1345 Eastern Flank Circle
Status: Historic Plantation
Tennessee’s Most Haunted House
By Cailin McGlory
The road to Carton is rather deceiving. Coming out of downtown Franklin you’ll turn right onto Carnton Lane. You can’t miss it. What they don’t tell you is that Carnton Lane is at least a half mile long with trees lining both sides of the road and in the middle. The houses are all modern, save for one white one at the end of the trees. When you emerge from the trees you have a choice: follow the paved road left to the McGavock Family Cemetery, with the adjoining Confederate Cemetery, or bear right onto a gravel road that forces you to slow down to a crawl for to go any faster will envelope you in a cloud of dust.
As you follow the curving driveway, the side of the house comes into view, as does the visitor center. A parking lot sits between them. After purchasing tickets, you approach the back of the house through a white gate. To the right of the house, a hundred feet away, is Mrs. McGavock’s garden which is being reclaimed and rebuilt to its former glory. Identical porches run parallel to each other on the upper and lower stories of the house, extending past the edge of the house on the right side. In the days before air conditioning, family and guests would sit on that part of the porch to enjoy the breeze that would blow though, unobstructed. During the Civil War, the upper porch and extension were used as a lookout point by Gen. Nathaniel Forrest. The lower porch extension held the bodies of four Confederate Generals (Cleburne, Stahl, Adams, and Granbury) while the survivors paid their respects. Generals Cleburne and Forrest have been seen on the lower and upper porches respectively.
As you near the house, its sadness reaches out to embrace you. The amount of death and suffering has left a lasting impression on the house and grounds and with each new visitor the energy seems to come alive. Carnton has earned its reputation as Tennessee’s most haunted house. From the moment you step foot on its lawn, the history and tragedy of the home draws you in. The sprawling landscape saw much bloodshed from thousands of dying and injured. Guests to the property have reported hearing phantom cannons, rifles, and the thundering hooves of horses. A police officer one night was investigating a person pacing the lower porch after hours only to realize it was the long dead General Cleburne.
General Forrest is not alone on the top balcony. An unknown woman nicknamed the widow of the South is often seen in the center, crying for her unknown husband or lover who was killed in the battle. Mrs. McGavock herself has been seen roaming her former home.
While most of the hauntings can be traced to the Civil War, not all stem from that traumatic event. Carnton’s plantation house wasn’t the first building on the property. To the left of the house is the original detached Kitchen. Between the kitchen and the current building is a gaping hole where Mr. McGavock’s father built a much smaller home. When John took over the property, he built the plantation house which still stands today. The original house was destroyed in 1905 during a tornado but the outline of that house can be seen on the wall of the plantation house. Two doors that used to connect the two houses are still there. It was in the original house where one servant (as the family referred to their slaves) murdered another by loping his head off. The spirit of the headless servant can still be seen in the dining room of the current house. Another servant, Maria, worked for the family before and after the war as is also seen throughout the house.
The McGavock’s suffered a great deal of personal tragedy during their time at Carnton. They lost three of their five children in childhood; one died and was buried in Louisiana where Mrs. McGavock was originally from. People have seen the McGavock children in the house, sometimes peering out the windows, and sometimes playing outside. Guests have felt the children push past them and looked around for living children, only to find none present. Their mother, Carrie McGavock, is frequently seen throughout the house, grounds, and wandering the cemetery. She and her husband John donated two acres of land adjacent to their family cemetery for the burial of the Confederate dead. The names were written down in a “Book of the Dead” which Carrie watched over for the remainder of her life. Carrie is also said to have hidden the personal effects of General Cleburne under her mattress until she could ensure they would be sent to his next of kin. She is remembered for the care she gave to the wounded and dying who littered her house. Amputations and surgeries took place in the upstairs bedroom and the blood of the soldiers seeped through the carpets and stained the wooden floors. These stains are still visible today. She played the piano at night, not only to drown out the cries of pain and grief to calm her children, but also to try to comfort the soldiers. The next morning she prepared breakfast for those still alive, and it was noted that her dress was soaked with blood. Carrie not only opened her home to the fallen, but also her heart. She cared for the wounded, mourned the dead, and guarded their memories for the rest of her life. In death she continues to watch over their final resting places.
