Our second 2021 Summer adventure took us to the North Bend Rail Trail (which is also part of the America Discovery Trail) to check out a couple of old railroad tunnels. Don’t forget to view the video at the end!
Brandy Gap Tunnel #2
The first tunnel, named Brandy Gap Tunnel #2, is supposed to be haunted. Located in Harrison County, Brandy Gap Tunnel #2 runs along Route 50 as part of the North Bend Rail Trail.
Built between 1853-1854, Brandy Gap Tunnel #2 was part of the B&O Railroad line used by the Northwestern Virginia Railroad that was completed in May of 1857. The line was abandoned in 1985 after the railroad decided they would no longer make runs from Clarksburg to Parkersburg due to declining traffic and alternative routings. For a more in-depth history lesson, check out this link.
There are several legends of ghost stories about this tunnel and what causes the hauntings, the first story is the only one I have been able to verify via an old newspaper clipping.
People report that they have seen/heard apparitions, a phantom train, phantom mist/fog that follows you, the sound of metal scrapping metal, orbs, growling, footsteps, and children talking/giggling.
Worker dies in the tunnel – On January 15, 1853, a worker died while in the tunnel when a mound of earth fell on him. Two others were injured. News clipping from the Cooper’s Clarksburg Register: “Killed. A man named Hanley, was killed at the Brandy Gap Tunnel on last Saturday, by a quantity of earth falling on him. He was taken to Fairmont, on Monday, for interment. Two other men were seriously injured.” This is the only story or “legend” I have found to be true.
Workers caught off guard by an incoming train – Legend has it that a train unexpectedly ran through the Brandy Gap tunnel and caught those in the tunnel off guard. There are a couple of different versions of this story. The first version states one couldn’t make it into one of the manholes (alcoves cut into the side of the walls to allow those in the tunnel safety from oncoming trains) of the tunnel in time and was killed.
Another version states there were three workers, one was cut in half by the train, one was caught under the train and dragged for about 75 feet causing the train to derail and one made it to a manhole and came out unscathed. I have yet to find any proof this actually happened. If I do, I will update this post.
KKK Lynchings – Another story states that the KKK used the Brandy Gap tunnel for lynchings causing the railroad to abandon the tunnel. I have found no evidence of the fact and the line/tunnel was abandoned when the railroad decided they would no longer be making runs from Clarksburg to Parkersburg.
Suicide by Train – There are stories that there have been several suicides by train events near the tunnel. While plausible, I have not been able to verify this.
Brandy Gap Cemetery – Located just west of the tunnel on the trail is Brandy Gap Cemetery with graves that date back to the 1700s (there is a side trail that goes to the cemetery on the hill). Rumor has it that the groans, disembodied voices, and other supernatural sounds are actually coming from the cemetery located a short distance away and travel into the tunnel. NOTE: Many bloggers state that the cemetery is directly above the tunnel. This is simply not true. The cemetery is actually located just up the trail a short distance on a hillside.
There is a small parking area, located right off of US 50 on Pine Valley Drive which is just East of Bristol. From the parking lot, it is a short walk to the tunnel.
Brandy Gap Tunnel Facts
Length: 1,086 feet
Location: East of Bristol, Harrison County, West Virginia. Parking is located right off of US 50 on Pine Valley Drive.
Also known as the Flinderation tunnel.
While we didn’t have any ghost encounters (that we are aware of) there was a fog at the end of the tunnel that seemed to have a mind of its own. Originally I dismissed it as weather related, however, after going back through the tunnel, the fog had become thicker and was moving deeper inside.
There was no breeze that day, and once we came back to the entrance I realized the temperature at that entrance was just as warm/humid (or felt so anyway) as at the entrance with the fog. So why was it not completely through the tunnel or at both ends?
Do I think it was paranormal-related? No. I do believe it was weather related but did not have the equipment needed to measure the temperature and humidity levels at different intervals to figure out why the fog “acted” the way it did. It would make for a great weather experiment if I have any readers that are science teachers or meteorologists :)
Something interesting that we noticed upon arrival and again after returning to the entrance was a mysterious black “blob”. Once you got closer to the end it disappears (as you can see in the video). I believe it was an optical illusion, but again, did not have the equipment (in this case a telephoto lens or binoculars) that would allow me to zoom in from the far end to see what was causing it. We assume it is a shadow; of what, we don’t know.
Sherwood Tunnel #4
Also known as Long Run Tunnel, Buckeye #4, and Sherwood East RR #4, the Sherwood Tunnel was built between 1853-1854. This tunnel is located west of the Brandy Gap Tunnel between Smithburg and Salem in Doddridge County.
I haven’t found any “ghost” stories about this tunnel or much history other than what is listed above in the Brady Gap Tunnel information.
We also did not experience any fog, despite the weather conditions being the same as those at Brandy Gap.
This tunnel, however, was much drier and we did spot a turtle having a siesta in the middle of the tunnel.
The parking area is located on Long Run Road right off of US 50 (you will see it as soon as you turn onto Long Run Road, there is a school bus stop located right next to it).
Length: 846 feet
Location: East of Smithburg off of US 50 near Long Run Road.
Watch the Video
Like haunted places? Check out the haunted USS Lexington in Texas.