Saturday, November 12, 2011

Flinderation Tunnel

Flinderation Tunnel from Facebook

There's an old, out-of-commission railroad line that passes beneath the Flinderation Tunnel near Salem, West Virginia. Officially known as the Brandy Gap Tunnel, it's located just off Flinderation Road and hence its local moniker. The 1,086' long tube was built in the 1850s as part of a main line of the B&O/CSX system.

It's sited about an hour away from the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, and in fact they were featured together on the same Ghost Hunters episode in 2009. The asylum is well known as one of West Virginia's hottest paranormal spots. Flinderation's claim to spooked out fame begins with a three-man track gang working in the tunnel, sometime in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century.

While the gandy dancers were doing their thing, a train roared through the narrow tunnel, its engineer unaware that there was any work going on inside. One man managed to escape the speeding train, but the other pair were mangled and killed by the Iron Horse.

The train itself derailed, and there are conflicting tales as to why. One story says it was because the track work wasn't completed; another says that it tipped off the tracks while dragging a worker's body under its wheels. No one has found any published verification of the train wreck story, but it was long ago and far from any large towns. Beside, a train derailment and a couple of railroaders accidentally shuffling off this mortal coil wouldn't have been big news during that era.

Another tale equally as gruesome claims that the tunnel was a regular gathering point of the KKK in the early 1900s. Not only did the klansmen meet there, but they used the dark tunnel as a lynching spot to create a little extra terror while performing their horrific deeds.

To add to the eerie mix, Travel Channel's Ghost Stories said that a cemetery once existed atop the tunnel. The show claimed that some of the coffins fell through the roof of the tunnel, and that a disinterred body may have once been lodged between the tunnel's roof and the cemetery above.

As you might imagine, Flinderation's karma took quite a hit because of these events, and the tunnel has the paranormal lore to back its hard luck history.

People claim to have heard phantom train whistles and have seen a ghost train (or at least its lights) rumble through the tunnel, along with the sound of metal scraping against metal. The spirits of a young boy and girl, giggling and laughing, have been seen and heard. Voices saying "Help me" and "Quit pushing" have been reported by paranormal investigators, apparently remnants of the long-ago derailment.

Other sounds such as deep grumbles, sobbing and screaming are heard as common occurrences and been captured by EVPs. Unexplained lights, bodiless footsteps, orbs and mists have been both sighted and photographed.

Flinderation Tunnel was officially closed and the tracks were torn out in the nineties. It was out of service for some time prior to then because of the decline of railroad traffic in general and, it's said, because the tunnel's dark tales made it a track that railroaders religiously wanted to avoid. Today, like so many other abandoned rail lines, it's a recreational run, part of the eastern end of the North Bend Rail Trail.

So you can lace up your Nikes, hop on your bike, or jump on your horse (it's also an equestrian trail) to check out the legends of Flinderation Tunnel. When you get inside, your creep-o-meter will red line. It's pitch black once you're a few feet in (and flashlight batteries are said to die inside), its path is muddy and treacherous, and water drips through the ceiling while the splashes echo noisily off the walls. Or is that a decomposing body falling through the roof...?

Heck, if you dig the chills and eerie ambiance of Flinderation Tunnel, you can "like" its Facebook page. Even apparitions know how to get out the word with social tools nowadays. And ain't that spooky?


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Fellow Paranormal Seeker said...

We just went up to Flinderation Tunnel a few days ago and decided to try and find the cemetery on the top. After much hiking and taking the long way around, we did find it. It sits above the tunnel on a hillside. Be wary if you venture up there because there is a small shack like something out of "Wrong Turn" (no I am not kidding...the creepiness of the tunnel has nothing on the shack!) and 2 large dogs chased us down in the cemetery. There are many graves that are quite old up there (1800's) and even one that was like 1806 or 1807. Many are so old that you cannot make out the writing.

Anonymous said...

we went to the shack there and sum drunk bum was passed out in there, so we woke him up and beat the livin crap outta him, put him in the trunk of our car and dropped him off on the side of some country road after workin him over one more time, it was hilarious. Ahhh good times.

Anonymous said...

I traveled there today and after walking through To get out my crew and i heard a man moan as if he was wanting out or very sad.

LarryC43230 said...

We explored the Flinderation Tunnel on Memorial Day weekend, and hiked to the top of the hill. There is indeed a cemetery at the top, and it is very well maintained. It seems to be called the Enon Cemetery, but there are no records of the cemetery under that name on Find a Grave. We never saw any shack in the area, but there are a few buildings and parked cars nearby, so there must be a road that leads to the area on top of the tunnel.

LarryC43230 said...

I've found the cemetery. It's the Enon Church Cemetery. Details at Find a Grave,