The extreme emotions and the violent trauma experienced at Carnton scared it’s walls and grounds with intense emotional energy that is still strong 148 years after the Battle of Franklin (II) 30 November 1864. In five hours, 10,000 Confederate soldiers were dead, wounded, or missing. Many of the wounded ended up at Carnton. Many of them never left Carnton.
401 North Roane Street
Status: Former Hospital; Formerly Abandoned
Paranormal Research Center; Paranormal Investigations Can be Booked
Previous to the hospital the Cumberland Hotel was built on this property. At some point it – either the late 19th century or early 20th century – the hotel had a fire. While there are virtually no historical records regarding this fire it has been confirmed there were fatalities.
The original hospital – the old building – was constructed in 1938 and opened in 1939.
By the 1970’s the hospital occupied it’s entire block with state of the art operating theaters and an ICU.
In the 1990’s the so-called “new building” was added containing 4 storeys.
The hospital was closed in 2013 and left abandoned. In 2022 the same people who saved the Old South Pittsburgh Hospital and turned it into a paranormal research center as well.
This location is open for day and night paranormal investigations; it is also used as a movie set.
Reports of paranormal activity date back to before the hospital was closed.
In a section of the hospital called A3 – which was used as the cardiac unit and part of ICU – a nurse named Joanna worked until the 1970’s. She died fairly young from a heart attack herself but not before promising co-workers she would be making visits after death.
The apparition of Joanna is still seen walking the halls and rooms of A3 forever completing her rounds and checking on patients from the past. Or perhaps checking on patients who remained here after death.
Other Reported Activity: apparitions of former staff and patients; shadow figures; touches, tugs and pulls from unseen entities; disembodied voices; unexplained sounds from whispers to loud bangs; phantom sounds of babies crying; figures standing in the windows; objects moving on their own; doors opening and closing on their own; electrical disturbances; light anomalies; feelings of unease and feelings of being watched and not being alone.
531 S Main Street
Status: Burger Bar & Dive
This building was first used as a dry goods store on the first floor and a brothel on the second floor. Eventually the store would become a bar but the brothel remained open until the State forced its closure.
Throughout its many owners it always remained either a bar or restaurant or both which it remains today. Ernestine and Hazel’s today is a neighborhood establishment with an established and very loyal clientele that still avoids commercialization.
Many apparitions related to the building’s past have been seen including that of a man that was caught on film walking through the front of the building – on the film he is seen as completely see through. The apparitions are most commonly seen near the bar as well as on the second floor.
The phantom face of a man was also seen on the stairway between the first and second floors. A woman’s face is also seen in the doorway of a former second floor bedroom. Phantom voices and whispers have been heard. Shadow figures patrol the building.
Most unique to this haunting is the haunted juke box. Not only will the juke box turn itself on and play music with no one using it but it has been known to seemingly listen to conversations around it and suddenly begin to play music that is appropriate to the conversation. Haunted items are fairly common but one possessing intelligence as this one seems to is extremely rare to say the least.
680 Adams Avenue
Status: Former Residence; Former School; Heritage Property; Museum; Ghost Tours Formerly Available
By <a href="//commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:VictorianVillage&action=edit&redlink=1" class="new" title="User:VictorianVillage (page does not exist)">VictorianVillage</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
This Victorian mansion was built in 1871 by Amos Woodruff who made his fortune constructing carriages.
The house is located on what was once called Millionaires Row.
In 1883 Woodruff sold the mansion to Noland Fontaine – another Memphis businessman – who lived in the mansion until 1929.
