Between its notorious plantations, cursed caves and haunted hotels, Tennessee has plenty of bone-chilling, hair-raising, pulse-raising activities to keep you busy this Halloween. Here are seven of the most haunted places in Tennessee – but don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Scariest places in Tennessee
1. Wheatlands Plantation, Sevierville
Wheatland’s Plantation has a miserable history. Located off Boyd’s Creek Highway, the 1820 Federal Style home was Tennessee’s largest plantation. At one time, 300 slaves lived here. It also played a significant role in the Battle of Boyd’s Creek during the Revolutionary War; 28 Cherokees were killed here and some say they never moved on. Over 70 slaves died and were buried here too.
The Chandler family owned the house from the early 17th century and many claim they’re still lurking. Inside, you can still see the bloodstained walls of a father killed by his son with an iron poker.
2. Tennessee State Prison, Nashville
It might have closed its doors in 1992, but just because they don’t let anyone in doesn’t mean there’s no one that could come out… This former correctional facility near downtown Nashville was built in 1889 and housed some of the most dangerous criminals of all time. Prisoners lived in enforced silence and worked 16 hour days. An onsite electric chair nicknamed ‘Old Sparky’ executed over 100 prisoners and authorities eventually closed it down due to its inhumane conditions. Local lore says they’re still roaming around the halls. People claim to have hear blood-curdling screams, disembodied footsteps echoing down the corridors and cell bars clanking.
If it looks familiar, you’ve probably seen it in The Green Mile.
3. Shiloh National Military Park, Shiloh
One of the bloodiest battles in the Civil War took place here, with 23,000 casualties in just two days. With so many dead and wounded, it follows that a few spirits would’ve stuck around to get their own back. Visitors claim to have seen ponds turn blood red and soldiers running in the night. Listen closely and you might just be able to catch the sound of drums and muskets making their way towards you…
4. Lotz House, Franklin
Built in 1858, Lotz House was at the epicentre of the gruesome Battle of Franklin. Its traumatic past explains why so many spirits stick around – and why the Travel Channel described it as “the second-most terrifying place in America”. Visitors have reported seeing a woman crying out, a little girl staring out of the window, a somber drum beat and moving objects.
If you’ve booked onto one of their infamous ghost tours, don’t expect pranksters and fake blood. They’ll be telling bone-chilling reports of unexplained phenomena seen by hundreds of visitors over the years.
5. Bell Witch Cave, Adams
Caves are spooky at the best of times, but we’ll wager Bell Witch Cave is one of the creepiest. Local lore tells that a woman called Kate Batts was cheated by a man called John Bell in a land purchase. On her deathbed, she swore to haunt Bell and his descendants. Rumour has it that his daughter, Betsy Belll, was tortured by her for years. Even the former president Andrew Jackson said, “I had rather face the entire British Army than to spend another night with the Bell Witch”, after he and his troops spent the night at the Bell’s farm.
6. Cragfont, Castalian Springs
Built in 1802 by General James Winchester, Cragfont was the most fashionable home around here for a long time. But stylish can’t keep out the supernatural, an in a house as old as this you’re bound to find a few supernatural hangers-on. Visitors have seen candlelight flickering at the windows at night, when no one is in the house. Others claim to have seen the ghost of Winchester himself. Even Country singer Conway Twitty claims to have seen spooky things going on. He reportedly left the house after insisting ghosts were throwing objects at him.
7. Thomas House Hotel, Red Boiling Springs
CNN named this the second most haunted spot in America, but it hasn’t always been prone to murders, cults, fires and gruesome accidents. Built in 1890 as a luxury resort spa for holidaying elites, it’s one of only three hotels remaining from the early twentieth-century resort boom at Red Boiling Springs. But over the years, visitors have reported sinister figures, unexplained cold spots, disembodied voices and moving beds.
Perhaps it has something to do with being built on top of an ancient Native American trail. Some say the spirit of Sarah Cloyd, the daughter of one of the Cloyd brothers, has stuck around, along with a guest who fell from a horse and drowned in a nearby stream. For the best chance of bumping into the occult, head to Room 37 or take one of the ghost tours this Halloween.