Moonville Tunnel

Zaleski, Ohio

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The Moonville Tunnel is located off Shea Road in the Zaleski Forest in Vinton County. If you'd like directions, click here.

The old railroad tunnel is located along Raccoon Creek in the one of Ohio's densest wooded areas - the Zaleski Forest. The woods around it is so dense that you can't even see the tunnel until you're on the path right in front of it!

The small mining town of Moonville, which was founded in the 1850's, was once located around the tunnel which was used by the Marietta-Cincinnati Railroad. The town really was tiny, during it's peak in the 1870's there were maybe 60-100 residents living there. The town totally disappeared sometime in the all that's left is the tunnel, the cemetery, and a few old house foundations. The railroad stopped using the tracks in late 1986, and the tracks were torn out in 1988.

Many people consider the Moonville Tunnel one of Ohio's most haunted locations. Here are the ghosts I have heard about:

Railroad worker: The ghost that is most often seen at the Moonville Tunnel is the ghost of a railroad worker. On March 29, 1859 a Marietta-Cincinnati railroad worker fell onto the tracks outside the tunnel and was hit by a train. Today people claim to see his ghost walking along the tracks with a lantern. He is always seen wearing his railroad uniform. One legend has it that his head was decapitated when the train killed him, so some claim the ghost is headless.

Young woman: In 1905 a young woman was walking home along the tracks when she was killed by a passing train. Today people see her ghost walking along the tracks just outside of the tunnel, carrying a lantern and dressed in a flowing white dress or robe.

Black miner: In 1920 a group of black miners were playing cards in a shack near the roalroad. They were drinking very heavily. When it was time to go home, one of the workers was walking along the tracks. Since he was so drunk, he wasn't paying too much attention to things going on around him. He heard a sound behind him, and when he turned around he saw a train heading towards him! He wasn't alert enough to get off the tracks, so he started waving his lantern in an attempt to stop the train. Obviously, the conductors didn't have enough time to stop the train and the miner was killed. Today people claim to see the ghost of a tall black man with a gray beard and miner's hat waving a lantern in the tunnel.

Man murdered at the inn: In 1936 a man was murdered at the inn that sat to the right of the tunnel. Many people claim to see the murdered man standing near the top of the tunnel where the inn used to stand.

Young man: In 1954 a young man was waiting for a train to pass before crossing the tracks. The train passed, and he started to cross the tracks. However, one of the cars on the train had broken free and it ran over him. Today many people claim to see a red, glowing form near the tunnel, who they believe is this young man.

Ten year old girl: The last death at the tunnel was that of a ten year old girl in 1986. She was playing near the tracks when a train came through and killed her. Today people claim to hear a little girl laughing near the tunnel.

Penny L., a website visitor, sent me a couple e-mails about her eerie encounters at the Moonville Tunnel:

It was cool. I did not have a camera so my boyfriend and I stopped at walmart on the way out and bought a Kodak Advantix 35mm. We stopped and took 2 pix of the sunset cuz it was really beautiful last evening, then when we got to the tunnel we took 1 pic of the entrance and 2 inside the tunnel and then the flash stopped working. We tried to finish up the roll of film by pointing our flashlights at the walls and taking pics but I figure they will turn out all black. Don't know if the camera was defective or if something out there did not want to be photographed! Have never had a camera do that.

Penny's second e-mail was also very interesting! More creepy happenings:

I have been back to Moonville 2 times since the incident with my camera. Another strange thing that happened after the night that my camera stopped working is, as we were taking the path back to the car i felt like i walked through some spider webs or something and it brushed against my face, the next morning i had a really awful nightmare about that side of my face being all burned and scared, and some how i had the name "Frank" pop into my head and well, i do not know anyone named frank! So i have been trying to do some research in hopes of maybe finding out some of the victims names that died out there.

