Flinderation Tunnel is located in Salem, West Virginia. It is an an old railroad tunnel. The structure is approximately 1,000 ft in length and was built in the 1860’s.
This railroad line was chartered by the Northwestern Virginia Railroad for the B&O. The tunnel section was built between 1853 and 1854. It was actually was an independent company but was essentially financed by the B&O. The B&O timelines show no record of any accident or derailment in or near the tunnel.
Flinderation Tunnel is part of the 72 mile North Bend Trail. It is operated by West Virginia State Parks and is part of the American Discovery Trail. The Flinderation Tunnel has been featured on paranormal shows as it is said that phantom trains are seen and sounds of footsteps and train wheels screeching against the train tracks have been reported by numerous folks in the area.
The stories abound about this allegedly haunted location. There are stories telling of a train wreck, the death of a man, rumors of past KKK murders and numerous ghost sightings. In 2009, I was even present during the filming of my friend Jason discussing Flinderation Tunnel on the Travel Channel.
I have conducted numerous paranormal investigations and completed many hours of research on this location. The place has a creepy atmosphere, with an old graveyard, and the gory story of a deadly train wreck. There are places along the tunnel roof that are missing and have crumbled onto the ground. Traffic noises echo from Route 50 and bounce back and forth within the tunnel walls, making it almost impossible to obtain true EVP’s from the location. The wind whistles through the tunnel and when you look toward either end of the tunnel, the shadows will have your eyes playing tricks on you against the darkness. It is not uncommon to see lights, shadowy figures, and many other light distortions.
According to my friend Jason, local legend tells of a train accident in which two men were ran over by a train in the tunnel. One man was dragged about 75 yards under the train while the other man flattened himself into a shallow cubby hole and survived.
Another story circulating was that there were several men working on the railroad back in the 1800’s. They did not realize a train was coming and one of the workers could not get off the tracks in time. The train caught him and killed him which caused a freak derailment. Many paranormal investigators believe that these stories contribute to the inexplicable fogs, lights and ghostly footsteps that are reported by many who visit Flinderation Tunnel.
There is another legend associated with Flinderation Tunnel. It states that in the mid 1900’s, the Ku Klux Klan brought many of their victims to the tunnel to carry out various attacks and lynchings. Eventually, the tunnel was officially shut down and the tracks were torn up in the 1990’s.That brings us to present day where it remains part of the North Bend rail trail.
I have heard many stories and reports from other paranormal investigators who claim to experience unknown lights, mists or fog, footsteps, orbs, growling, crying, voices and various apparitions to include children who talk and giggle. There was even a story about a red “evil orb” that was allegedly captured in a still photo. The man claimed that the orb moved from left to right and knocked him over while he was inside the tunnel.
There is a cemetery located on top of the tunnel. There are claims that some of the coffins have fell through the roof of the tunnel. This allegedly caused the tunnel to be patched on several occasions. There were even some allegations that a body from one of the caskets may have gotten stuck between the repaired tunnel roof and the cemetery after their coffin fell through. I was able to verify with locals that the cemetery above the tunnel has not always been stable. Every time I have ever visited Flinderation Tunnel, I have not been able to see any stones patched because it’s too far up above me and it’s usually very dark.
Most of the legends and stories about the tunnel mention a terrible train wreck but I was unable to locate any historical records to verify the stories. There were no newspaper articles, death records to match the location or any other official documentation that I could use to verify any of the claims. In addition to that, I found it almost impossible to capture EVP’s at this location due to the traffic noise and other contamination from the nearby highway. However, I always felt like someone or something was watching me and there is an overall feeling of uneasiness inside the tunnel. I contribute that to the living humans who regularly visit the tunnel more than I would contribute it to paranormal activity.