Moonville is an abandoned town in Vinton County, Ohio's Brown Township, in the southeast of the country.
Except for a few foundations, a cemetery, and an abandoned railroad tunnel that has inspired several ghost stories, nothing remains of this old mining town.
Moonville - a haunted town
There are various ghost stories associated with the Moonville Tunnel that scare visitors to this day. The legends of the Moonville Tunnel are about four spirits: the engineer, the lavender lady, the brakeman, and the bully.
1. The Engineer
After Theodore Lawhead's train crashed head-on with an approaching train in the 1880s, the ghost of the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad company engineer began to haunt the tracks. Visitors have reported seeing a ghostly figure holding a lantern while walking beside the railroad and into the tunnel.
2. The Lavender Lady
Visitors have reported seeing a thin, elderly woman wandering alongside the route near the Moonville Tunnel. After a little while, she disappears and the air is filled with the fragrance of lavender. Mary Shea, who was murdered on the rails at the end of the tunnel, is thought to be the ghost.
3. The Brakeman
The Brakeman is thought to be the spirit of an ”intoxicated” young man working as a brakeman on a train. One night after drinking too much alcohol, the young man fell asleep on the railroad tracks.
4. The Bully
The town bully was a local farmer who picked on everyone who was less powerful than himself. He was kicked out of a Zaleski tavern one night and never returned home. A few days later, they discovered his lifeless corpse. The majority of people think he was killed, although his murderer was never found. Now his enraged spirit tosses stones from the top of the tunnel at anyone passing underneath.
The Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad pushed across southeastern Ohio to reach Cincinnati in the mid-1800s.
The towns of Zaleski, Hope Furnace, Hope Furnace Station, Ingham Station, and Kings Station were located along its course and in more isolated sections. A small community, made up primarily of the Coe and Ferguson families, was at the center of these small coal mining villages.
It was known as Moonville. Nearby, the train company constructed two trestles over Raccoon Creek and a tunnel named Moonville Tunnel over a steep hill.
Walking the rails was very risky, made much more so by the trestles and tunnel. One trestle crossed Raccoon Creek fewer than 50 yards from the tunnel's entrance. Over 21 persons were murdered on or near the railroads in this area. A 13-year-old girl reportedly died in 1978 after falling off the trestle as a train passed over it.
The coal mines gradually began to be used up and shut down by the turn of the century. The town had already been abandoned by the time the final family left in 1947.
The tunnel, Moonville Cemetery, and foundation stones discovered close to the rails were the only things left standing at the site by the 1960s after all the houses had been demolished.
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