The Paranormal Activity of the Moonville Tunnel

"The ghost of Moonville, after an absence of one year, has returned and is again at its old pranks, haunting B&O S-W freight trains and their crews."
~Chillicothe Gazette - February 17, 1895~

The Moonville Tunnel located in the Southeastern region of the Brown Township in Vinton County, Ohio is associated with many different types of paranormal activity. Moonville is now considered to be a ghost town according to many. In its most basic sense, a town described as such is described in this manner because it is abandoned. In the case of Moonville, it means more than that. Many paranormal investigators and others have described various types of activity that seems to have no scientific explanation. One of the most active locations in the town is the popular Moonville Tunnel. Throughout this guide on haunted places to go, you will be introduced to the history of this landmark and will learn basic facts pertaining to the Moonville ghost.

Moonville History

In the year of 1856, the owner of the railway company known as the “Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad” or “M&C” started experiencing financial complications. However, he had the goal of creating the railroad through the Southeastern region of Ohio so that he could reach the City of Cincinnati. While struggling to conserve the money that he had left for the project, he received an offer from a man whose name was Samuel Coe. Coe had a large amount of property. However, because of the amount of property that he had, he also had a large need to remove the natural clay and coal pieces on the property. Samuel Coe contacted the railroad company’s owner, William Cutler, and offered him a deal of being able to construct his railroad on his property without financial compensation. However, the trains that ran through the property would have to haul the coal and clay off of the property regularly – free of charge. Given William Cutler’s financial situation, he accepted Coe’s offer.

As the trains started to run through Coe’s property, many individuals discovered that the region had a large assortment of rich coal mines. As more and more of these mines were discovered, more individuals moved to the region. Eventually, it would become known as the Town of Moonville. While there are no concrete facts pertaining to the origin of the name of Moonville, it is believed that it was named after a man that owned a store in the region. While there seemed to be a lot of opportunity in the town, the highest the population ever reached was just a little over one hundred people and this peak was reached during the 1870s. The main reason it remained small was because it was located in the middle of a densely wooded region. In addition to this, it was quite a distance from the larger towns in the immediate region.

The closest towns to Moonville were called “Hope” and “Mineral”. Individuals that wanted to access the goods, services, and opportunities in these larger towns had to do so by walking the tracks associated with the railroad. Not only did the individuals have to watch carefully as they walked down the tracks, they also had to be careful of the trestles near the tracks. Furthermore, they had to walk through the Moonville Tunnel. The Moonville Tunnel was considered by many to be extremely long – especially considering that when they walked through the tunnel, they could come in direct contact with a locomotive. Many individuals lost their lives when traveling through the Moonville Tunnel. It is because of these deaths that many believe in the Moonville ghost. The last individual that died in or near the Moonville Tunnel was a girl ten years of age. A CSX train hit her on the dangerous trestle that was located immediately in front of the Moonville Tunnel. The residents were clear from the town by the year of 1947. By the 1960s, the only landmarks that remained in Moonville were the tunnel and the local cemetery.

Paranormal Activity

While many refer to the paranormal activity in the Moonville Tunnel as the “Moonville Ghost”, most agree that there is more than one spirit haunting the landmark. The stories of spirits and ghosts around the haunted tunnel go as far back as the 1890s. The following highlights the most popular Moonville ghost stories associated with this isolated landmark:

One of the most popular Moonville ghost stories surrounds a spirit that many refer to as the “Headless Conductor”. Many individuals that claim that they have seen this Moonville Tunnel ghost claim that he is wearing an old fashioned railway uniform and carrying a lighted lantern. However, he appears to be completely headless. There are various stories surrounding this particular spirit. One story claims it is a spirit of a conductor that fell from the train and died. Others believe it is an individual that was killed while working on the train vindictively by another engineer.

Many individuals have witnessed a spirit that appears to be a tall colored man by the name of Rastus Dexter. This man was a miner during the 1920s that enjoyed relaxing after work with a bottle of moonshine and a good poker game. According to those that have studied this story, it is believed that as he walked through the Moonville Tunnel late one night, he came in contact with a train. Despite his efforts to alert the train to his presence using a lit lantern, he was hit and died immediately.

Many Moonville ghost stories surround a beautiful young lady dressed in white. In the year of 1905 there are reports of a woman that was involved in an accident on the trestle near the haunted tunnel. Individuals that have witnesses this Moonville ghost believe that it is the spirit of that woman.

Many individuals have observed small lights and the sounds of footsteps when visiting the Moonville Tunnel. In some instances, the lights look like small flames such as those that would be in an old lantern or on a small candle. The footsteps that have been heard have been very distinctive. In some reports, the steps are heard echoing within the tunnel. In other instances, they are heard on the hill near the tunnel or on the path leading to and from the tunnel.

If you enjoy learning about haunted places to go and have an interest in haunted roads, haunted paths or haunted tunnels, you should consider visiting the Moonville Tunnel in Ohio. There are many different Moonville ghost stories associated with this highly distinctive landmark. Many paranormal investigators have been able to capture unusual images in photographs and video recordings. In some instances, distinctive EVPs and other sounds have been recorded. While visiting the Moonville Tunnel, be sure to explore the remains of the ghost town of Moonville. It is likely that you, too, will come out with your own Moonville ghost stories.

Moonville Tunnel is located in the Zaleski State Forest
near the village of Zaleski in Vinton County, Ohio.

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