Moonville Tunnel Ghosts - Moonville Brakeman


The Legend of the Moonville BrakemanNo trains have passed through the towns of Hope, Moonville or Ingham for well over twenty years. However,  nearly hidden behind years of thick forest growth, the gravelly foundation of the old Cincinnati and Marietta Railroad tracks still run noiselessly through this section of southeastern Ohio. But the locals here in Vinton County say the railway tracks aren't the only remnants of the mining and railway days still hanging around.

In fact,  stories tell of a railway brakeman that haps by the old Moonville Tunnel in the dark of night. There are stories recounting a young brakeman, drunk and careless, who fell from a train. Countless witnesses state they have seen a man carrying a lantern trudging along the tracks and through the tunnel. Some have even taken pictures at the tunnel when no one is around, only to find the image of a man standing at the far end when they process the images.

Brakeman on Train

The brakeman was usually a younger man between the ages of 16 and twenty-five. He had a dangerous job-assisting with braking the cars of the train. Many times, he had to ride atop more than one car to apply the brakes to the moving train, especially on the twists and turns, uphills and downhills of southeastern Ohio. His tasks also included lining up switches and signaling train operators.

Four Moonville Brakeman

There are at least four brakemen killed on the railway near Moonvlle Tunnel:


1859 Unknown Brakeman

Brakeman on the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad fell from the cars and was fatally injured. “ . . . Due to “too free use of liquor . . .”(McArthur Democrat, March 31, 1859)


"A brakesman on the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad fell from the cars near Cincinnati Furnace, on last Tuesday March 29, 1859 and was fatally injured, when the wheels passing over and grinding to a shapeless mass the greater part of one of his legs. He was taken on the train to Hamden and Doctors Wolf and Rannells sent for to perform amputation, but the prostration of the vital energies was too great to attempt it. The man is probably dead ere this. The accident resulted from a too free use of liquor."

Moonville Ghost

1873 McDevitt

A brakeman of the accommodation named McDevitt was caught between two colliding platforms and had both legs and one arm horribly mangled. . . McDevitt survived his injuries only a short time. The deceased we learn was about 21 years of age, and leaves a widowed mother . . . (Athens Messenger, July 17, 1873)

1876 - Michael Malborough and brother, Thomas

Michael Molboro is killed on the Marietta and Cincinnati Line. Eight years later his brother, Thomas, a brakeman is killed on the same track. (Vinton Record, 14 February 1884 via hidden ohio map and guide)


Moonville Tunnel

Moonville Tunnel Access:

Moonville Tunnel Access: There is now a bridge crossing from a parking area to the tunnel located here: (39.308458, -82.324539). Simply cross the steel bridge and continue up the hill. It will be on the left.

For a larger view of the map, please click on the + at the bottom right corner.