Uncover the Most Haunted Places in Nashville

  • By: Timothy Rose
  • Date: 7 December 2023
  • Time to read: 9 min.

Haunted Places in Nashville

Johnny Cash once said, ‘I keep a close watch on this heart of mine,’ and in Nashville, a city pulsing with music and history, there are many hearts and spirits that seem to linger on. Uncovering the most haunted places in Nashville is like walking through a live ballad of the past. The Ryman Auditorium, a cathedral of country music, is rumored to host more than just live performances, with ghostly figures and unexplained sounds in the wings. The Union Station Hotel, grand and storied, echoes with the whispers of travelers from another era. The Belle Meade Plantation, with its regal beauty, is shrouded in tales of old Southern spirits, while the abandoned Tennessee State Prison looms with stories as chilling as they are captivating. Each haunted site in Nashville tells a story, a melody of mystery and history, entwining the city’s rich musical legacy with its spectral inhabitants.

From haunted mansions and spooky battlefields to spectral-filled hotels and unsettling prisons, this city’s got it all. So, buckle up as we venture into the labyrinth of Nashville’s most haunted places, where the past refuses to rest, and phantoms continue to narrate their unfinished stories.

Is Nashville Haunted?

Nashville, fondly known as “The Athens of the South”, carries a history that is as varied and vibrant as its music. Founded in 1779, it served as a prominent location in the American Civil War, with pivotal battles like the Battle of Nashville leaving indelible marks on its landscape. This turbulent history, marred by war, tragedy, and death, has cultivated a fertile ground for countless ghost stories and sightings.

From its earliest days as a frontier fort along the Cumberland River to its transformation into a bustling, modern city, Nashville has seen prosperity, devastation, and everything in between. This tumultuous past often takes center stage when discussing the city’s haunted reputation. It is said that the spirits of Nashville are deeply entwined with its history, their stories echoing within the walls of historic homes, theaters, and other landmarks.

In the following sections, we’ll explore the sites where history and hauntings intertwine, providing a glimpse into the city’s haunted past. These ghostly tales serve as an eerie reminder of Nashville’s complex history, offering a unique and chilling way to explore the city’s past. Ready to meet some of Nashville’s eternal residents? Let’s get started.

The Ryman Auditorium

Known as the “Mother Church of Country Music,” the Ryman Auditorium, built in 1892, is a landmark that carries a significant portion of Nashville’s soul within its walls. But when the stage lights dim and the music fades away, the spectral tales of this historic place come alive.

The auditorium, originally a tabernacle built by Thomas Ryman, has been host to countless concerts and events over the years. It’s said that the spirits of those who once graced its stage still linger. In particular, the spirit of Ryman himself is believed to haunt the auditorium, often seen sitting in his favorite balcony seat. Visitors and staff have reported hearing phantom applause, footsteps, and even the strumming of a guitar echoing through the empty hallways.

Ryman Auditorium - Credit Brent Moore
Ryman Auditorium – Credit Brent Moore

Adding to the spectral cast is the ghost of Hank Williams Sr., a country music legend. Many performers have reported feeling his presence or hearing his voice humming along to his songs when they’re played on stage. While the Ryman Auditorium continues to resonate with the sound of music, it also echoes with the whispers of its spectral residents, making it a must-visit for those intrigued by the haunted history of Nashville.

The Hermitage

The Hermitage, the plantation home of the seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, is a site of significant historical importance. However, its rich history is also intertwined with numerous ghostly encounters, adding a layer of intrigue and mystique to this historic mansion.

The Hermitage - Credit Onasill - Bill Badzo
The Hermitage – Credit Onasill – Bill Badzo

Visitors and staff at the Hermitage have reported a wide range of paranormal activity. Some have claimed to see the apparition of President Jackson, clad in his military uniform, wandering the property. His laughter and the clinking of his boot spurs are often heard in the mansion’s hallway. Others have reported seeing the ghost of his wife, Rachel Jackson, who died before Jackson’s inauguration and is said to still reside in her beloved home.

