scariest event of the day! Will we, or won’t we, make it! All I have to say is be sure to drive an SUV or truck on your adventure to Moonville because you WILL certainly need it, or you WON’T make it up the hill! Wow! Also, when you get to the top, be sure to park safely because there is limited space.
After we arrived at the top of the woodsy hill and parked safely, we made our way to the cemetery where 13 gravestones, lasting through much weather and time, still stood. The rest have been lost to time and the forest.
I was hoping we might find some ghosts in the Moonville Cemetery, a beautiful and peaceful spot on the slanted hillside. However, I am sad to report that not much happened, but my iPhone camera froze. That was strange! Whenever I lifted my camera and started to point and shoot to take a photo of a tombstone, my camera would turn gray. Soon, a van pulled up and two nice ladies came up the hill and parked. Later on they were talking to us and offered to take a picture of us. I handed her my iPhone to take a picture and the same thing happened again, my screen turned gray! Now, those of you who have an iPhone know that the screen doesn’t turn gray when it malfunctions or freezes up, it turns black! So that was odd but sadly it was the only thing (possibly) paranormal that happened on our trip to Moonville.
So would I recommend taking a trip to Moonville, Ohio? I think so!
Even though we didn’t experience much, simply going for the fun of seeing what is left of a small, abandoned, mining town in the middle of a forest in Ohio was worth it! You won’t regret it!
©Rosella C. Rowe
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