My Sweet Synchronicity

Coincidence. Kismet.  Fate.  If one investigates the paranormal for any length of time, one will undoubtedly run into the “it just so happens that…” phrase.  “I keep smelling Old Spice, and it just so happens that my late grandfather wore Old Spice.”   “I saw a phantom headlight, and it just so happens to be on the road where a motorcyclist lost his life.”   Coincidences in the paranormal field are like interpreting dreams: they may help the nonsensical make sense, but one must take caution that they are not being made to fit a mold or being used as a crutch to believe only what one wants to believe.

Enter Hellier.  This docu-show, available on Amazon Prime, follows paranormal investigators Greg and Dana Newkirk, Connor Randall, Tyler Strand, and sometimes Karl Pfieffer, as they, basically, go on a goblin hunt.  Time and time again, they bring up the synchronous events that led them to band together.  (Seriously, I’d almost like a count of how many times they say the word “synchronicity”!) Repetitiveness aside, I was enthralled with the groups’ willingness to embrace what a lot of people would consider the oddness of their search.  From the locations to the research to the methods of possible contact, Hellier is not your typical paranormal fare.  As I watched, I couldn’t help but think of a trip where a series of events led me to an outcome that I, Co-director Kelly, would never have imagined possible.

It was spring break, 2019.  No, I’m not a college student.  I’m an elementary school teacher.  Cliché as it sounds, it’s true: we enjoy those breaks as much as (maybe more than) the kids.  While I’m not one to go all-out on a weeklong trip to Florida or anything, I had decided I was going to take a day trip somewhere.  It came to me as I was scrolling through our old Fringe Paranormal case files: Hope Furnace and Moonville Tunnel.  Some of our team members had been there, but I hadn’t. It was about a three-hour-or-so drive to southern Ohio, and the locations were considered paranormal, so it was a perfect fit.  I kicked around the idea of also hitting up Bobby Mackey’s since I was “down there.”  I was even asked, “if you’re in the neighborhood and you don’t visit the portal to hell, are you really a ghost hunter?” by a friend when I was cooking up my little adventure.

Pretty much anywhere I go

 This might be the place to mention my sense of direction is totally whacked.  Every year I teach my 4th-graders that humans are born with a tiny piece of magnetite in their nose that could help them sense magnetic north.  Mine is either so small as to render itself useless or was never there to begin with.  In other words, I’m not the person to ask if you want directions.  After all, the 2 ½ hour drive from Moonville, OH to Wilder, KY, where Bobby Mackey’s is located would probably not be considered by anyone to be “in the neighborhood.”

What I lack in directional skills, I usually make up for in over-thinking.  I try to travel light, but make sure I have everything I could possibly want or need at my disposal.  Kind of an oxymoron, I know.  To start, obviously, I grabbed some hand-held paranormal equipment.  I also packed an extra charger for my phone, so I could use it as a camera and a navigation tool without running out of juice.  My purse, of course, was a must-have so I could afford to lollygag as much as I wanted.  I rounded out the pile of travel accessories with a couple different jackets since March weather in Ohio is dicey.   Then before heading out, I let my parents and a couple friends know where I was going, “just in case,” I said half in jest and half in earnest, “I don’t make it back.”  

If you’re an introvert, or work an emotionally draining job, or tend to stay in your own comfort zone (for me, all of these apply), I highly recommend a curiosity-satiating day trip.  I guarantee it will feed your soul. On my way to Vinton County, Ohio, where both the Hope Furnace and the Moonville Tunnel are located, I pulled the voice recorder from my pack of paranormal equipment and recorded my rambling thoughts as I drove.  My commute was quiet and peaceful. The sky was bright, and the air was warm.  It was the kind of March day that makes one feel grateful and hopeful that spring really is just around the corner.   I stopped in the town of Logan to have lunch.  I half expected to see a statue of Wolverine, but instead, I saw this mural and learned that the little town is named after a Mingo Indian Chief.   

Not the Logan I was thinking of, but he looks like another badass!

At the local M &M Diner, over delicious, homemade, sugar-free chocolate pie, I pulled out my phone to do a little more internet research on my target destinations.  It was just then I noticed that Bobby Mackey’s is open only on the weekends.  “But I’ll be so close,” I thought to my disappointed, still-oblivious self, “I should at least stop and get a selfie outside the place to say I’ve been there.”  Oh, the sweet…sense of purpose? …taste of delusion?  Either way, I was refreshed and ready to hit the road again.

Also to your right: Mud Moat
Hope Furnace

   I made it to the first scheduled stop on my journey, Hope Furnace, with little trouble. It was located right off the road at Lake Hope State Park.   Recent rain had left the ground soggy and muddy, and I berated my over-thinking self a little for not bringing extra shoes.  I had known that for the paranormal portion of this trip anyway, I’d be outside.  Oh well.  Not letting this get the better of my enterprising spirit, I sloshed through, poked around, and got some pictures.  Due to its history, it was a pretty cool place, but I decided not to spend too much time there and get on to what I considered the primary location of my trip:  Moonville Tunnel.

