Sunday, January 15, 2012

Flinderation Tunnel

Flinderation Tunnel, located near Salem in Harrison County, WV, is a popular destination for ghost hunters across the region.  It was even brought to national attention with the help of several popular television shows.  And...according to those who have been there, the tunnel does live up to his haunted reputation.  Apparitions, noises, and EVPs are commonly reported, and are said to be the result of a horrific accident that occurred at the tunnel.

 According to folklore, repairs were being made on the tunnel, when a train unexpectedly came through.  Legends differ, but the general idea of the story is that one of the workers was unable to seek refuge in one of the alcoves quick enough, and met a gruesome death.  The track, which was being repaired, combined with perhaps the accident itself then led to a train derailment.  In fact, another example of paranormal activity seems to be the phantom lights from a train, the sound of a phantom train whistle, and even the scraping sounds of a train crashing against the sides of the tunnel.  In later years, it is said that the tunnel was used by the KKK as a lynching spot.  Several reports from African-American investigators have confirmed that there are energies here that support this thesis. 

But aside from the folklore, how much is REALLY known about the Flinderation Tunnel?

For starters, the tunnel technically isn't the "Flinderation Tunnel," but rather the Brandy Gap Tunnel #2.  The colloquial name of Flinderation Tunnel comes from the fact that it is located off Flinderation Road.  This old railroad tunnel was commissioned by the Northwestern Virginia Railroad for the B&O Railroad.  It was to serve as a link between Grafton and Parkersburg.  Work began in August of 1852 under contractor Thomas S. Spates, and the tunnel was completed in January of 1857.  It was taken fully out of commission in the 1990s.  The land surrounding the tunnel was part of the Lynch family estate, and could possibly be a historical fact that got twisted into the idea of lynch-ings.  And yes...the tunnel DOES run directly under the large, yet historical Brandy Gap Cemetery.  In fact, some believe that the decaying bodies of the cemetery "drip" remains into the tunnel, and could possibly account for some of the apparitions sighted therein.  Another related story tells of bodies and body parts actually being visible from inside the tunnel, as parts of the roof erode away.

Unfortunately, not much else is known from a historical standpoint.  Despite in-depth research from several independent parties, there doesn't seem to be any record of a train derailment or even a death.  Since details such as dates and names have been lost to history, further research into the verification of the tale would be a daunting task.  However, a lack of documented history doesn't necessarily mean that the events didn't occur, as many are quick to point out.  Although it does seem likely that if the train DID derail, there would be some record of it, there wouldn't necessarily be any record of a lone worker killed.  In early days of railroad work, it wasn't uncommon for immigrant laborers (Italians made up a large percentage of immigrant rail workers in this area) or those of African American descent to be forgotten about...not even reported as deceased and buried where they lie...especially if they were single men without families. 

Today, the tunnel is part of the 72 mile long North Bend Rail Trail system, a popular place for ghost hunters, and even the location for a multi-stage geocache.  Directions to the tunnel, curtesy of Mountain State Spirit Seekers Society can be found below...but if you're traveling to the Salem area from Clarksburg, keep your eyes open for another local ghost legend.

As seen in the book Cry of the Banshee by Susan Sheppard, Rt. 50 (the road which will lead you to Salem) is home to a ghostly woman in red.  When the moon is full, motorists have said to have spotted a woman wearing a red hooded coat, walking along the side of the road.  Those who stop to ask the woman if she needs help are shocked to discover that under the scarlet hood, the woman has no face.  Allegedly, this woman is also said to follow motorists home, pacing outside of their home, peering into their windows with her faceless visage.

Photo property of Susan Carleton

Directions to Flinderation Tunnel from MSSSS:
Flinderation Tunnel is located about 15-20 minutes "west" of Clarksburg (Harrison County). The road that you will take is Flinderation Road, of course. Once you get off of Flinderation Road you will cross a bridge and you keep right and then you drive for about 500ft or little more and you will notice in the road that it looks like train tracks ran across the road and you will see a gate on your right hand side in the middle of used to be railroad tracks and thats where you park your car. From the gate to the Tunnel is about 100yds or so back. You will see the "Lake Floyd" sign on your right. Thats the next exit on the left and then Flinderation Road is the "Next" exit on the right.

If your coming West going east your will travel thru salem on Rt 50 and the exit before Flinderation Road is Raccoon Run Road. You will cross a bridge and you keep right and then you drive for about 500ft or little more and you will notice in the road that it looks like train tracks ran across the road and you will see a gate on your right hand side in the middle of used to be railroad tracks and thats where you park your car. From the gate to the Tunnel is about 100yds or so back.


  1. That was about the best information i could find on the subject of the tunnel. I live in bridgeport just a couple miles down the road and have been to the tunnel many times. I believe it is haunted, although something hasn't happened every time I've gone. If you go with too many people nothing will happen. Try to isolate yourself for about 5 minutes a couple hundred feet inside where the tunnel is patched on the roof, and if something doesn't brush up against you or whisper something close to you, you will get a feeling that will make you not want to come back. Also friends of mine have heard railroad ties being struck with a hammer, but when they would go to say something or kick their flashlight on it would stop. They've also got some evil sounding EVP's, and once when walking through after taunting whatever is there he said it "sounded like a pick up truck fell from the ceiling, but there was no dust"
    Check it out if you like being scared!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences!

    2. Dilley?? Serena??? Turtleman?? Marsh?? Zack?? Is anonymous any of u guys???? If not..ill be really freaked out because the same thing u just wrote happend to me too. I've gone there so many times with my babys father dilley. Ur right..if u go with too many ppl nothin will happen. And we heard something fall right behind us like a car falling from the sky but nothing was there! My name is talya. Plz answer it any of u?

  2. I've visited the tunnel twice with friends. Nothing out of the ordinary occurred. The only somewhat intriguing thing that happened was once we decided to just sit in complete silence and darkness in the middle of the tunnel. After about 10 minutes several of us said we could a very faint sound of multiple people, male and female, talking at one end of the tunnel. It lasted about 5 minutes. It's possible that it could have been people who live nearby and their voices just carried that far, or perhaps there were other people at the tunnel as well and they just didn't come in.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Anthony! Like a lot of outdoor locations, unfortunately Flinderation Tunnel isn't exactly an ideal spot to capture irrefutable evidence, thanks to the human contamination factor that its likely you experienced.

    2. name is talya. I go ghost hunting a lot. I'm so facinated with thedead and I don't know why I just always have been..I'm just an ameture I don't even really kno how to use spirit devices but I've expeexperienced a lot. I believe my house is haunted. I live in bridgeport wv on a country back road. I have a 2 year old daughter and she's recently been pointing and talking to nothing. Just last night she told me to take the lid off her markers because she can't quite figure that outyet..later she goes in her room to play and I hear her say "no! Stop it!" I asked her who she was talking to and she said "the girl" I said what girl whatcolor hhair does she have? Black white or red? She said black. So I told her to go home (the ghost girl). I asked my lil girl if she left and she said yea but "he's here". I've felt and heard things a lot in that house growing up but I always made excuses for them because its a new house. But now I understand that doesn't matter. Anywhere we move it will be someone's past. Even tho the house is new the property isn't. Please let me know any kind of info what should I do? Who should I call? I don't know if this spirit is good or bad. I don't want my child to get hurt