Monday, September 4, 2023

The Blood Bowl

I found out about this story from a post by Aaron Shelby to the Facebook group Ghost Towns and Creepy Abandoned Places. He didn't include many details, other than that the tunnel is haunted, you can hear screams at night, and a skateboarder allegedly died here. So, I did a little research to find a few more details:

Also known as the Gates of Hell, the Blood Bowl is a drainage tunnel under High Street for a stream which runs from Glen Echo Park to the Olentangy River. It is located behind a Tim Hortons at 2754 N. High Street in Columbus, Ohio. From what I can gather, it is called the Blood Bowl because it is popular with skateboarders, and there have likely been many nasty spills due to the steep concrees walls. The urban legends tell a different story, in which a skateboarder died here. In one verison of the story, a skateboarder was murdered either outside the tunnel or somewhere inside the tunnel. In another version, a skateboarder attempted to skate the tunnel in the dark and didn't make it. The Gates of Hell moniker likely comes from large metal structure which resembles gates and is meant to keep large debris out of the tunnel.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Moonville, revisited

Moonville, Ohio, is one of those places I could visit repeatedly and never get bored. My first visit here was on a Geocaching trip, where I retrieved both the tunnel and the cemetery caches. Unfortunately, I don't think I have any photos from that trip, but my wife, Kim, along with a good friend, Jon, both got some great pictures on our latest trip on September 7, 2013. This entry is a bit of an update to the previous Moonville entry, and contains information from the defunct Geocities page as well as other sources, listed below.


In the late 1850's the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad (M&C RAILROAD) was constantly striving to the west to reach the Cincinnati Area. The owner at the time was looking for ways to keep himself out of debt, so he made a deal with a man by the name of Samuel Coe. He allowed the M&C RAILROAD to be built through his property, he did this so he could use the train to haul out coal and clay that was on his property. As the railroad was constructed Coe began opening mines on his property, and soon people came to the area searching for work. This is how the small town of MOONVILLE began.1

Deep in the backwoods of Vinton County stands the Moonville Tunnel, a relic from an era long gone. The town it is named for was born when the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad was built through the coal- and iron-rich woods of southeastern Ohio in 1856. At its peak in the 1870s, the town boasted a population of more than 100--almost exclusively miners and their families. There was a row of houses along the railroad tracks, a sawmill just down Raccoon Creek, a general store, and a saloon. In its early days the residents of Moonville worked in the Hope Furnace nearby, but later on they turned almost exclusively to mining coal underground. The coal was then used in the many iron furnaces in the vicinity, usually the one at Hope, where weapons and artillery for the Union Army were made during the Civil War. 2


There are at least two major ghost stories related to the Moonville tunnel:

The ghost of the Moonville Tunnel is one of those legends that's based on historical fact but has been distorted by telling and retelling over the years. The major story is that someone--an engineer, a conductor, a brakeman, a signalman?--was crushed under the wheels of the train that used to go through the place. Apart from that basic fact, things get hazy. Was he drunk? Was he stationed in Moonville or was he a brakeman on the train? Was he an eight-foot-tall black guy named Rastus Dexter? Some sources say he was playing cards with other guys. It's been said that he was a conductor murdered by a vengeful engineer who asked him to inspect underneath the train and then started it up. One source even said that he was trying to get the train to stop because Moonville was in the grip of a plague and was running low on supplies. His death was the end of Moonville. This seems a little too romantic, especially since the actual newspaper article from the McArthur Democrat on March 31, 1859 tells a much more mundane story: "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." 2

The other story is reportedly about a woman:

As for stories about the woman, there are documented cases where a woman was killed about a mile from the tunnel while walking the tracks in 1886. and though this ghost story is not as popular as the headless ghost from the tunnel, a park ranger did say that people have talked of a ghost that resembled a woman in a blue'ish night gown wandering around the area of the tracks.1

Other witnesses have claimed they have heard screams coming from inside the tunnel and around the area of the train tracks. many of the railroad engineers back in the early 20's reported stories of seeing the ghost waving his lantern and then disappearing.1


I know in the past I have read reports of the cemetery being haunted as well, but I currently cannot find any of those sources. But just because I cannot find any stories does not mean it wasn't an interesting place to visit.

One cool thing was that, upon bumping into my friend Jon and telling him we were going here, he stated that he had family that was purportedly buried there. We found a surviving headstone for the Stilwells, and, upon research, he discovered that William Stilwell was his great, great, great grandfather.