The house then bought by Rosa Lee who converted it into an art school. In 1959 the school moved to Overton Park and the mansion was left abandoned.
In 1961 the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities bought the house and converted it into a historical museum.
The museum is open to the public as well as being bookable for events such as parties and weddings.
There have been ghost tours in the past through Viator but they are no longer bookable. It is unknown whether they will be available in the future or not.
This location’s most famous ghost is that of Mollie Woodruff.
She spends most of her time in her former bedroom on the second floor called the Rose Room. She is often seen by the impressions she leaves on the bedspread on her bed. It is inaccessible by the living as it is roped off.
There is at least one report of her apparition appearing in her bedroom. She casually spoke to the people present explaining how her furniture was arranged when she was alive and how she would like to be returned to that lay out.
She also has appeared around the rest of the mansion and seems to be acting like the gracious hostess she would have been in life; making sure people are happy and enjoying her home.
On at least one occasion she followed a ghost tour and listened in on what was being said.
There is also an unidentified male entity who – unlike Molly – is extremely unfriendly. His presence makes people jittery, uneasy and feel unwanted. He has even torn a necklace from the neck of female employee.
Status: Former Maximum/Medium Security State Prison, Abandoned
No Public Access
The original State Penitentiary on Church Street was opened in 1831. This prison housed female prisoners with the male prisoners and ran a strict policy of convict labor. Prisoners were expected to work up to 16 hours for terrible rations and slept in unventilated and unheated cells.
In the Civil War Union forces took over the prison to jail Confederate sympathizers. They somehow made it possible for conditions to worsen.
In 1898 a new penitentiary was built with the many of the out buildings being constructed with material from the original prison. In this, they brought over the pain and energy into the new prison which would create its own Hell.
In 1902 inmates blew a hole in the prison killing one inmate and allowing two others to escape – they were never recaptured. In 1907 stole a switch engine and used it to smash through the prison gates. In 1938 the prisoners staged a massive escape.
There were many fires, two riots and an uncountable number of inmates killed.
In 1989 the State opened a new prison – Riverbend Maximum Security Penitentiary. In 1992 this institution was closed permanently as part of a Class Action Suit that got a court injunction stopping any prisoner from being housed in this prison ever again.
Massive overcrowding and inhumane treatment were the highlights as to why the prison was forced closed.
During the March 2-3, 2020 tornado outbreak an EF3 tornado did significant damage to the abandoned facility.
Anyone entering the prison is subject to criminal trespassing charges – which is now guarded by the owners as in the Department of Corrections. Public safety is sited as the reason as the facility is now is such bad shape entrance to the property could result in severe injury or death.
The site is also full of asbestos.
Apparitions of former inmates including those executed in the Electric Chair on site. Not surprisingly, considering the evil that once housed here, the apparitions have acted aggressively toward the living. In fact, most people who have been on this site describe a pervading sense of energy seeking to do them harm.
The ghostly sound of someone banging on the cell bars that echoes throughout the empty prison.
Disembodied wrenching screams. Some of these have been so loud and convincing that people thought someone else was on the property playing games.
Phantom footsteps – sometimes suddenly right behind you – but no one is there. It is without a doubt that you are being stalked by unseen presences if you enter this site.
Other Activity: shadow figures; time and dimensional slips; electrical disturbances; feelings of not being alone, not being wanted, being stalked and hunted; empathic feelings of hatred, sadness and a pervading sense of pure evil; light anomalies; cold spots.
(Brushy Mountain Correctional Complex)
Status: Former Maximum Security State Penitentiary; Heritage Property
Open for Historical and Paranormal Tours including Overnight Investigations
By <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/people/27142448@N00">Michael Hodge</a> from Wartburg, Tennessee, USA - <a rel="nofollow" class="external text" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mhodge/3368424935/">Brushy Mountain State Prison</a>, CC BY 2.0, Link
This prison was built in response to the 1891 Coal Creek War. Coal miners were locked out of the mines for protesting the use of unpaid prison labor to do the mining. In the end the miners won and Brushy Mountain Mine and Prison were built.
