When we think of Nashville, we’re often thinking about delicious BBQ, the shopping on Broadway and of course, our favorite — country music! However, Nashville is so much more than what we see. With a rich history, it’s also a lot of what we don’t see.
Gaylord Opryland Resort
Known simply as “The Black Lady,” this ghostly apparition dressed in antebellum-style clothing and a long black veil over her face, shows up at night in the darkest of places on the Opry Land Resort. Employees and guests claim to have seen her walking through corridors and grounds with a frown on her face. Some say it might be the spirit of Mrs. McGavock, whose family owned the estate before it was a resort.
Twenty minutes northeast of Nashville, Hermitage is the most haunted location in Tennessee. Formerly the home of our nation’s seventh president, Andrew Jackson, the home is now a public museum for tourists. Yet Hermitage, which also housed slaves in its day, has found many citing its thousand-acre estate as haunted with tourists hearing voices, screams, the rattle of chains, and the sound of pots and pans rustling in the kitchen. Some even say they’ve seen apparitions of slaves appear on the balcony, while President Jackson walks the grounds — because he’s buried in the garden.
Well-kept and modern, you’d never think Capitol Records was haunted, right? After discovering the home he built was not helpful in climbing the social ranks, local businessman, Jacob Schnell gifted the home to his two daughters, who remained in the mansion until their death — with one of them even left to decay for more than a week. Years later, Capitol Records tore down the property but the sisters never left. Employees report objects being moved and placed in strange areas of the office, lights flickering, doors opening and closing on their own, electronic equipment malfunctioning and footsteps in the hallway when you’re completely alone.
Tennessee State Prison
Tucked away in the hills of West Nashville stands an architectural beauty that exudes sheer creepiness. Used for the setting of numerous films over the years like The Green Mile and seen in two of Eric Church’s music videos, the prison is a blooming hub of paranormal activity. Tourists report ghostly sightings, unexplained sounds, voices and of course, footsteps. Gaining notoriety for attempted jailbreaks, riots, overcrowding and unexplained deaths, many claim to hear strange noises, cell doors closing, and feel cold spots that leave a chill down your spine.
Legend has it that the two responsible for building the Capitol haunt the grounds today. Like The Odd Couple, William Strickland and Samuel Morgan continuously argued over the lack of funds and delay in construction. While Strickland may have died before the building’s completion, the state was grateful to his contributions and entombed him in the Capitol’s vault — where Morgan was also buried. Today, employees not only claim to hear men shouting and cursing at one another, but the Times Free Press reports sightings of a woman roaming about in an old-fashioned dress and a Union soldier who comes out whenever there’s a disruption in the halls.
Union Station Hotel
Several stories of paranormal activity swirl around Union Station Hotel, but the most heartbreaking might be that with the train derailment and subsequent deaths that occurred on the grounds as the spirits of travelers linger at what was their last boarding stop. Tourists have experienced lights flickering and cold spots at the hotel, but the scariest might be the sounds heard by several of a woman wailing and an apparition jumping to her death. Stories have it that a young bride flung herself to death from Room 711 after learning the love of her life would not return from war.
In addition to roaming the mansion, reports state the full-bodied ghost of Adelicia Hayes haunts the Belmont campus grounds. After losing her husband seven years into her first marriage, Hayes’s four children died before the age of 12. Years later she remarried but that too was short-lived as her second husband was killed in the Civil War and their twin daughters passed from scarlet fever. Months later, Hayes died and was buried in Nashville. Many report she sets off motion detectors in Belmont and its buildings at night as she wears her 1800s style antebellum gown, floating around. Museum guides have even heard her speak softly, asking to rearrange furniture. Psychics believe she won’t rest until she finds her children.
Ryman might be known best for its music, but the building is connected to a long string of hauntings. Gaining popularity in the early '40s as the home for the Grand Ole Opry’s radiobroadcasts, several state the auditorium is cursed. Since the 1970s, individuals associated with the Opry have been the victims of untimely and tragic deaths. Because of this, reports of paranormal activity have sprung up over the years. Employees believe the ghost of Hank Williams Sr. roams Ryman as he sings with his guitar on stage and down the alleyway towards Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. Others claim to have seen “The Gray Man,” a former confederate soldier who enjoyed the auditorium during reunion parties so much, that he returned to watch shows. He’s made several friendly appearances that performers now look for him in the balcony when they rehearse. Many also believe the original owner Thomas Ryman haunts the auditorium by creating disturbances and loud noises.