Another interesting thing we discovered were coins placed on some of the headstones. One had a penny, another had a quarter. I had never seen this before, and Jon postulated that it may have something to do with Charon, the ferryman of Hades according to Greek mythology. According to legend, he required payment of one coin to ferry a loved one's soul across the River Styx, which separated the living from the dead.

Another reason for coins on headstones is military tradition, which dates back to Roman times. In the US, a penny means that you knew the person, while a nickel means that you trained with them. A dime means that they were a friend in the another platoon within the same company. A quarter means that they were in the same outfit, or you were with them when they died.

The final reason is related to a family feud between the Black Donnellys and another family. According to legend, the Donnelly’s would grant a wish for anyone that leaves a penny on the grave of a Donnelly family member killed in the massacre by the other family. That superstition has since expanded to state that you can leave a penny on the headstone of a family member to either grant you a wish, or to watch over you and bring you good luck.


Our first stop on this trip was actually Ferguson Cemetery. We were looking for Moonville Cemetery when we came across a sign at the side of the road that simply said Cemetery with an arrow. I didn't recall having to hike to get to the Moonville Cemetery the last time we were here, but we decided that maybe there was an alternate way to get there. We parked off the side of the road and hiked what little was left of the trail to the cemetery. There were only a couple of small grave markers still there. If it hadn't been for the sign, we probably would have walked right past the cemetery.


If you are like me and you would like to see Moonville for yourself, here is how to get there..

Rt. 33 runs east and west from Columbus to Athens Ohio..
Nelsonville is a small town just west of Athens, it also is home to my old school Hocking College..
If you drive through Nelsonville you will see a road called Rt. 278
there will be signs pointing to LAKE HOPE STATE PARK.. stay on 278 and follow it past
Lake Hope, The first road on your left will be called WHEELABOUT ROAD.. turn onto this road and stay on it, it will turn into a gravel path, and just keep following it into the woods
and you will eventually come to a one lane bridge, immediately after the bridge, the old train tracks path will actually cross the road, park your car and get out and follow the tracks to the LEFT,, you will come to the creek, cross the creek, and the tunnel is about 100 yards up.. To find the cemetery stay on the gravel path and go past the tracks, about (20 yards) you will see another gravel road to the RIGHT,, it curves around and takes you to the cemetery...

1 from, which was mentioned in the earlier Moonville post. Unfortunately, Geocities is long gone, but the Wayback Machine saves us again.

2 from Forgotten Ohio.

There are plenty of other great sites out there with information on Moonville and its ghost(s). A great deal of information is provided here, specifically the section titled Tragic History.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Time to revisit some stories? Entries wanted!

Now that James A. Sheets' old Ghosts of Ohio site from Greenapple has been imported, I would like to solicit entries from my readers. You can email entries to me at Please let me know if you'd like to remain anonymous, or if you'd like to become a regular author on the site. Also, while name and email address are not required, they would be appreciated, even if you wish your entry to remain anonymous. This way we can discuss the potential entries and I can gather more information, if needed, before posting them.

In the meantime, I think it might be time to revisit some of the entries already posted, as there are plenty of other sources of information to fill in some details that might have been missed on the original entries. Tomorrow, I'll begin by revisiting Moonville. It's such a beautiful area, and one which is easy to visit yourself.

Again, please submit your entries via email address listed above.

Edit to add: In the meantime, after tomorrow's post, posting frequency will likely slow down a bit. My primary goal was to capture all the stories James A. Sheets had on his old site, and that has now been accomplished.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Legend Of Tinkers Hollow

As told by William Hughes.

One of the most popular topics on the Ghost Of Ohio discussion board is Ashtabula County's Tinkers Hollow. Every time Sylvester Tinker hears how he killed his wife and hid her in the corn field, I'm sure he wishes he were a ghost. But guess what? Not true! It's all nothing but an urban legend. Although the Tinker family were ingenious inventors in the iron field, they were by no means killers!

Silas Tinker came to Conneaut, Ohio in 1806 along with his sons, William, Julias, and Sylvester. They invented a process for making some of the strongest iron in Ohio history. They also manufactured tools, saws, stoves, and the first horse drawn mowing machine. Sylvester built the first foundry in Conneaut in 1833, then updated it in 1835 to work with cast iron. It is years after the brothers left town that the true haunting begins.