The prisoners worked the mine and the coke ovens as well as building the first prison; which was made of wood. In 1920 the castle structure that now dominates the former prison was opened. It was built by stone that prisoners removed from the quarry on site.
The were few escape attempts; but of that few most were successful. The most famous escape attempt – and ultimately unsuccessful one – was by James Earl Ray who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. He jumped a fence with six other inmates but was captured 58 hours later in the forest surrounding the prison.
In 1972 the guards went on strike protesting unsafe working conditions. This shut the prison down until 1976 when it was reopened as the only unionized prison in the State. There were many attempts to break the union before the prison closed down but none succeeded – including multiple attempts to just shut the prison down.
Up until the 1980’s the prison was classified as maximum security and the worst of the worst were sent here. The prison is called “The End of the Line” because once you went in you didn’t come out. Although there were no State executions on site there were plenty of unofficial executions. It is said in the old days guards would just shoot a prisoner and leave his body to rot in the yard.
In the 1980’s the prison changed to a reception/classification prison meaning it held all types of convicts until they were taken to another prison to serve their sentence. The penitentiary did retain its maximum-security classification though due to a 96-bed facility on site that housed the worst prisoners in Tennessee custody.
On June 11, 2009 the prison closed its doors – one year after becoming the oldest operating prison in the State – and the remaining inmates were transferred to Morgan County Correctional Complex. In 2018 the prison opened for tours and to host events.
There is now a distillery and restaurant on site as well as both historical and paranormal tours.
It is estimated about 10,000 people met their deaths in this prison.
Once again, despite being listed as one of the most haunted locations in the State and the Country there is very few documented encounters with the paranormal. Of course, that may be because the Ghost Tour keeps its secrets very close.
There are apparently a few hot spots within the site including the hospital, the auditorium, the ‘Hole’ and near the cell of James Earl Ray.
Many prisoners gasped their last breath after accidents, injuries or illness in the hospital. The auditorium was where movies were shown giving prisoners darkness and proximity to take care of any grudges – personal or otherwise. As for the Hole, that was were those who got caught breaking the rules were kept in solitary confinement – back in the good old days it is rumored prisoners were hung by their thumbs here.
The following activity has been documented here: apparitions of former guards and prisoners; shadow figures; possession; attacks by unseen entities resulting in scratches and bruises; touches, pokes and prods by unseen entities; doors opening and closing on their own; time slips; disembodied voices including those that respond or react to the living; all manner of unexplained sounds including loud bangs, screams, moaning, laughter etc.
Empathic feelings of intense evil, hatred, sadness, depression and loneliness; cold and warm spots; unexplained winds and breezes; phantom footsteps often heard approaching or following you; unending feelings of not being alone, not being wanted and being followed; electrical disturbances, light anomalies and unexplained mists.
The energy in this location is said to be so disturbing it has led to physical illness in some visitors.
520 East Main Street
Status: Historical Haunted Hotel; Staff Open to the Haunting
Weekend Overnight Paranormal Investigations Available
In the 19th Century summer vacations became trendy for the first time in the USA. Especially vacation spots with mineral springs.
Early in that century a New York City entrepreneur bought the mineral springs in Red Boiling Springs in an effort to turn them into a vacation hotspot. He succeeded and in 1890 Zack and Clay Cloyd built the original Cloyd Hotel to turn the new destination visitors into a steady flow of cash.
The original hotel was completely destroyed by fire in 1924. In 1927 it was replaced by the 2-story red brick building that the hotel is now known as the Thomas House. In the 1990’s another fire destroyed one wing of the current hotel but it was rebuilt.
CNN lists this hotel as the second most haunted location in the USA.
The hotel is said to have been the site of numerous murders, suicides – which would be the norm for most hotels over 100 years – and, although we could find no historical proof, it is believed there were fatalities related to both fires.
