It’s time for stories filled with ghosts, furniture that moves by itself, figures in hallways and everything paranormal. When you come to Tennessee, ghosts are tied to history, reliving their past in battlefields, hotels, theaters and mansions. Don’t be surprised if you bump into one when you visit these historically haunted Tennessee destinations:
Before you book a stay at the luxurious Read House Hotel in Chattanooga with plush bedding, complimentary Wi-Fi and name brand bath amenities, make sure you book a tour of Room 311 where it’s believed to be haunted by Annalisa Netherly who tragically died while at the hotel. Reports have been made about ghostly figures appearing in the mirror and resting on the bed.
One of the city’s oldest buildings, the Bijou Theatre in Knoxville has served as a hotel called the Lamar House, a hospital during the Civil War, a site for Vaudeville, an “adult” movie house and, currently, a theater for concerts, plays and more. Paranormal voices, audio recorded noises and sights of apparitions have been reported.
Christopher-Taylor House - Jonesborough
Considered the oldest homes in Tennessee's oldest town, the Christopher-Taylor House in Jonesborough was built in the 1770s by Christopher Taylor. Taylor was a captain in the militia who fought with the legendary Overmountain Men, a veteran of the French and Indian War and of the American Revolutionary War. His home was a welcomed rest for travelers, one of them being Andrew Jackson. Some have witnessed Andrew Jackson's ghost visiting the home several times as well as members of the family in the cemetery on the property where the cabin used to sit. Visit for yourself and you may just encounter a ghost or two in Jonesborough.
Wheatlands Plantation - Sevierville
Take a scenic drive on the Boyds Creek Fall Driving Tour in Sevierville. While journeying over rolling hills and fertile river bottoms, you'll see Boyd's Creek, an historic farming community dating back to the American Revolution. You'll see Dolly Parton's Statue, farms, Oak Haven Resort and Spa, historic churches and historic homes, including Wheatlands Plantation. A story goes that you may see blood stains in the home's parlor during a guided tour. After the owner of the estate left the plantation to her grandson, his jealous father confronted him and was murdered with an iron poker. Though the floors have been cleaned numerous times, the blood stains seem to return.
Haunted Places in Middle Tennessee
One of the most haunted places in the U.S., the Thomas House Hotel is built on an ancient Native American trail and has been witness to deaths, murders, accidents and a home for a cult. Beds move, dark figures appear. You’ll experience cold spots, hear disembodied voices and feel absolutely terrified. The hotel hosts overnight ghost hunt weekends throughout the year, not for the faint of heart.
No list would be complete without Tennessee’s scariest ghost story: The legend of the Bell Witch. Kate Batts is reportedly the witch who haunted John Bell and his family, particularly a daughter, Betsy Bell. Batts believed Bell cheated her out of a land deal. She later died and that’s when the strange occurrences began: sounds of a rat gnawing on bed posts, knocking, and sounds of chains being drug through the house, stones dropped on the wooden floors, choking and gulping and seeing strange-looking animals on the property. She currently haunts the Bell Witch Cave which is open for tours. You can also visit the John Bell Cabin where these paranormal activities occurred.
Learn about the haunted history of the Lotz House in Franklin on Friday and Saturday nights Sept. 17, 2021 through mid-November. You'll have a chance to experience the Civil War spirits and unexplained phenomenon that are said to haunt the home like sounds of a woman crying out for a loved one, moving items and a little girl staring out the window. The guided, 90-minute tour tells the story of the Lotz House, one of the homes that was ground zero for the Battle of Franklin. Travel Channel has even dubbed the home one of "The Most Terrifying Places in America."
Visit Cragfont State Historic Site in Castalian Springs for rich history and paranormal activity. The home is located on what were originally hunting grounds for native American peoples and was home to white settlers and enslaved families. While touring the home, you'll hear their stories and explore the landscape and buildings that saw this history unfold.
Take part of the Columbia Ghost Tour, available every Friday and Saturday in October 2021. Reserve your spot and meet at the front of the Maury County Courthouse at 8 p.m. for stories of Columbia, Tennessee. You'll walk and stop at locations around downtown that are rich in history and eerie tales that will send a shiver down your spine. Tickets are $10 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 931-797-3316.
Haunted Places in West Tennessee
Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh preserves the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. You can hike the grounds of the park, following trails that will lead you to tablets and monuments away from the auto tour roads. There's also a 1.1-mile trail that leads to the historic Shiloh Indian Mounds village. You can also pick up a map from the visitor center and drive the 12.7-mile, 20-stop, self-guiding driving tour of the battlefield.
Many Memphis travelers and locals alike adore the plethora of musicals, concerts and fine arts events hosted by the Orpheum Theatre. However, one guest in particular, Mary, hauntingly enjoys the theater from her balcony seat in C5. Many patrons, workers and actors have seen Mary watch the performances. She has allegedly been spotted dancing in the hallways and playing pranks on housekeepers by hiding their tools.
Mollie Woodruff, who lived in the late 1800s, lost a child to yellow fever. Three days later, she lost her husband from a boating accident. She eventually remarried and had a second child who also died as an infant. She’s said to haunt the Woodruff-Fontaine Mansion, as that was where she was the happiest. Reports of staff needing to smooth out the bedclothes in Mollie’s room have been shared along with other paranormal activity.
While in Memphis, make your way to one of the best dive bars in the U.S. On S. Main Street, Earnestine & Hazel's welcomes you to enjoy the greatest jukebox in the country, get a taste of a Soul Burger and take a ghost tour to see if Earnestine and Hazel are still around. The dive bar has been named one of the most haunted places in America. Stop by music that will get you dancing, satisfying food and a spooky story or two.
Escape the winter months at indoor Tennessee attractions with rock climbing, space and history.