Furthermore, strange occurrences have been reported in the garden where several family members, and possibly enslaved individuals, are buried. From the inexplicable aroma of roses, despite no roses being planted, to sightings of ghostly figures and hearing whispers in the wind, the Hermitage remains a hotspot for supernatural phenomena. A visit to this stately mansion offers a glimpse into the past and, perhaps, an encounter with some of its long-deceased residents.

Tennessee State Prison

The Tennessee State Prison, with its imposing structure and formidable history, is not for the faint of heart. Opened in 1898 and officially closed in 1992, this historic site has seen more than its fair share of tragedy and strife, making it a magnet for paranormal activity.

Its Gothic architecture, solitary confinement cells, and the chilling death row wing have been the setting for many tales of the supernatural. Stories of ghostly apparitions, unexplained noises, and feelings of being watched are common among those who dare to visit. The spirits of former inmates, particularly those who met their end within the prison walls, are said to linger in the now-deserted corridors. There have also been sightings of a ‘shadow man’ who lurks in the darkness, adding to the eerie atmosphere of this abandoned penitentiary.

Tennessee State Prison - Credit Wayne Hsieh
Tennessee State Prison – Credit Wayne Hsieh

The prison has also gained fame from its appearances in various films and music videos, including “The Green Mile” and “Walk the Line”, making it a popular location for those interested in both film history and the supernatural.

Union Station Hotel

Constructed in 1900, the Union Station Hotel was once a bustling railroad terminal, welcoming travelers from far and wide. Today, it’s a luxury hotel that hosts more than just living guests. The hotel’s striking architecture and grandeur are accompanied by tales of eerie encounters and ghostly guests.

Union Station Hotel - Onasill - Bill Bad
Union Station HotelOnasill – Bill Badzo

The most famous ghostly resident is said to be a woman named Abigail. According to local lore, Abigail threw herself in front of a train after receiving news of her lover’s death in the war. Guests and staff have reported seeing her apparition, usually dressed in early 20th-century clothing, wandering the hotel, particularly around the old track area. Some have even claimed to hear the phantom sound of a train whistle late at night.

The Union Station Hotel combines luxury with a hint of the supernatural, offering a unique stay for those seeking a side of spectral intrigue with their Nashville visit.

The Capitol Building

Perched on a hill overlooking downtown Nashville, the Tennessee State Capitol Building, completed in 1859, is a beacon of the city’s historical and political legacy. But like many old buildings, it’s believed to be home to a few spectral inhabitants.

The most notorious ghost said to haunt the Capitol Building is that of Samuel Morgan, a builder and architect who died during the construction of the building. Workers and visitors have reported hearing unexplained footsteps echoing through the halls and seeing a ghostly figure, believed to be Morgan, supervising the area.

Another spirit believed to haunt the Capitol is that of William Strickland, the building’s architect. He died before the building was completed and was entombed in the building’s northeast wall. Witnesses claim to have seen his apparition wandering the premises, seemingly inspecting the building he never saw completed.

Carnton Plantation

Carnton Plantation, located in Franklin, just outside of Nashville, witnessed one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War—the Battle of Franklin. The plantation served as a makeshift field hospital where hundreds of wounded and dying soldiers were treated. This heavy history has led to numerous reports of paranormal activity.

Carnton Plantation - credit Jim Bowen
Carnton Plantation – credit Jim Bowen

Visitors often report seeing ghostly soldiers wandering the grounds, hearing the sounds of phantom gunshots, and even smelling the distinctive odor of gunpowder. The most well-known spirit is the “Lady in White,” believed to be the ghost of Carrie McGavock, the plantation’s mistress who devoted her life to caring for wounded soldiers and maintaining the cemetery. Her spectral figure has been seen on the back porch of the plantation house and wandering through the cemetery.