There are also stories of a cult making its home in the hotel at one point.
People have seen dark figures in their rooms. There are also reports of the beds shaking in the night. Disembodied voices are frequently reported and many people say the voices follow them down the halls and throughout the hotel.
The apparition of a young girl said to be the daughter of one of the Cloyd Brothers who built the first hotel. The apparition of a tall man who is said to be one of the brothers themselves.
Other Activity: shadow figures, cold spots, phantom screams, light anomalies, doors opening and closing on their own, objects moving on their own, electrical disturbances and feelings of being watched.
Corner of State Hwy 338 (Boyd’s Creek Hwy, Old Knoxville Hwy) and Cedar Springs Valley Road
Status: Former Residence; Battle Site; Former Museum; Air BNB; Private Property
In 1780 John Sevier – one of the founding fathers of the State of Tennessee – while exploring this area destroyed a force of Cherokee on the spot where the plantation now stands in what is now known as the Battle of Boyd’s Creek; thus, opening this area to American colonization.
In 1791 a Revolutionary War veteran named Timothy Chandler moved his family to Boyd’s Creek from Virginia. In 1819 his son, John, built a farmhouse on this site but it burned down in 1823.
In 1825 the existing plantation house was built to replace that farmhouse.
In 1850 Wheatlands was one of the largest farms in Sevier County covering 4,600 acres (1,900 hectares) producing – among many crops – 6,000 gallons of whiskey a year.
When the US Civil War began the lands surrounding Wheatlands quickly fell to Union Forces and became the winter headquarters to the 10th Calvary out of Michigan.
When the Civil War ended and the slaves of the former Confederate States were freed Chandler paid his former slaves to remain working on the plantation. When he died, he willed a part of his lands to his former slaves. This land became known as Chandler’s Gap and was a primarily an African-American settlement until well into the 20th century.
Only the plantation house, a storage shed and a smokehouse survived to the 21st century and were used a heritage museum for a period but are now only visitable by booking as an Air BNB.
The link to book the Air BNB is above.
This is private property do not enter unless you have booked it.
There is rumored to have been at least 70 murders and deaths within the walls of the plantation.
The house is also said to be built on top of a giant geode which provides both an endless source of power and as well as a magnet for the dead.
There are also rumors of the grounds being part of battles in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars as well as the Cherokee massacre. On that note there is said to be a mass grave with the remains of at least 23 Cherokees on site.
There are also 50 slave graves on the property.
The apparitions of the former members of the Chandler family have been seen both in the plantation house and on the grounds.
The apparition of little girl in a blue dress is often seen running up and down the stairs.
Apparitions of former slaves are frequently seen on the grounds with most appearing very upset to the point of anger. One story is that a little slave boy who appeared soaking wet and very angry who ran through a living boy causing him to lose consciousness and suffer an intense emotional upheaval.
The ghosts of other slave children have been reported as happy and running around the property. They will even play hide and seek with the living once they notice any living person becoming aware of them.
The phantom yells of a man followed by a heavy thud and gurgling noises said to be quiet disturbing to those who hear it. This said to be an etheric replay of man murdering his son. There are even said to be bloodstains on the parlor floor from this heinous event.
Other Reported Activity: shadow figures as well as shadow people; disembodied voices especially near the slave gravesites; light anomalies; electrical disturbances; unexplained mists; objects moving on their own; doors opening and closing on their own; phantom footsteps; phantom sounds of battle including screams, guns and canyons firing; empathic sensations of uneasiness and feelings of being watched and not being alone.
1055 Pittsburgh Landing Road
Status: Historic Civil War Battlefield
This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Ernest Mettendorf. This applies worldwide.
This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Ernest Mettendorf. This applies worldwide.
The full scope of this battle is well beyond this website which is primarily concerned with the paranormal. What follows below is merely a brief synopsis.
