Saturday, September 9, 2023
Dark of Night Moonville Hike (Zaleski, Ohio)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
You must sign up for the hike at: email@example.com or private message me here on FB. EVERYONE TAKING THE HIKE MUST SIGN A WAIVER. Complete the Hike Waiver form and bring it to the hike.
You can visit Moonville-It is along the Vinton County Rail Trail which is tucked into Zaleski State Forest. It is only about a forty-minute drive from Old Man’s Cave. The main road is paved, but the last mile is a raggedy dirt and gravel and, in some places, only wide enough for one car. There are a couple areas that run along a high cliff edge along Raccoon Creek. And during the winter, at times, the icy or snow-covered road can be impassable for vehicles. When you get to Moonville, there is a small parking area and you can see the tunnel across the bridge that was once a train trestle. It is only a short hike to the tunnel. A longer hike can be taken to Kings Station Tunnel.
There was once a small mining community along the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad tracks called Moonville, taking its name from the breathtaking way Earth’s only natural satellite showed itself above the tunnel in its many phases.
Although there were only a few homes here, mainly the Ferguson and Coe families (both had large families), people from neighboring towns like Hope Furnace, Hope Furnace Station, Ingham Station, Zaleski, and even Luhrig near Athens used the straight path of the train tracks cut through the steep hills. During the 1800s, logging companies, iron furnaces, and coal mining operations popped up in the region. When companies laid-off workers in one area, they walked or hopped a train to commute to the other communities offering jobs along the railway. Between a couple of properties in Moonville, the railroad company built two trestles over the winding Raccoon Creek and gouged a tunnel through one particularly high hill. When the railway came and the community grew, the trestle, tunnel, tracks, and trains became the perfect mix for deaths-(I have found over 21 researched through newspapers and local sources). And after that, ghosts.
What happened to Moonville Tunnel? Although the coal mining industry boomed from the 1850s to the early 1900s, it began to decline in the early 1920s leaving people without work. Many families moved away, abandoned the towns, and their homes eventually turned to ruin.
Moonville February 2022
Or come take a hike and ghost hunt with me along the old trails of Appalachia, like those in Moonville, with ghost stories and legends attached.
A couple Haunted Hikes: Occasionally the roar of wheels to rail and the mournful cry of a train horn fill the air on the old Baltimore and Ohio tracks between Zaleski and Athens, Ohio. Yet, locomotives have not run the nearby rails in over thirty years. Trainmen dreaded taking the late night runs through this isolated section because the ghost of one of their own, engineer Theodore Lawhead, was killed here when his train collided with another near this tunnel on a cold November night in 1880. After, newspapers reported his ghost was seen floating down the embankment dressed in white with a lantern in hand and eyes glowing red. Perhaps you will see and hear these ghosts too during a special night hike with author Jannette Quackenbush on a night with a full moon. Find out more here-
A video I took many years ago that was on "My Ghost Story" when few people ventured because you had to hike through Forestry to get there or cross the risky waters of Raccoon Creek. And no, no other people were around. . .
The Moonville Rail Trail is maintained by Moonville Rail Trail Association, established in April of 2001 in order to build and maintain the muscle-powered Moonville Rail Trail system.
Zaleski State Forest
Moonville Rail Trail
...and much more