It seems that an old hermit took to living in the old ruins of the abandoned foundry. As the story goes, he was struck by lightning and lived through the experience, although one of his legs was badly injured. This forced him to drag his one leg behind him as he walked about. After many year the old hermit just seemed to have vanished and was seen no more, but people all claimed that if you sat under the Tinker Hollow Bridge long enough you would hear him returning home, with his donkey dragging his leg behind him. At one point the legend became so popular that Conneaut News Herald reporter Pat Williams camped under the bridge. For two nights he and the two other men he had brought along as witnesses saw nothing. The following weekend Pat and his companions returned to the bridge on a foggy, rainy night. Shortly after midnight the men heard the sound of someone making their way across the bridge. It sounded like the steps of man leading a horse with the man dragging his leg as he walked. The three men rushed to the top of the bridge with their cameras in hand to record the event, but all they saw was the rain soaked delapadated old bridge. What ever had made the sounds had vanished into thin air.

Research for this story done by Linda Siders, Fred Siders, and William Hughes.

Resource information provided by, The Ashtabula Historical Society, the Conneaut News Herald. The North Eastern Ohio Ghost Research Team (NEOGRT) would like to give a special thank you to the the wonderful staff of the Conneaut Public Library, who opened their doors for us to access the histories on Tinker Hollow.

Anyone wishing to reach NEOGRT may do so at the following e-mail addresses:

This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets' site.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Ashtabula Train Wreck

Submitted by William Hughes

This was a Christmas time disaster that took place in Ashtabula Ohio on the old Lake Shore Line.

It was a cold snowy day as the Pacific Express rolled in Ashtabula. The temperature was frigid and visibility was zero. Nothing could prepare the passengers for what was about to happen on December 29th, 1876. The time was 7:30 PM as the engineer brought the train across the Ashtabula Bridge. As the engine made it across the bridge, the engineer heard a loud crack and the bridge began to shake. He throttled the engine to full and it shot ahead jumping off the tracks and separating it from the rest of the train. The trailing cars plunged off of the bridge 100 feet to the freezing river below. The train cars made of fragile wood splintered as the crashed on top of each other. What made matters worse was as it was winter the passenger cars had their pot belly stoves running for heat. The red hot coals spilled onto the wooden wreckage igniting the the smashed cars. Within moments the entire wreck was engulfed in a colossal inferno.

Over 85 people perished in the flaming wreck that night. Many were so badly burnt they could not be recognized. To make matter worse many of the passengers had signed for their tickets by simply making an X. This made identification impossible. The railways records indicated that there were anywhere from 180 to 250 souls on board, but the grim facts were, 85 dead, 24 of who were identified. As Ohio watched in shock, the dead were taken to Chestnut Grove Cemetery for burial. A monument has been erected there. Its inscription reads:


The grave site as well as the location of the crash on the bridge are believed to be haunted to this day.

Myself and members of my NEOGRT Team have been to both sites. There we have detected Cold Spots, EVP, and a general feeling of uneasiness at both sites.

William and his group are still in the process of investigating this site. They plan on visiting it again as soon as the weather breaks. The investigation is going to be an overnight stay at the crash site. Any wishing to join them in this venture can do so by contacting William or one of his team at:

Linda & Fred:

NEOGRT (William, Micky, Fred, Linda, Stacy, Chris, and Michell)
Story by William Hughes
Research Materials: Henderson Memorial Library, Train Wreck by, Robert C. Reed. Ships And Men Of The Great Lakes by, Dwight Boyer.

I would personally like to thank Micky and NEOGRT for believing in me to make this research dream come true.

William Hughes

This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets' site.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Legend Of Mary Jane

Name withheld by request.

There is an old cemetery in Richland county just south of Mansfield that is said to be haunted by the spirit of Mary Jane. The cemetery is in an old forest back in the middle of no where, and has one giant tree in the middle of it . The tree in the cemetery is a pine tree, and it is the only pine tree in that whole area of the forest. It is said to have grown right through Mary Jane's grave. The tree is said be one of three or four like it in the country, and the only places they are found is supposedly the resting places of witches. As legend has it, any one who disturbs the tree or the grave itself will die. There is a story told of three young men who urinated on the tree while one stayed behind in the car. Later in a terrible car accident on the way home the three that urinated on the tree died, but the one that didn't walked away from the accident basically unharmed.