The Battle of Shiloh was one of the first major battles in the Western Theater of the US Civil War.
It was named after the Shiloh Methodist Church; a small church near Pittsburg Landing where the Union army landed for the battle. The Union forces called it the Battle of Pittsburgh Landing.
24,000 men were killed, wounded or lost in the battle.
The battle took place on April 6 – 7 in 1862 involving 65,000 Union troops under General Ulysses S Grant and 44,000 Confederates under General Albert Sidney Johnson (who died in the battle).
This battle did end in a Union victory although they did not pursue the Confederate forces so it was not a decisive victory for either side. Rather, it began a 6 month battle for the Corinth rail junction which the Union would take in May and resist a counter attack on in October.
The Shiloh National Military was established in 1894 – mainly because the surrounding farmers were complaining their pigs kept digging up soldier’s remains, and they wanted the federal government to do something about it - and it was transferred to the National Park Service in 1933.
The Shiloh Nation Cemetery contains the remains of 3,584 Union soldiers – of which 2,357 are unidentified – and 2 Confederate soldiers. An unknown number of Confederate soldiers are buried in mass graves.
It is said there are 3 places in the United States to see those who fought and died for your freedom: Pearl Harbor, Gettysburg and Shiloh.
The apparitions of soldiers from both sides are often seen on the grounds; they are obviously continuing to fight the battle into eternity. Entire regiments of Confederate soldiers have been seen marching into the battle.
A pond nearby frequently turns completely red from the blood of the dead men and horses that were thrown into it during and right after the battle.
The phantom sound of drumming is commonly reported on the former battlefield.
Phantom footsteps and gunshots are also frequently heard.
Other reported activity: disembodied voices and shouts; electrical disturbances; empathic sensations of fear and uneasiness; light anomalies and feelings of being watched.
(South Pittsburg Hospital)
1100 Holly Avenue
Status: Former Hospital
Paranormal Research Center
During the Civil War the local Chiaha Tribe allowed the Union Army to store artillery and other weapons of war here. Unfortunately, the Confederate Forces broke through resulting in numerous fatalities in the area the hospital now stands.
In the summer of 1863, the Union Forces recaptured the area and held onto it until the end of the war. This battle – as war always does – created more fatalities and casualties.
Although it cannot be historically proven there is a story that there was a plantation house where the hospital now sits. This, of course, was between the Civil War and when the hospital was founded. At some point the plantation house caught fire resulting in the deaths of multiple children.
The area is fed by a spring and consists of mostly limestone; both of these things are said to hold memories of the past resulting in paranormal activity.
In 1959 4 doctors founded the hospital in order to serve the medical needs of the growing community. Much the same as any hospital, there were many deaths and hardships in the building before it closed in 1998.
In interviews with former staff, it’s been revealed that there was paranormal activity in the hospital previous to its closing. Including shadow figures in the halls and peeking out of doorways at night when all the patients were sleeping and objects moving on their own.
On the third floor there is an entity said to be about 7 feet tall that has told many people to “get out”, or “to leave”. He is thought to be a surgeon who once worked in the hospital.
On the second floor – other reports put him on the third floor - there is the ghost of little boy nicknamed Buddy who likes to play with visitors and investigators.
There is a former janitor named James that died in the 1960’s that is most commonly found in the basement – he has been reported all over the building though – and is described as a protective spirit. He is most often heard pacing and whistling.
Also in the basement is the ghost of a small child whose apparition has been seen or – more often – he is heard playing.
Again, in the basement, is a rather unique ghost nicknamed the Naughty Nurse. She is known for touching people inappropriately and whispering ‘naughty things’ in people’s ears.
Other Activity: apparitions of former staff and patients; shadow figures; objects moving on their own; doors opening and closing on their own; cold and warm spots; touches, pokes and prods by unseen entities; feelings of being watched and not being alone; unexplained noises; light anomalies and electrical disturbances.