Ghost House Trail
There are several claims of activity involving the Ghost House Trail. The first has to do with Maston Hutchinson’s daughter Mary. Mary’s loved ones claimed to hear her cries coming from the bedroom just hours after she had fallen victim to tuberculosis. People walking near the spot where the house used to stand claim to still hear Mary’s cries. A phantom dog has also been spotted on the trail. This claim dates back to the same night that Mary died. Her family and friends were traveling along the road leading to the where house once stood when a dog appeared out of the woods and crossed the path. Park goers claim to hear the panting of the dog coming from the woods. The final claim about this trail revolves around the family cemetery. Many claim that if you take a picture near the graves you can see the silhouettes of the long dead standing behind them in the picture. The name Ghost House Trail certainly seems to be a fitting name for this trail.
Indian Rock Trail
The trail leads past the spot where Peter Graves was ambushed, scalped and killed by
Native Americans. On many occasions, hikers have claimed to see the mutilated body of Peter walking around the area where he was brutally murdered.
Old Mill Trail
Norton Grist Mill marks the spot where a young girl was hung by her father. She had been accused of being a witch. Her sprit is said haunt the trail that leads to the mill. Not much else is known about this haunting.
The Man in the Woods
On many occasions, park visitors have seen a man walking in the woods far from the nearest trails. This man has been spotted by park rangers, who describe him as being middle-aged and wearing a red flannel shirt and gray work pants. He never speaks, just simply materializes and vanishes with out a trace. No one knows who this man is or if it is even paranormal.
For more info, check out these sites:
Big Ridge State Park was created in the 1930s as part of the Norris Project. The project was developed by the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), National Park Service, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Norris Project turned into three state parks (Big Ridge, Norris Dam, and Cove Lake). The park officially opened in May of 1934. Big Ridge is located about 25 miles away from Knoxville in Maynardville, TN.
In 1783, a man by the name of Henry Sharp established a pioneer fort beside Norris Lake in what is now Big Ridge State Park. When the fort was established it was part of Hawkins County, today it is located in Union County. Sharp brought his family as well as the families of his neighbors. Many of these families are still prominent members of Union County including Sharp, Graves, Hinds, Gibbs, Loy, Miller and Rice. Sharp’s Station was part of a network of trade routes and safe stops for travelers en route to Jacksboro . Some of the other stations in this network included: James White’s Fort, Well’s Station, Gibbs’ Blockhouse, Raccoon Miller’s Blockhouse, and Holmack’s Station.
On November 13, 1794 a settler from Sharp’s Station by the name of Peter Graves was ambushed by Native Americans on top of Big Ridge about a half-mile away from the station. The Natives where hiding between two huge boulders. Peter was killed and scalped. Peter was laid to rest in Lon Sharp Cemetery. He was the first settler to be buried there. A few weeks later the station was attacked. Fighting went on well into the night, by morning, none of the settlers were harmed and several attackers were wounded. The raiding party withdrew across the river. Fighting continued sporadically until the summer of 1794.
Norton Grist Mill
The mill was constructed in 1825 by Tim McCoy, who transferred operations to Lewis Norton and his sons. In the 1930s the TVA purchased the mill and surrounding lands as part of the Norris Project. People from all over the area relied on the mill to turn their corn into corn meal. The owner of the mill would take one gallon of meal out of each bushel ground into corn meal as payment. The mill wasn’t just for grinding corn, it was a spot for social gatherings. Locals would gossip with neighbors, traded knives and horses, played music, and sometimes told fairytales. The mill that stands today is not the original mill. The park service reconstructed it in 1968, vintage features from the original still remain including the raceway, gears, wheel shaft and mill stones.
In the 1800s Maston Hutchinson and his family settled in the Big Ridge area. While living in the area Matson’s daughter, Mary, was stricken with Tuberculosis. Like so many that contracted this disease she did not survive. Maston continued to live in the area until his death in 1910. He was laid to rest in the Norton Cemetery located just down the trail from his family home.
