Cryptids · Ghost Stories · Haunted Locations · Southern US · Spooky Travel · State by State Guide · Urban Legends

Tennessee is Terrifying

The Volunteer State is full of spooky stories & creepy legends! Read on below!

Cryptid

Tennessee Wild Man

The Tennessee Wild Man is their version of Bigfoot, typically spotted in the eastern side of the state. He’s said to be a light brown or dark orange color and has been spotted as recently as 2019!

Reference

Urban Legend

Skinned Tom

“Have you seen the ghost of Skinned Tom?
Bloody red bones with the skin all gone
Oh oh oh oh
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?”

And this gives “Ring Around the Rosie” a run for it’s money in terms of creepy tunes. I couldn’t find too much on the timeline, but one version I read had this incident taking place in the 20s. The was a young man named Tom who liked to date around; so much so it seemed that he started driving to another town to pick up dates. One woman he started seeing, Eleanor, didn’t tell him that she was married. One night, her husband followed them out to a lover’s lane where he dragged Tom from the car before skinning him alive. The next morning all the police were able to find was his skin, no body or knife.

Teenagers are warned to stay away from lover’s lanes as Skinned Tom is said to wander the back roads with the knife that was used to skin him, searching for a victim….

Reference

White Bluff Screamer

This is one of the creepier urban legends I’ve ever heard. West of Nashville is the town of White Bluff where there are tales of the “White Screamer.”

In typical urban legend fashion, no one quite knows the origin of the White Screamer. Is it a child that was locked away before murdering his abusive parents and escaping into the night? Is it a female spirit, which was said to float in a white mist? (This spirit is also said to have murdered an entire family while the husband was out hunting for it) Or is it an animal that escaped during a train crash involving a circus?

One thing is known for sure: the Screamer roams late at night, sending a bone chilling scream through the air on cold nights.

Reference 1

Reference 2

Hauntings

Chattanooga

Hunter Museum

The question doesn’t seem to be whether or not this museum is haunted but rather, what’s causing the haunting? Is it something that’s tied to an object on display here, or is it something in the building’s past? There are five ghosts that call the mansion turned museum home. While four may be tied to something housed within the museum, one seems to be tied to the building’s history.

Augusta Hoffman was living next door to the mansion when she vanished in 1915. Her family said that she ran off and got married but in 1924 her body was found under the floorboards during renovations. They found her body badly decayed and burned by acid. Her nephew and his wife were accused of her murder.

Augusta never seems to have laid to rest as she is frequently spotted at the museum. They’re not sure why she haunts that property instead of the one where she lived and died. My guess is that there are too many bad memories there.

Reference

Nashville

Union Station Hotel

In addition to learning that Nashville is more haunted than I would have thought, I also learned there’s such a thing as “Best Haunted Hotel in America”. Meaning, this hotel beat the Stanley Hotel, among others. Welcome to Union Station Hotel in Nashville. It was originally built as, you guessed it, a train station in 1900 before becoming a hotel in the 80s. As with all haunted hotels, there is a most haunted room. Here, it’s room 711. Spooky occurrences include: sudden temperature drops, flickering lights & the sounds of furniture being dragged in a room upstairs (even though room 711 is on the top floor) But, who’s haunting room 711?

It’s supposedly the ghost of a woman named Abigail. The story goes that during World War II she came here to the train station to say goodbye to her boyfriend who was heading to France. When she learned of his death she returned to the train tracks…I’m sure you can piece together the rest. There’s two versions of what can be seen on the platform.

One source has a woman seeing Abigail’s spirit jump with the spirit of a soldier arriving soon after, just missing her; they’re stuck on a loop just missing each other. Another source (the hotel’s website in fact) says that a soldier’s spirit has been seen on the platform and they think he’s come back to reunite with her (no mention of her being seen) I prefer this version of events with them being reunited vs being stuck missing each other for all time.

Reference 1

Reference 2

Capitol Hill

James Polk was President from 1845-1849, dying in June after he left office. He died of cholera so, following the law of the time, he was buried in a mass grave. Later, he was moved to his family’s property of Polk Place (which is what he wanted according to his will)

That’s an ok move in my book, even though you really shouldn’t be disturbing graves in the first place. It’s happened plenty though. 

But THEN he was moved AGAIN after his family’s property was sold. He and his wife Sarah were moved here to the Capitol’s grounds. 

….ok. Moving him off his family’s (albeit sold) land to the Capitol? Not great. They were going to move him to a 4th grave at his former childhood home turned museum but that seems to have stalled bc the article I read about it was dated 2017 & I just saw his tomb at the Capitol a few weeks ago. So it seems his 3rd resting place is his final one. It’s any wonder this area is highly haunted. 

A dark figure can be seen kneeling at the grave, appearing to be a man in a dark suit. Maybe it’s James himself, hoping to be left in peace.

Nashville Photo Prints

An American Haunting

One of the best known hauntings of all time, the Bell Witch, takes place in Adams, TN. It was named for the family that experienced the most torment while living there, the Bell Family.

It is not, however, a witch and it’s not just tied to the Bell family (who’s troubles began in 1817).
“It’s about violent physical attacks that have injured countless people and allegedly killed one man; it’s about a disembodied voice that, at one period in time, routinely disrupted local church services…The force known as the Bell Witch is immense. It is bold. It is terrifying. And it is real.” – Bell Witch: The Truth Exposed by Camille Moffitt Headley

If the Bell Witch isn’t really a witch though then…what is it? My reference for this case made 2 points

1) The cave on the property acts as a portal, a door to the spirit world which has caused many spirits to gravitate to and linger in this area. Yes, that means there are many spirits present here at any given time.

2) Even though there are many spirits in the area at any given time there was one in particular that became known as the Bell Witch that was targeting the family.

Some of the phenomenon attributed to the Bell Witch makes more sense when you think about it being more than one spirit, especially when there were multiple voices as well as different identities (one day it would claim to be a little boy, the next day it was an old woman, etc).

Reference: Bell Witch: The Truth Exposed by Camille Moffitt Headley

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