Legends & Lore – Moonville Tunnel

In Legends and Lore we feature interesting historical and mythological tidbits associated with Ravenwood Castle. This week’s Legends and Lore is written by our Assistant Innkeeper, Abby Kutscher.

Is the castle haunted? This is a question we get asked quite a bit here at Ravenwood. And the answer – we think – is no. Perhaps we’ll learn differently this September when noted Ghost Hunter Grant Wilson joins us for a weekend!

Though the castle itself may not be haunted, Ravenwood can boast to being located near one of Ohio’s top haunting sites – the Moonville Tunnel!

Just about a thirty minute drive from the castle in the wild woods of Vinton County lays the abandoned Moonville Tunnel. The tunnel was part of a railroad that was constructed in 1856 to transport coal through southeastern Ohio. The town of Moonville was populated almost entirely by coalminers who worked at the nearby Hope Furnace. This iron furnace, rumored to be haunted as well, was used to make weapons for the Civil War. Sadly, by the early 1900s modern advances in coalmining had made the town all but obsolete. Now taken over by the elements, Moonville no longer exists and the railway tracks have been almost entirely removed. But you can still visit the old Moonville Cemetery and of course the tunnel. That is, as long as you aren’t afraid of ghosts!

So who haunts the now vacant Moonville Tunnel?

According to local legend, the ghost is that of a railroad worker who was crushed by an oncoming train in the spring of 1859. The newspaper article from the McArthur Democrat dated March 31, 1859 reads “A brakesman. . .was fatally injured, when the wheels passing over and grinding to a shapeless mass the greater part of one of his legs.” Talk about graphic!

Most who claim to have sighted the ghost of Moonville Tunnel say that he carries a lantern and is sometimes seen as a hovering orb of light. At least four other people were reported to have been killed at Moonville Tunnel as well, although the details vary. Some legends claim that Moonville was struck by a plague and quarantined, and that the ghosts are of those killed by the epidemic. Others state that the ghost is that of a pregnant woman struck by a train, and still others claim that it was an 8 foot tall man who was struck! However, none of these legends are quite as popular as that of the railway worker.

So if you are looking for something spooky, we suggest taking a trip out to the Moonville Tunnel. We’d love to hear all about any supernatural encounters you may have!

Jim Reed

Jim Reed is a lifelong gamer who started with the original red box Dungeons & Dragons. After spending 20 years in the corporate world, he decided it was high time that work be fun and struck out on his own. Jim now owns and operates Ravenwood Castle, and spends his days ensuring his guests have as much fun as he does.