This one is pretty straight forward. It also sounds strangely familiar to the Dark Angel tale, or least the part about despoiling the grave resulting in a tragic ending for the wrong doers. Tales like this one could be based more urban legend than fact. Once again the name Mary has been attached to this haunting. Mary seems a very popular name for ghost sin the Buckeye state, along with Cry Baby Bridges. If anyone has more information on this one or a picture of the sight, I would love to have it. I can be contacted at[Editor's note: That email is long defunct. Email me at instead of the original author.]

This post, including photos and commentary, originally appeared on on James A Sheets' site.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Waynesville House

Name withheld by request.

This happened in the mid -Sixties I believe, and it happened to our family. We moved to a rural stately farmhouse in Waynesville, Ohio. The house was built around the Civil War days, and had been added onto, but any way I was about 11 yrs old, the house had many rooms, attics etc. and about 3 fireplaces.. upstairs next to my bedroom was a playroom, a very large room with side attics on both sides of the room. The only way into the playroom was through my bedroom, which I shared with my sister. I would close the playroom door, because frankly the room gave me the creeps, even though it was decorated very nicely, but every time that I would enter the bedroom the play room door would be wide open. On many a night we would wake up and the door would be wide open. We started blocking the playroom door, like I said no one wanted to go in there.

My father said we were making it up, until one evening, actually the middle of the night I woke up to a heavy and constricting feeling. I remember screaming, as the heavy oak door from the playroom was on top of my sister and I. Well my parents just could not believe how that door (taken from its hinges) made its way on top of us. From then on other things started to happen, noises came from the attic surrounding the playroom. Sometimes it sounded like a small child crying very softly and at that point we started to sleep downstairs. When my father opened the little doors that had been bolted shut to the side attics, he found a few toys and a couple of broken dolls, but more interesting was an old passageway that lead down into a false chimney of some sort. It was a very odd house , oddly built inside, doors everywhere, some sealed and so on.

One night while sleeping downstairs, I thought that I heard piano music, we had no piano. We never seemed to get a good nights rest. My mother kept seeing what she said was someone playing with a flashlight. We finally moved into town (Waynesville). The kids we met there did not think that what we told them was at all unusual, everyone had a ghostly experience in Waynesville. After living there a couple of years we moved to a much less Ghostly town.

The author also had a different encounter when he was younger in Hillsboro, Ohio that is worth mentioning. Here it is in his own words.

Maybe ghosts or spirits haunt certain people, or maybe certain people attract spirits, but I have had my share of it. This is my first ghostly experience. It happened when I was around nine yrs. old. We were living temporarily in my mothers childhood home, it was really old and very damp and creaky. It had originally been an old Hotel in the late 1800's in Hillsboro, Ohio. The house needed to be torn down, but like I said it was just temporary, my grandmother had moved many years before and no one had lived there for some time. There were a number of rooms we kids could have slept in but we decided to double up. The upstairs bedrooms were so dark and there were mice in the attic, so right from the start I heard noises at night like some one banging on the wall next to me. My father said it was from a tree, but I looked the next day and there was no tree was near the house. Every night I would anticipate a noise of some kind, I took to sleeping with the pillow over my head.

Then one night I heard my name called I sat up and looked around, but my sister was asleep and I could hear my parents snoring in the next room. Several nights later, same thing happened, I heard my name called, and no one was there. I fell back on my pillow closed my eyes. I got that strange feeling like someone was watching me, so I opened my eyes. To my dismay standing right over my face and above me was the meanest looking old woman with gray scraggly hair. Her face had a green cast to it, and she appeared to be very angry at me. I swear she said get out, but this was coming from inside my head. No one but me saw her. I let out a big scream and ran into my parents bedroom. My father was very annoyed and told me that I was dreaming.

The next day my mother said describe this old lady, so I did. After a few moments she said that she used to see this old woman when she was very little, and in the same part of the house. She always thought that it had just been a bad dream, but I knew I was not dreaming!

The author of this tale may be correct in that some people seem to natural magnets to hauntings, ghosts, etc. Another view is that they are what provides energy for such phenomena to manifest physically. Both tales are chilling, but the face of an old haggard woman glaring down at you in bed gets my vote for the one I would rather not have happen to me. Also, how many of you have heard someone wisper your name in the night?

This post, including commentary, originally appeared on James A. Sheets' site.