Friday, April 5, 2019

The Ghost of Moonville Tunnel

Moonville Tunnel

Moonville was a small coalmining town in the 1870s and 80s. Located in Southeastern Ohio, it was a railway stop along the Marietta-Cincinnati line.

Train engineers for over a century hated traveling through this lonely section along their route. The town at its peak only had one hundred residents, and the tracks were pitch dark and narrow.

These engineers had to keep a lookout for cows and deer that strayed onto the tracks as well as fallen trees.

But what they dreaded most was a large tunnel they had to go through to reach the town.

On a cold November night in 1880 an engineer, Theodore Lawhead was heading into this tunnel’s pitch-blackness when he spotted a light . . .

A newspaper story about the crash.
Within seconds he realized this light was headed straight for his train. The dispatcher had neglected to tell him another train was on the track. The two trains crashed head-on killing Lawhead and his fireman, Charles Krick instantly.

Today, no one would remember this tragedy except for the fact there has been a series of odd sightings for over a century in this tunnel.

In February of 1895, the Chillicothe Gazette published the following:

1895 Newspaper report about
Lawhead haunting.
“The Ghost of Moonville, after an absence of one year, has returned and is again at its odd pranks, haunting B&O S-W freight trains and their crews.

Monday night the ghost appeared just east of the cut, which is one-half mile the other side of Moonville. It showed up in front of fast freight No. 99 westbound, which is due at Moonville at 8:50 p.m. 

The Train was hauled by engine 226, in the charge of Engineer William Washburn. The conductor was Mr. Charles Bazler.

The ghost was attired in a pure white robe, and a carried a lantern. It had a flowing white beard, it eyes glistened like balls of fire, and surrounding it was a halo of twinkling stars. As the train approached the lantern was swung across the tracks . . .”

Since there have been countless sightings of this ghost at the end of this tunnel.

Witnesses today report seeing this apparition as well as a lantern swinging back and forth. Many have also felt a chill surround them at the end of this tunnel.

Photos have captured this phenomenon. Foggy mists have shown up as well as a figure, walking across the tunnel, wearing an engineer’s cap.

So is Theodore Lawhead trying to prevent another accident like the one that took his life? Some believe this is why his ghost lingers.

Tunnel with signal installed.
In the 1980s many train engineers, upon entering the tunnel, and seeing this light waving frantically hit their emergency brakes—the railroad in response to this dangerous situation installed a signal.

Crews were told they were only to heed this signal light and no others.

The freight trains stopped running in this area in 1988. The tracks were removed shortly after this. Today all that is left in Moonsille is a cemetery and the large railroad tunnel.

This, however, has not stopped the sightings of Lawhead’s ghost. Hikers, horseback riders and bicyclists all use this old train bed—and the sightings continue in this old tunnel.

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