Tennessee can be filled with so much charm that apparently its inhabitants never want to leave, even after death. *Cue spooky music*
There are lots of ghost tales and rumored hauntings to fill anyone with a bit of ghoulish fear this Halloween season. Why not cozy on up with a jug of apple cider (or moonshine, we aren’t judging folks over here) and read up on some of the most haunted areas of Tennessee, either to know where to keep away from or where to explore for the time of your life (or death). Muahahaha!!!
The most famous haunting in America actually took place in Tennessee and is known as the Bell Witch. This phenom struck the unfortunate Bell Family in 1817-1821 and ended with the death of farmer Bell. The spirit was supposedly the neighbor of Farmer John Bell and she’d had bad dealings with him over the purchase of slaves, so apparently decided to torment him and his family, friends, guests from the afterlife. The violent ghost would scratch, poke, kick, slap, and pull the family from their beds, tormenting the adults and children. The haunting was so well-known that even President Andrew Jackson stopped by to see what was going on and she (the ghost was Katie) stalled his wagon wheels. Eventually she tormented Farmer Bell enough that when he was sick he never recovered and was found with a bottle of poison nearby. She was said to have laughed and screamed at his funeral and remained to torment his family for a while longer before finally disappearing and reappearing sporadically. There is now a cave on the property where the haunting took place that is said to still have paranormal happenings. Approach if you dare!
War Rages On
The Civil War left many dead within the Tennessee borders and not all of them went on to rest in peace. Chickamauga Battlefield along with Stones River Battlefield were the sites of many deaths and have a bloody past and haunted happenings. Many dead were haphazardly buried at Chickamauga field after battles and the Native Americans had a bloody history on the land even before the Civil War, so it has always been a rather macabre place to visit. The Civil War also made many homes become the commandeered posts for troops and the Carter House was one such home. Many soldiers died during a battle fought around and in the home, including one of the Carter boys, Tod. Now guided tours throughout the house have visitors speaking of seeing apparitions of Tod near his bedside where he died from wounds, the playful tugging of sleeves by the young sisters of the family, and objects moving in a way that they shouldn’t be when no one has touched them! The Carnton Mansion is a place that is often mentioned if haunted locations are desired and was another house used during the Civil War to tend wounded/dying soldiers. The battle in Franklin, Tennessee literally took place right outside of their backyard and ended up with many soldiers being buried on their property and dying in their home. Now there are reports of ghostly soldiers in uniform walking about the property and even a woman in a long gown who will appear in photos and mirrors.
Ryman Auditorium in Nashville has three ghosts who like to come and take in the shows! Apparently the need for entertainment doesn’t die when we do! Captain Ryman is one such ghost who will walk the property and watch from the balcony as shows are performed; country music star Hank Williams also is said to haunt the auditorium so that he can listen to the music he so loved; a confederate soldier sits in the gallery often, taking in a show whenever he pleases.
Surprisingly, East Tennessee State University made our list, so who knows if your college study buddy will even be of this world! The daughter of a former professor committed suicide on campus and is said to sadly roam her last place on Earth. Friendly Sidney Gilbreath, or Uncle Sid, wanders Gilbreath Hall and will be helpful shutting any open doors or windows when a storm is approaching. A librarian dedicated to her job still haunts her beloved library after having a heart attack there and dying. She will watch over the room and put away books into their proper places when left out.
Argument Continues in Death
The Capitol Building in Nashville is said to be haunted by the very men who created it, architect William Strickland and financier Samuel Morgan who would have arguments daily about the project. When they died, they were both interred there and still fight to this day, loudly arguing and disturbing the peace.
The sad ghost of Rotherwood Mansion led a very depressing life that led to her ultimate suicide and subsequent haunting. She was a beautiful young woman who tragically lost her young love before they could wed. Rowena then went on to marry someone else, only to have him pass away shortly afterwards too. Upon marrying again, she and her husband welcomed a beautiful daughter into their lives only to have her die. This was all too much for Rowena to take and she committed suicide. A grieving lady in white can now be seen floating miserably around the property.
The great state of Tennessee is a ghost hunters dream because the rich history is full of untimely deaths, battle worn spirits, and restless ghouls. Who knows what/whom you’ll see on your spirited trek through Tennessee?
Have fun this Halloween!