A group of us went out to Moonville on Friday August the 13th, we found the cemetary and looked around took a few pics and then headed out to the tunnel. We looked around for a while. On the way out, my boyfriend and I were lagging back behind our friends, we were close to the end of tunnel and everyone else was near the entrance. My boyfriend kept looking behind him and shining his flashlight back behind him saying that he could hear something. I didnt hear anything. Then all the sudden he just shuddered and gasp and said something had touched him, that it felt as if something ran its hands up both of sides of his waist (as if you would tickle someone). My boyfriend is not a small man nor is he easily scared he is about 5'11 and 220 pounds, and he was scared , had goosebumps all over him! Well it was about that time that i grabbed him by his shirt and proceeded to try to drag him out of the tunnel, he was scaring me! LOL...I have some pictures from both of the previous visits, some appear to have obs in them, but i am not a professional and im not sure if they are true orbs.

The last time we went to Moonville was unevenful, ran into some kids that were camping out inside the tunnel and they were drunk, so that kind of put a damper on the experiance. Hope you enjoyed!

I also received an e-mail from Bruce P. in July 2008 regarding the Moonville Tunnel:

I just read that the Moonville Tunnel has been sealed off and is no longer accessible. I personally find this very hard to believe since there is no way to get heavy equipment to the tunnel short of dropping it from a helicopter. 2004 was when I was there, so I don't know for sure. It was a difficult trek to reach the tunnel, lots of jungle-thick woods and a narrow river that must be waded through (it's only about 2 feet deep during dry season). The main reason for this email is that I wanted to give you a warning. If you do decide to go and have a look, make sure that it is during a dry spell. The area is prone to flash-flooding, and the only thing you can honestly call a road nearby is often underwater during rainy periods. Due to the long hike, it's quite possible to get caught in a storm and find that you are unable to get back to civilization because the road has flooded. So be careful when you choose to go and take lots of bug spray and something to keep the ticks out of your hair. Also watch out for snakes, we saw several when we were there. I'm no expert on snakes, so I cannot say for sure, but I doubt they were poisonous. Can't say the same for the spiders though, there are brown recluses in there (even though they say those spiders can't be found in Ohio...I know, I have been bitten by one before). Take plenty of supplies, water, lights and batteries, etc because the place is rather isolated and do not go there alone. There are several sketchy points that must be climbed in order to reach the tunnel, and you could easily fall and get hurt.

I received an e-mail from Randy Brown in August 2008, with some information about the rumored closure of the Moonville Tunnel:

I visited Moonville today and it is not closed. In fact, it was kinda busy with two cars there on my first pass to the cemetery, and one getting there just as I was leaving. I took some pictures that I will post on soon.

I also received an e-mail about the Moonville Tunnel from Lisa B. in August 2008:

Myself and three friends visited Moonville last night (August 12, 2008), and I assure you it is not closed. We walked our normal path through the woods, no problem at all. When we got up to the tunnel, we took pics of the outside, all the way through ,all of the walls...just about everything you can think of, only we didn't have very good light so we did not go on top of the tunnel this time. Nothing really over the top happened, but a couple of things that we have not quite figured out yet: halfway through the tunnel, an almost ice cold "breeze" came through that we all felt. There were also unexplained sounds while we sat in the dark in the middle of the tunnel, almost like the sound the gravel makes when you walk through, but in single beats that kept getting closer (that's when I turned my light back on and ran out). But other than that, nothing else inside. On the trip back to the car, which we made a quick one, we heard these creepy loud noises. One sounded something like a howl, another in a lighter voice like a scream, but both repeated. Since the sounds were coming from above us and to the left, we hurried to the car because of other noises behind us. We headed that way in search of an explanation. We drove for quite a few miles, and there was nothing but woods and a few horse paths, so that ruled out someone messing with us. We also went to the cemetery and took some pics. Nothing happened up there either, but every time I go there I get a sad feeling. We plan to go back sometime next week to see if we hear the same noises, and try to figure out what went on last night. On a different note, last night was the first time I had been there for about a year, and there was about three times more grafitti in the tunnel than before. There was also red paint, I guess to look like blood all over the plaque inside. It's because of stupid people like that why we are not allowed inside more interesting places. I wish people would just be respectful. I will let you know how the trip next week goes...

For more information about Moonville, see the following pages:

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