Saturday, November 17, 2018

Tellabration! Athens, Ohio

Coming this Sunday!  I'll just be back from my workshop at the WV Writers Fall Conference, and ready to tell some tales and sing a song or two.

See you there!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Friday, November 16, 2018

WV Writers Fall Conference: Presenting a Workshop

Tomorrow! Looking forward to presenting this workshop with my friend Janet Smart.

Black Dogs and Horse Collars: Folklore, Superstition, and the Writer - Folk beliefs are a strong element of Appalachian culture. People often quote weather proverbs, plant by the signs and use folk remedies even as they interact in the modern world of technology and social media. Folklore is integral to who we are and where we come from, and can add humor, suspense and anticipation to stories, articles and poetry. This workshop that explores the role of folklore and superstition in our lives and how old lore can add depth to characters and deepen a sense of place in any written work. This class is intended for poetry, prose, and creative nonfiction writers.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Haunted Tunnel

I made an effort to get to places I wanted to see, or see again, during our recent travels.

One such place was Eatons Tunnel.

I heard about the tunnel one night when we were lost on a back road in Ritchie county. We met a couple in a Jeep back that narrow dirt road, and the man asked why we were out there. I explained that I was a storyteller and was looking for the community called Petroleum because the place had such a rich history.

"Petroleum? Ain't nothin' much there. You keep on this road, you'll get there. But if you're a storyteller then you know about Eatons Tunnel."

My ears perked up. No, I had not heard of this tunnel. But it is now one of the stories I tell most often. (You can hear it on my latest CD, Beyond the Grave II, available from me or on eBay)

"You just passed it. The tunnel collapsed when they was building it and three men got trapped inside. They couldn't get 'em out so they just sealed it up and built a new tunnel. People can hear things in the old tunnel, voices, a train, machinery..."

I researched what the man told me, and it was mostly true. While widening the tunnels for the newer, bigger locomotives, Eaton Tunnel (Tunnel 21 on the B&O line from Grafton to Parkersburg) did collapse. The tunnel was originally built in 1869, and it collapsed during construction then too, killing young Thomas Nashville Johnson and leaving his young wife with four children to raise. (she married two more times, ending up with 15 children).

The second collapse happened on June 6, 1963. Three men were trapped; one was rescued within hours and suffered only a broken ankle. The second man, Arthur Boggs, was rescued after 18 frantic hours, but later died in hospital of his injuries. He was only 24.

From the Find-A-Grave website:

Funeral services for Arthur Brooks Boggs, 24 of Perkins, Gilmer county, who died Sunday morning in Mt. Carmel Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, as a result of injuries suffered in a tunnel cave in at Eatons, Wood county, will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Rosedale Baptist Church, Gilmer county.
The Rev. Rodney Minney will officiate, and burial will be in Shiloh cemetery, near Glenville. 
Boggs was born June 16,1938 at Perkins, near Glenville, son of Benton Boggs, deceased, and Mrs. Sylvia Boggs Dejean of Cleveland, and was a member of the Rosedale Baptist Church.
Survivors, mother Sylvia Boggs Dejean, wife, Marlene Furr Boggs; son Arthur Brooks Boggs Jr. Four sisters, Mrs Lucy Vanscoy; of Gassaway, Mrs. Pearl Carpenter, Akron; and seven brothers, William and Earl Boggs,Akron, Floyd, Lester, and Herbert Boggs of Mansfield, Ohio, and Harvey Boggs, with the U S Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
He was preceded in death by a daughter.
Mr Boggs was one of two men caught in a rock fall last Thursday in the B&O Railroad tunnel, approximately 20 miles east of Parkersburg and 18 hours of labor by rescue crews were required to extricate him. The second man, Harry Buck Nichols, 51 of Bartlett Ohio has not been found but is presumed dead. 
Mr. Boggs was rushed to Camden Clark Memorial Hospital after his rescue from the rock slide but was later transported to the Columbus institution when his kidneys ceased to function. 
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Spurgeon funeral home at Glenville, where friends may call."
The third man was Harry "Buck" Nichols of Cutler, Ohio. Despite trying for two weeks, recovery efforts were abandoned and the tunnel was sealed.

From Find-A-Grave:

"Died in the Eaton Tunnel cave in on June 6, 1963.
Body was never recovered, was sealed and still entombed there.
Harry was 46 years of age, married to Lucy E Nichols, was a resident of Cutler, Ohio
Was the son of Calvin and Virgie Nichols."

The path to the old tunnel

The sealed entrance to the old tunnel 21--Harry Nichols' resting place.

The other entrance to the old Tunnel 21
I never found an obituary for Harry Nichols. Perhaps there wasn't one since there was a time lapse of several months between the time of the cave-in and his official death certificate.

Today Tunnel 21 is part of the North Bend Rail Trail. You can walk through the new tunnel, and there is a muddy path leading to where the old tunnel, now completely collapsed, once was. Many people visit the new tunnel, leaving graffiti, ouija boards and other things to note their visit.

There is no marker to say that the old tunnel is a man's final resting place. Perhaps if there were, the sounds people hear at the tunnel would cease.

I am glad we visited. Next time, we'll be sure to bring some flowers. Rest in peace, Mr. Nichols.

Sounds inside the new tunnel:

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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