Evenings grow darker, leaves change color and a chill hangs in the air. It’s a time when bone-chilling ghost stories, spine-tingling tales and mysterious adventures rise up at haunted happenings that can only be Made in Tennessee.
A true manifestation of spirits or clever parlor tricks? Sitters can decide at the Victorian Séance Experience inside the front parlors of the 1858 historic house in Knoxville. Re-enactors follow 19th-century Spiritualism rituals to give an immersive experience filled with mysterious and startling wonders. Psychics, astrologers and tarot card readers also perform their craft for interested parties. The dark history of Americans’ experiences with death, burial and Spiritualism is preserved in the historic house museum.
CEMETERY LANTERN TOUR - HISTORIC RUGBY
Hear from the widow who was left to complete construction of Rugby’s library. Listen to stories of the historic village’s most colorful characters of the last 135 years during a Cemetery Lantern Tour of Laurel Dale Cemetery. Costumed characters tell tales of the dearly departed in words from letters, diaries, newspaper accounts and interviews.
Costumed storytellers stand among the gravestones to tell stories of people buried there in Jonesborough. Tours are available at 2:30 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of the month from May through September. Tours also include the history of Rocky Hill and College Hill cemeteries and 1800s burial customs. Tickets are $3 per person and can be purchased at Chester Inn State Historic Site & Museum on Main Street. Proceeds from the tour fund ongoing preservation of the cemeteries.
Mirrors are draped in black to prevent trapped spirits, curtains are drawn and clocks are stopped at the hour of death. Learn about unusual mourning customs and creepy superstitions during A Mansion in Mourning at this Victorian-era mansion in Murfreesboro. Explore dark corners and dimly-lit parlors during Flashlight Nights. After the tour, walk along the faintly-lit trails and spot dark reflections in Maney Spring.
Climb aboard for a spine-tingling Haunted Canoe Trip into the spooky world of the Caney River after dark. Stay close to hear stories of a flooded town with lost graves, ghostly encounters and unexplained, eerie sounds. Paddle over the original location of the old 1800s sunken cemetery. Many believe lost graves remain and spirits are trapped just beneath the dark waters of Cemetery Cove. Nearing an old military recreation base, hear stories of ghostly hauntings as you paddle slowly down the dark path through the base, leading to the water’s edge.
Can tombstones talk? Walk among the graves as the cemetery comes alive to tell stories of those who played a role in the city’s history. Volunteers dressed in costume portray the early citizens of Nashville who faced disease, violence and tragedy as they built Nashville into a leading southern city on the fringe of settled America.
Be part of a paranormal investigative team, Whispers from the Past, conducting research to decide if this historic home is haunted. Nathaniel Cheairs, a major in the Confederate army, built Rippavilla Plantation in 1853. Many say the history that followed still haunts the grounds; the property served as a field hospital during the Civil War. Staff and guests report feeling cold spots, hearing children laughing and boots pound the wooden floors, and smell the spirits of the past from rosewater perfume to pipe tobacco.
Amos Woodruff built this Victorian mansion in 1870 in Memphis. His daughter, Mollie, experienced great tragedy in her second-floor bedroom where she lost her infant son to yellow fever. Within the same year, her husband died in the same room after a boating accident. Guests say they’ve felt cold spots and heard unearthly noises in the bedroom. Staff members have reported needing to smooth out bedclothes. Visit the Woodruff-Fontaine House on Sundays through Wednesdays if you dare.
Costumed characters dressed like Elmwood residents bring history to life at the annual Costume Twilight Tour at Memphis’ oldest active cemetery. The Scandals & Scoundrels tour sheds light on the more salacious side of the city’s history and takes thrill-seekers to where their souls rest. On any day, guests can grab an audio CD and take their own 1-hour, self-guided tour of the 80-acre site. You can even pre-schedule a guided group tour for at least 10 people upon request.
The Medina Haunted Farm features ghostly ghouls, witches, cobwebs, coffins and things that go bump in the night. Tempt spirits and walk through nightmarish scenes on a darkened, wooded trail. Venture into the House of Horror to encounter nocturnal creeps. Located off the 45 Bypass on Cumberland Street in Medina, this family-friendly haunted house is put on by the Lions Club with proceeds going to charity.
This haunted experience is meant for adults and older teens only. Journey through a haunted house and twisted, trail paths where fear lurks behind every shadow. The 13th Realm features a fully haunted journey through buildings, a vortex tunnel, tight spaces and uneven paths through the woods. Guests can also gather around a bonfire and watch chilling horror movies.
Use the force to explore these Tennessee science museums and attractions that share family-friendly stories, creatures and discoveries.