By Amanda Stravinsky
Want to hear a spooky story this fall? Travel to Tennessee where ghosts make their residence among the living in hotels, historic homes and theaters. History and paranormal activity blend to bring visitors a hauntingly good time that can only be made in Tennessee.
Book a night or two, if you dare, to the Thomas House Hotel for Ghost Hunt Weekends in Red Boiling Springs. The hotel, built in 1890, has been named No. 2 on CNN’s Most Haunted Spots in America and was witness to deaths, numerous murders, accidents, a home for a cult, and three fires. It also sits on an underground spring and limestone and on an ancient Native American trail. Because of this, the Thomas House Hotel is home to disembodied voices, moving beds and dark figures. Experience these with paranormal expert and author, Chad Morin and the Ghost Hunt Weekend Crew.
Reports of yells, stomping, and full-bodied apparitions have been reported surrounding the Walking Horse Hotel in Wartrace. The third floor and Room 205, specifically, are said to have a fair share of paranormal activity. Paranormal experts have investigated the hotel and their findings throughout the years have garnered orbs of light, shadows passing over and voices. The historic hotel was renovated in 2007 and is open to the public as a haunted attraction near the end of September through Halloween night, Oct. 31.
When patrons attend a show at the circa-1817 Bijou Theatre, they shouldn’t be alarmed if they see one of the unidentified ghosts visiting the building from time to time. Since it is Knoxville’s fourth-oldest building, the theater’s vast history shows it was first a tavern, then a hotel, a Civil War hospital, and headquarters for Generals William Sherman and Phil Sheridan. General Sherman, who was treated in the building, is said to still roam the area. Besides the haunting history, patrons will find the Bijou is home to the best-sounding room for live music in Knoxville.
Theater legends surround Memphis Orpheum Theatre. A young girl named Mary who was killed by a car on Beale Street has reportedly roamed the theater for 60 years. Doors opening and closing by themselves, her giggling voice and sounds of her feet running up and down the aisles have been documented. Patrons shouldn’t be surprised if they see her apparition in her favorite seat, C-5. Paranormal groups have flocked to The Orpheum Theatre and some are convinced up to six other ghosts roam there.
Carnton Plantation in Franklin was a home on the frontlines during the Battle of Franklin, one of the bloodiest battles during the Civil War. Wounded soldiers were ushered in as blood soaked through the wood floors (still visible today), limbs were amputated and many were buried in the McGavock Cemetery on the property. It is considered by many as one of the most haunted houses in Tennessee. Visitors have heard phantom rifles, cannons, and horses’ hooves. Carrie McGavock, known as the “Widow of the South,” has been reported to roam the home.
Wheatlands Plantation in Sevierville was a Revolutionary War battleground for The Battle of Boyd’s Creek and burial mound for fallen Native Americans. The home’s family, the Chandlers, maintained the home even during the Northern Occupation during the Civil War, keeping up operations for almost 180 years since their establishment in America in 1610. Ghost Weekends, paranormal events and investigations are hosted by the property throughout the year. Tours are $12 and the History and Ghost Walk Tour $17 with an appointment.