Oh, Halloween - that time of year where the spooky and unexplainable become festive and fun. We enjoy a good scare or two as much as the next person, and with Halloween only a couple days away, we thought it’d be good to put a list together of some of the more notable haunted sites and experiences in the Nashville area. If you’re feeling adventurous and ready for a fright, get a group together and visit these famous locales. Share your best ghost stories with us on Instagram or Facebook, @lifestylecommunities. And Happy Halloween!
The cemetery seems like a reasonable addition to a haunted experience list, and this one happens to be the oldest continuously operated public cemetery in Nashville (opened in 1822). In response to the disrepair, vandalism and neglect over many decades, former Mayor Bill Purcell and the Metro Council approved a $3M project to restore the City Cemetery. Now, a walk through the grounds is truly a walk through Nashville’s history, with gravestones that tell the stories of individuals and families from the 1820s to the present day. Just don’t walk it alone…
In perhaps direct opposition to the cemetery is the inclusion of the Gaylord Opryland Resort on a must-see haunted places list. This beautiful, luxury hotel is known for its grandeur and opulence, but locals know the story of the famed Black Lady, too. As the story goes, she dresses in a large black gown from the Antebellum period and has been spotted by numerous guests over the years. Real or imagined? Only you can decide.
Home to America’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage is a stunning estate just northeast of Downtown Nashville. During the day, the home is open for public tours of the grounds, which include the mansion, the gardens, and Jackson’s tomb, where the former president, his wife Rachel and other family members were laid to rest. But, rumor has it, a large number of people who have visited the property have reported seeing an apparition that fits Jackson’s description walking around the halls. Is it really “Old Hickory” or just more folklore?
Not to be outdone by the Gaylord Opryland is the Union Station Hotel. Built in the late 1890s, Nashville’s Union Station Hotel was once a railroad station. It was later converted into a hotel, well known for its unique architecture and dramatic city views. It’s also known for reports of paranormal activity. Guests have spoken of an apparition of a young woman from the 1940s who lost her love during World War II. Spooky!
We’ve saved the best (or worst, depending on how easily you scare) for last. The Bell Witch story is certainly the most notable and recounted in all of Tennessee. Legend has it, the Bell Witch claimed to be the spirit of Kate Batts, a neighbor of John Bell who believed she was cheated by him in a land purchase. On her deathbed, she swore that she would haunt John Bell and his descendants. It seems that she followed through on that promise. The human interactions with the spirit date back to 1817, and even former president Andrew Jackson was quoted as saying, “I had rather face the entire British Army than to spend another night with the Bell Witch.”
These many stories attracted a great number of people to the Bell home, and it was eventually demolished for safety purposes in the latter part of the 1800s. However, the Historic Bell Witch Cave, Inc. has preserved some of the artifacts from the original cabin, and guests can view them along with other news articles and photos from the time John Bell and his family resided on the farm. Whether you’re a paranormal thrill seeker or simply a history buff, the Bell Witch Cave and Farm will not disappoint.