L.B. & Della Hutcheson
Lewis Bratch Hutcheson and his wife Della where amongst the settlers living in the Dark Hollow region of Big Ridge. L.B. was a Sheriff of Union County from 1930 until his death in 1935. L.B. was killed in the line of duty in May of 1935 when a group of criminals that had just escaped from the Cocke County Jail opened fire on road block L.B. had sat up on the Highway 33 bridge. After L.B.’s death, his wife Della was selected by the Union County Court to be the new Sheriff. She was the first female Sheriff of Union County and only the third in the state of Tennessee.
Hey, everyone! It’s been a long time since we posted an update, so I wanted to start off with an explanation…
For the past year, we’ve been researching several places throughout Tennessee. There are so many potentially haunted locations out there to explore, and we have reached out to a great many of them, trying to get a feel for where to investigate next. What we’ve come across in the vast majority of the cases has been that each site comes down to one of three things: the location wants us to carry some type of insurance policy so their business is protected (understandable), they want monetary compensation, or they’ve had bad experiences with paranormal teams in the past that have set them against the idea of any other groups coming in.
A couple of these leave us in a position to simply not be able to pursue them at this time, so we’re trying to prioritize the locations that require payment up front to come investigate. That’s part of what this trip to Asheville this past Sunday was about. We’re starting to also look outside the state of Tennessee for more ideas.
Zealandia (Asheville, NC)
Our first destination of the day was to a castle nestled in the hills above the city of Asheville known as Zealandia. Unfortunately, we arrived only to find the property hidden behind a gated driveway. We attempted to visit the Asheville Mystery Museum to gather more info on the place, but unfortunately they were closed at the time. The video below shows a local group investigating the inside of the castle. Looks like a very cool place, but we’ll need to find a better point of contact for obtaining more info on how to get in before this lead is going anywhere.
Helen’s Bridge (Asheville, NC)
Not far from Zealandia, you can find the somewhat famous Helen’s Bridge. It is said that a woman named Helen, who lived in Zealandia, lost her daughter in a fire on the property, and was so distraught that she hung herself from the bridge. Now she haunts the bridge to this day. We performed a couple of EVP sessions that yielded no results. However, we do intend to return for a follow-up investigation with more equipment at some point.
Lewis Memorial Park (Asheville, NC)
We visited this park briefly after reading claims of apparitions of a Confederate soldier appearing in the park on horseback. Honestly, it was simply a peaceful graveyard.
Grove Park Inn (Asheville, NC)
This place… well, it’s awesome. Grove Park Inn is an absolutely beautiful resort overlooking the mountains. The grand architecture and sheer size of the complex is awe-inspiring, and to top it off, turns out there’s a great ghost story with a lengthy history here. Apparitions of the “Pink Lady” have been reported since the 1950’s. Dozens of people have had first-hand experiences with this ghost, and while she has been seen in multiple spots all over the Main Inn, there is something extra appealing about room 545 to this particular ghost. I think it’s safe to say we will attempt to investigate these claims further in the near future. (Also, this Peet’s Coffee place inside the resort is legit.)
The Covered Bridge (Elizabethton, TN)
On our way back home, we stopped at this historic bridge. Though I’m skeptical to say it’s haunted, there was a murder of a young couple that took place on this bridge. Regardless of whether their ghosts still linger around the landmark, there is an ominous feeling one gets while standing in it’s presence. Perhaps it is just an overwhelming sense of the history you’re standing amidst, with colonial era homes right across the street, or maybe it is something supernatural. Either way, it is a spot worth checking out sometime if it isn’t too far out of the way for you.
Legends of Sensabaugh Tunnel
Sensabaugh tunnel has been a part of Tennessee folklore for years. Built in the 1920’s in Kingsport, TN and named after the man that owned the land, Edward Sensabaugh. A stream flows around and through the tunnel and the walls are covered in graffiti.
There are several claims of activity in Sensabaugh tunnel. One of the most frequently reported ones is the sound of a crying baby. It is also said that the apparition of a women will appear in the back seat of your car while driving through. Another one of the most common claims of activity, suggests that if you turn your car off when you are in the middle of the tunnel, you will not be able to turn it on again until you push it out of the tunnel. Many tales are in circulation about Edward and how the tunnel became haunted, every one of them differs depending on the source.
