WHEELING - A group of investigators worked Tuesday and Wednesday to determine whether Wheeling's Tunnel Green is a portal to the paranormal.
Urban legends and ghost stories drew the group to the former railroad tunnel that now serves as a pedestrian passage; part of the Wheeling Heritage Trail system. Stories of murder, desecrated graves, robbery and ghostly hauntings are attached to the brick-lined passageway, according to members of East Hills Paranormal, who brought their work to West Virginia for the first time Tuesday.
Founded in 2010, East Hills Paranormal is an independent ghost hunting organization made up of three members - Fred Broerman, Josh Shelton and John Burrell Jr. They work with one trainee, William Kerby. Their investigations of the supernatural have taken them all over Pennsylvania, from Dead Man's Hollow in Elizabeth Township to spooky settings around Altoona and to a place called Hells Gate near Uniontown.
John Burrell Jr., left, William Kerby, Fred Broerman and Josh Shelton scan the air and take pictures during a ghost hunt in Tunnel Green pedestrian tunnel on Tuesday. -- Daniel Dorsch
Members of East Hills Paranormal, from left, Fred Broerman, William Kerby and Josh Shelton gear up to hunt for ghosts in the Tunnel Green pedestrian tunnel on Tuesday. -- Daniel Dorsch
"We do this primarily for the research and not so much for the scares," Broerman said as the four-man crew unloaded their Chevrolet Caprice and began scanning the walking trail. "While we enjoy being scared, we want it to be real and not fake."
When researching Tunnel Green, Broerman said East Hills Paranormal members found a story of an immigrant who was robbed and murdered in the tunnel decades ago. He said they also heard about strange ooze dripping down into the tunnel from above, where the old Peninsula Cemetery used to be. Other stories about the site include strange women in black and ghostly visions of a train barreling through the darkness, Broerman said.
Kirby said he spoke with a neighborhood resident who warned him not to go too far into the tunnel late at night.
The field kit for East Hills Paranormal consists of basic digital cameras, tape recorders, digital sound recorders and heat guns to track sudden temperature changes.
"Sometimes we get something, sometimes we don't," Shelton said.
The team spent time getting set up Tuesday afternoon as they prepared for their main ghost hunt at midnight.
"This is the first ghost hunt we've had out of P.A.," Broerman said as he took readings inside the tunnel. "Let's look and see what we get in West Virginia."