Nestled back inside Zaleski State Park, Moonville Tunnel was a little more challenging to find.  Google maps took me down and around the twisting gravel roads until, finally, I pulled into the parking lot in front of Moonville.  Unfortunately, another car had pulled up right in front of me.  “Grrr,” I growled to myself.  I had hoped that at 2 pm on a Wednesday, other curiosity seekers would be at school or work.  I pretended to dig through my equipment pack so I could assess the situation. After all, I was a woman alone in the middle of a forest.  A woman who’s watched way too much true-crime drama and read way too many fairy tales to little kids. I knew the perils. It was a relief to see an older couple exit the vehicle.  Feeling assured that I could take ’em if I wanted to,  I climbed out of my car.  We made some idle chit chat about the history of the tunnel, then I took their picture, and off they went through the tunnel and onto the forest path beyond.  I was alone and thrilled to be that way.  I took the obligatory photos with my phone, then turned on my voice recorder and just wandered around.  Inside the tunnel is a lot of graffiti and debris, even the remains of a fire.  I’m not much of a sensitive, but I had a bit of a pit in my stomach.  Something just feels off-kilter inside the Moonville Tunnel. Like dread mixed with hypnotic awe.  I lingered for a while, asking questions to whoever might answer while immersing myself in the strange ambiance.

It only feels like a mile away from civilization

 Wanting to experience the entire area, I made my way through the length of the tunnel to the forest path on the other side.  I hiked for a few minutes admiring the vastness. There were some old utility poles still standing, and I tried to picture what they would have powered before Moonville became a ghost town.  Almost suddenly, the thought of the big, bad wolf/serial killer gave me the same angsty feeling I’d had inside the tunnel.  I retreated, making a mental note to invest in some mace or pepper spray.  When I got to the back end of the tunnel, I noticed another car pulling into the parking lot.  All-in-all, I’d had about a half an hour to myself at Moonville.  Not bad for a popular urban legend area.  “Perfect timing,” I thought to myself as I passed the new explorers on the way to my car.  I had no idea at the time how appropriate the phrase “perfect timing” was going to be by the end of the day. Ultimately, if one recalls, this article was not originally intended to be about Hope Furnace or Moonville Tunnel or even Bobby Mackey’s.  Let’s take a time hop to my Facebook post when I got home later that night:

“Wow! The paranormal universe was with me today! I decided to take a day trip today to Moonville Tunnel and Hope Furnace with a side visit to Bobby Mackey’s. The trip was going pretty well until I tried to leave Moonville,,, My Google Maps wouldn’t load, which lead me to drive around way too many Deliverance-esque, one-lane, twisty, gravel roads. Finally got back on a highway for a boring trip over to Mackey’s. When I got there, I passed it the first time. Thought to myself, “no big deal…I’ll head up the road and turn around” only to wind up caught up in a crazy-assed, one-way-street- filled little town of hell. I was really questioning my decision to even spend the time going there, as I knew from checking the web that the place would be closed, and the best I’d probably get was some pictures from the outside. Here’s the kicker though, when I finally got back to Bobby Mackey’s, there was a carload of high school girls there. They got out of their car, I got out of mine, and I asked “this place is closed, right?” They told me yeah, but they had called to get a tour. I was all like “what? I didn’t know you could do that?!?” Then they said they were supposed to have 5 people, but they only had 4, so if I had $25 cash, I could pretend to be one of the girl’s Katie’s mom. And I’m all, “Hellz yeah, I can be Katie’s mom!” 🤣 Funny that all the annoying roads led me to be at Bobby Mackey’s at the exact perfect time to end up going on a 2-hour tour with only 6 of us in the place! Nothing really happened, but I had my recorder and I let my kid Katie and her friends carry around my K-II’s and Mel Meter and I got to see the portal to hell (which is much more shallow than you’d imagine). So yanno, all’s well that ends well.. 🙂 I’ll try to get some pics posted tomorrow. 👻

According to Websters, the definition of synchronicity as it applies here is “the simultaneous occurrence of causally unrelated events and the belief that the simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence.” Consider the fact that I got lost not once, but twice. (I could definitely feel Tyler Strand’s pain while watching Hellier!)  The happenstance that I brought paranormal equipment that I wouldn’t use in the tunnel,  but I could share with Katie and the girls.  Even the luck of having $25 when I don’t usually carry cash.  I still shake my head when I think of all the synchronicities that led me to such an unforeseen conclusion of my day trip.  Some events in the paranormal world might be mere coincidence, but others certainly seem to be more than that. 

What I actually saw. Yeah, that’s the “portal to hell”.
What I thought I’d see…

One last anecdote.  Between the final draft of this article and its publication, Christmas came and went.  Our family does a variation of “steal the gift,” where we wrap a gift card and a somehow related gift. In past years, we’ve unwrapped the gift card, then one could swipe that plus the present, which would be a later surprise. This year we decided to open the present first, and people could steal based on that.  Imagine my astonishment when one of my nephews opened his present and found mace inside!  Of course, I nabbed it when my turn came around!  The attached gift card?  It was to Uber and Uber Eats, which I would never have stolen because of its lack of usefulness in my neck of the woods.   

Coincidence?  Synchronicity?  Either way, I see even more diligently planned day trips for myself in 2020!

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