The Act of Kindness
Ed once let a homeless man into his house as an act of kindness. Shortly afterwards, the man tried to steal jewelry from Ed’s wife. Ed grabbed a gun and confronted the man. The man grabbed Ed’s infant daughter and ran from the house. It is said the he drowned the baby in the tunnel during his escape.
One tale revolves around Ed being a madman. Legend has it that, one night, Ed went crazy and murdered his wife and child. Ed proceeded to place the bodies inside the tunnel. No one really knows why he snapped.
“Get Out of My Tunnel”
Ed was always very protective of his land. In the 1950’s teenagers started to use the tunnel for many devious things. This upset Ed greatly. So, he started hiding in the woods and when a vandal would show up, he would let out a shrill that would echo through the tunnel. Needless to say this would scare off any unwanted visitors hiding inside.
Shelter from the Storm
One stormy night a mother and her child where driving through Kingsport. As the storm grew worse the mother decided that the roads where no longer safe to travel. When she came upon Sensabaugh Tunnel she stopped. They would not survive the night. The next morning their bodies were discovered inside the car, which was parked in the middle of the tunnel. Nobody knows exactly what happened to cause their sudden deaths or if it is even true.
What we found…
Regardless of the origin story, we visited Sensabaugh Tunnel for an investigation. During the investigation we tested the claim of if you turn your car off in the middle of the tunnel. We tired turning the car off several times, in both directions, and the car always started back. After spending several hours there and having not felt or experienced anything, we concluded the investigation. During the review process, to our amazement we found an EVP that sounds exactly like a baby crying. We hope to visit the tunnel at a later date in hopes that we can prove or debunk some of the other claims of activity.
Constructed in 1835, Bethesda Presbyterian Church is a remnant of the Civil War’s effect on East Tennessee. As the war began, the congregation divided in two: many sided with the Confederacy, though many more still were Union sympathizers. During this period, the church closed its doors. The Battle of Bean Station took place on December 14, 1863. After this historic battle, Confederate General James Longstreet arrived at Bethesda Church with 25,000 men who were stationed on the land until February 1864. During this time, the church served as a hospital. In the cemetery just outside the church doors, over 80 unknown soldiers were buried in mass graves. While some Union soldiers were laid to rest here, most of the unknown dead are presumed to have fought for the Confederacy.
In October, Federal troops pushed closer to the encampment at Bethesda during an engagement known as “Vaughn’s Stampede.” In November, Confederate troops pushed the Union soldiers back west towards Knoxville. This battle is known as “Gillem’s Stampede.” During this push, a cannonball smashed through the eastern wall and caused severe structural damage. The walls were quickly repaired and reinforced with iron bracings and rods that can be seen in the photo to the right. The original pulpit and high-backed pews remain to this day, and the floors lie permanently stained with the blood and disdain of our American predecessors.
As the war ended and soldiers from both sides began to return home, the congregation attempted to compromise and reconvene. Sporadic services dotted the calendars. Between 1866 and 1871, sympathizers of each cause sat in the outer pews, leaving the middle column empty. Eventually, one side left and helped form the First Presbyterian Church of Morristown. The remaining church body stayed through 1875. However, in time, the majority began attending the new Russellville Presbyterian Church.
Bethesda has remained closed since that time, save for a few irregular services held for major Christian holidays such as Easter. Now the building stands to serve as a reminder of the sacrifice of our ancestors in East Tennessee. Within its walls and grounds lies the story of a church body that symbolized the civil issues of the time. This once-unified group of people was just another casualty of a war among brothers.
As for potential paranormal activity, many have claimed to see apparitions of restless Confederate soldiers both inside and outside the church. The apparition of a weeping woman has also been seen on the far side of the cemetery. Her cries are often heard late at night. We have also heard reports of a “witch” buried on the grounds near the woods.
We investigated Bethesda Church and the surrounding grounds this past Sunday evening. Check back soon to see what we found!