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One of the most haunted places in Athens is claimed to be Moonville Tunnel. It used to be a train tunnel back in the 1800's when the town of Moonville was thriving as a coal mining community. Since it's start 200 years ago, four people have died at the tracks of Moonville Tunnel.
In 1859, a brakeman fell from atop of the freight train and was run over by the sharp, crushing wheels. His ghost is said to haunt Moonville Tunnel. One witness reported it to the Chillicothe Gazette in February of 1895: "The ghost, attired in a pure white robe, carried a lantern. It had a flowing white beard, its eyes glistened like balls of fire and surrounding it was a halo of twinkling stars. When the train stopped, the ghost stepped off the track and disappeared into the rocks nearby." (Forgotten Ohio)
A century later, the ghost of the brakeman was at it again: "A 1993 Athens Messenger story told the story of David, an OU student who went to Moonville to swim in Raccoon Creek. On their way back through the tunnel they saw a light halfway down it, and split into two groups, since they had beer and half two of the four of them were underage. The other two headed for the light, then came running back out of the tunnel, screaming, "There's no one carrying the light!" David went to check it out for himself. "He wasn't kidding," he reported. "It was just a swinging light with no one holding it. I hightailed it back to the car. I haven't been out there since."
The second known ghost is that of a girl who got caught on the tressle by a train while she was allegedly going to see her lover. The third reported death (and ghost) was an 18 year old coal miner who died in an explosion. The last person to die at Moonville was a boy waiting for a train to pass. The train split in two and he stepped out in front of the second half without looking.
Ghosts have been sighted at Moonville Tunnel since that first tragedy in 1859. Other sightings have also been reported at Moonville Cemetery.
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