The Moonville Tunnel
As the days slowly moved toward the weekend, I kept thinking about what it would be like to visit the geocache (GCJRR8) Moonville Tunnel, an abandoned train tunnel in southeastern Ohio, and find the cache left there.
One legend is that the ghost of a woman is said to walk along the tracks where she had been struck by the train and died. Apparently she is present when you catch the smell of lavender – this occurs even during the dead of winter.
Another legend tells of four different brakeman from the mid to late 1800’s losing their life near the Moonville Tunnel – one of which died from falling from a moving train due to “too free use of liquor”.
The last ghost story relates to a local from the area, around 1886, who enjoyed two favorite pastimes – tipping back the bottle and fighting. Funny how those two activities are intertwined. Apparently, Baldie Keeton had himself a snoutful of liquor and bear-hugged another patron in hopes of provoking a fight. He was told to get out of town “or else”. After some physical persuasion, he left the saloon and on his way home was jumped and murdered. For the past hundred years, visitors have seen Baldie standing on the ledge above the tunnel. He has been known to throw rocks and pebbles at those walking near the tunnel entrance.
While we didn’t witness any of the ghosts, we were discouraged by the other visitors to the tunnel, mainly a group of parents who brought along their preschool aged children to scamper about and scream as they raced around the tunnel like Comanches. I thought to myself, “of course … why wouldn’t you bring along 15 to 20 ankle-biters to a deserted train tunnel in the backwoods of southeastern Ohio?” Perhaps they had plans of leaving them there (there were a few that needed a good ass whippin’), but our presence was a deterrent.
At any rate, due to the constant threat of muggle activity, we decided not to look for the geocache. I had read in the cache notes that it had been muggled before, so I’d rather pass on a cache to avoid it being stolen than adding another find. (It’s not about the numbers, right?)
As we made our way back to the car, we were stopped by three college-aged girls who had heard about the tunnel and wanted directions. We asked if they were here for the geocache … they had never heard of geocaching. Well… that’s all it took for my wife and I to explain the concept and provide the website so they can learn more. During our convincing testimonial, they were very intrigued and asked many questions… they were genuinely interested! Yes!!! More people to participate in this great activity!
After they left, we took advantage of placing a very special Munzee tag I had prepared for the Moonville Tunnel. With my wife coming up with the shape, my daughter providing the vector art to create the tag, I cut and engraved the plastic Munzee tag as a special honor to the Moonville Tunnel. You won’t find this tag at the tunnel (poor GPS reception), but you will find it where parking is available. If you plan on a trip to the Moonville Tunnel, find the geocache and then scan the Munzee tag before you leave for your points. It’s the best of both worlds – Munzee and Geocaching! Hopefully, when you decide to visit, the preschoolers won’t be there for another field trip. The ghosts of Moonville had the right idea by remaining hidden … probably as traumatized as we were.