Brushy Mountain Penitentiary in Petros TN
Photo Credit: Maycreate/Sarah Unger

Meet Tennessee's Ghosts This Fall

Travel to Tennessee for a hauntingly good time that can only be Made in Tennessee.

Want to hear a spooky story this fall? Travel to Tennessee for a hauntingly good time that can only be Made in Tennessee.

Haunted Hotels

Gaylord Opryland Hotel - Nashville

Gaylord Opryland Hotel is one of Nashville's luxurious hotels, home to nine acres of gardens and indoor waterfalls, beautiful accommodations and extensive dining options. But, did you know it's also frequented by a ghost? Reports have been made that an apparition visits the hotel. People have said they have seen ghostly figures. The ghost is known to rattle the chandelier in the Magnolia Lobby.

Thomas House Hotel - Red Boiling Springs

Book a night or two at 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.

Haunted Theaters

Bijou Theatre - Knoxville

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.

Orpheum Theatre - Memphis 

Theater legends surround 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.

Haunted Homes

Historic Rugby

You've heard of haunted houses, but have you visited a haunted town? Plan a trip if you dare to Historic Rugby, filled with ghostly residents who never left. Take one of the After Dark Tours - a Haunted Village Lantern Tour and the Haunted North Village & Cemetery Tour offered Thursdays to Sundays. Both tours dive into the rich history and ghost stories, all told by lantern light. 

Oaklands Historic Mansion - Murfreesboro

Oaklands Historic Mansion is known as Murfreesboro's spookiest historic home. The mansion celebrates with Tombstones at Twilight 7-10 p.m. Oct. 8, 15, 22 and 29, 2021 where you can walk the evergreen Cemetery after dark and see the final resting places of thousands of Murfreesboro's citizens. Hear their stories and the unique history of the area.

Lotz House - Franklin

Lotz House, an 1858 home, was dubbed "The Second Most Terrifying Place in America" by the Travel Channel last October. The rich history of the home provides fodder for unexplained phenomena like an apparition of a woman crying for a loved one, a little girl staring out the window, the sound of drums, and the displacement of ordinary items. Located just north of the Carter House on Columbia Avenue, the Lotz House was at the epicenter of the fighting during the Battle of Franklin. Franklin on Foot will share stories of the soldiers who fought the battle 6 p.m. every Friday night in October at Lotz House. Reservations are required.

Cragfont - Castalian Springs

Paranormal teams have investigated Cragfont - one of the oldest houses in Middle Tennessee - numerous times, even Travel Channel. Orbs, noises and objects seemingly moving on their own have all been recorded at the circa 1802 home of General James Winchester. The general's brother was killed by Native Americans before construction of the house began. It's said his spirit still wanders the property. The caretakers of the property have seen unexplained, numerous dead insects in one of the bedrooms, deep impressions of bodies lying in beds and have experienced pushing and hitting from invisible forces. Tours are available April 15-Nov. 1 weekdays, except Mondays and Sunday. Call for an appointment. 

More Haunted Locations

Bell Witch Cave - Adams

You'll want to hunt the only authenticated ghost in the U.S. (and a sinister one, at that): the Bell Witch who resides in the Bell Witch Cave in Adams, Tennessee. The witch, who once identified herself as Kate Batts, an old neighbor who claimed to have been swindled by John Bell and vowed on her deathbed to haunt him and his descendants, was known to be violent toward the Bell family: beating the members, throwing things and leaving rooms in ruin. Once John Bell died and daughter, Betsy broke off her engagement under the instruction of the witch, the ghost left them in peace for seven years. She returned for a while and then vowed to return in 107 years. It's said she returned in 1935, and now inhabits the cave. Take a tour of the cave and experience the story yourself. Throughout October, the Bell Witch Fall Festival has storytellers and performers come to regale the legend along with other historic stories and plays.

Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary - Petros

Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary was a prison started in 1896 as a jail and a coal mine for Tennessee. Some of the nation's most dangerous prisoners came to Brushy including James Earl Ray, Paul Dennis Reid and others. Today, the penitentiary is open for self-guided daytime tours, but also paranormal tours where visitors may hear footsteps, disembodied voices and see apparitions. Though the death penalty was never carried out here, some inmates did die of natural causes or by the hands of their fellow inmates.Tour guests have been shoved, growled at, touched and even scratched by invisible forces. 

Ghost Walks

Appalachian Ghost Walks - Johnson City

Tennessee's cities and towns host ghost walks throughout the year, giving visitors an opportunity to have their own close encounter with the abnormal and paranormal. A few to consider include the Appalachian Ghost Walks, which occur around Johnson City, Jonesborough (a Travel Channel "Top Ten Haunted Towns in America"), Rogersville, Gatlinburg and more. Jonesborough also conducts a ghost tour through the East TN Tours & Paranormal Technology. The certified tour guides lead participants along Historic Jonesborough's streets by candlelight, sharing historic facts and stories sure to leave a shiver down your spine.

Chattanooga Ghost Tours - Chattanooga

Weekend ghost hunts and day and nightly tours are available through the Chattanooga Ghost Tours. Bring a camera to document the ghostly orbs, full figures and mists that are seen at some of the locations you visit. Referred to as the Most Haunted Public Square in America, Gallatin Ghost Walks host weekend tours in October in and around downtown Gallatin. Visitors can hear the history of the area and perhaps experience seeing orbs and figures in their photos. Sevierville hosts History & Haunts every Saturday in October. Visitors can walk downtown Sevierville to hear family-friendly ghost stories. 

Columbia Ghost Tours - Columbia

Hunt for ghosts every Friday and Saturday in October.
Photo Credit: Visit Columbia Tennessee

Take part in the fall tradition of ghost hunting in downtown Columbia, Tennessee by going on a Columbia Ghost Tour. A guide will walk you through several locations downtown that are rich in history and eerie tales that will send a shiver down your spine. Tours are $10 and occur every Friday and Saturday in October. Tours start in front of the Maury County Courthouse at 8 p.m. Call 931-797-3316 to reserve your spot.

Places in this article

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