A couple points:
1) RH9 is ancient -- you should probably upgrade to something more recent if possible.
2) When init starts running, it looks at the /etc/inittab file. If this file has become corrupt, strange things are likely to happen. You need to look at this file, figure out what runlevel you're booting into (look for a line like id:N:initdefault, the N is a number and is the runlevel to boot into). Then you need to figure out if all the getty processes and other stuff is actually starting in that runlevel. You might need to look in /etc/rc.d/rcN.d (where N is the default runlevel) and notice which S scripts there are (for services to start).
Unfortunately, if you're not clear on how SysV Init actually works, this may be kind of tough, but if you post /etc/inittab and an ls of /etc/rc.d/rcN.d (again N is your boot runlevel -- usually 3 or 5) maybe someone can help you.