Belmont Mansion

The Belmont Mansion, built in the mid-19th century by Adelicia Acklen, one of the wealthiest women in the country at the time, is another site known for its paranormal activity. Today, the mansion serves as a museum and is the largest house museum in Tennessee.

Belmont Mansion - Credit Onasill - Bill Badzo
Belmont Mansion – Credit Onasill – Bill Badzo

Visitors and staff have reported a variety of ghostly happenings, from seeing the apparition of Adelicia herself to hearing phantom music playing on the old piano. There are also stories of a little girl’s ghost, believed to be one of Adelicia’s children who died at a young age, seen playing in the mansion.

Each of these locations adds a layer to the spectral tapestry of Nashville, revealing a city where history and the supernatural walk hand in hand.


As our spectral journey through Nashville concludes, we’re left with a deeper understanding of the city’s rich and complex history, interwoven with tales of the supernatural. Each location we visited, from the hallowed halls of the Ryman Auditorium to the stately rooms of the Belmont Mansion, tells a story that transcends time, reflecting the city’s vibrant past and enduring spirit.

These haunted places are not just tourist attractions but repositories of the history and culture of Nashville, where spectral inhabitants serve as eternal custodians of the city’s past. Ghost stories, while spine-chilling and mysterious, are also historical narratives, glimpses into the lives of those who came before us. They persist because they offer us a connection to our past, a way to remember and honor those who have shaped our present.

For the residents of Nashville, these stories are part of the city’s unique charm. They provide a thrilling exploration of the unknown, a shiver down the spine, a sense of mystery and wonder. And for the visitors, they offer an unconventional lens to view the city, a way to experience Nashville that goes beyond music, food, and tradition.

Whether you’re a believer in the paranormal or a skeptic, the haunted places of Nashville offer a fascinating journey through the city’s past. So, the next time you stroll through the streets of Nashville, listen carefully; you might just hear the echoes of a ghostly tale, a spectral melody, or a phantom’s whisper. Welcome to Nashville, where history is alive… and so are its ghosts.

FAQs – Haunted Places in Nashville

1. Is Nashville known for being haunted?

  • Yes, Nashville, Tennessee, is home to many places notorious for paranormal activity or being haunted. Its rich and turbulent history has given rise to countless ghost stories and sightings.

2. What are some of the most haunted places in Nashville?

3. Who are some of the famous ghosts reported in Nashville?

  • Notable spirits include country music legend Hank Williams Sr. at the Ryman Auditorium, President Andrew Jackson at The Hermitage, and the “Lady in White” at Carnton Plantation.

4. Can I visit these haunted locations?

  • Most of these sites are open to the public, and some even offer guided tours that focus on their haunted history.

5. Why is the Ryman Auditorium considered haunted?

  • The Ryman Auditorium is believed to be haunted by several spirits, including Thomas Ryman and Hank Williams Sr. Visitors have reported phantom applause, footsteps, and guitar strumming.

6. What happened at the Carnton Plantation during the Civil War?

  • Carnton Plantation served as a makeshift field hospital during the Battle of Franklin, and the heavy history of wounded and dying soldiers has led to numerous reports of paranormal activity.

7. Are there any haunted hotels in Nashville?

  • Yes, the Union Station Hotel is known for its ghostly encounters, particularly with a spirit named Abigail who is believed to have died tragically at the site.

8. What kind of paranormal activities have been reported at the Tennessee State Prison?

  • Visitors have reported ghostly apparitions, unexplained noises, feelings of being watched, and sightings of a ‘shadow man’ at the now-deserted Tennessee State Prison.

9. Can I experience the haunted side of Nashville even if I’m a skeptic?

  • Yes, the haunted places of Nashville offer fascinating insights into the city’s past, whether you believe in the paranormal or not. Many locations are of historical importance and can be enjoyed from that perspective.

10. Why do the residents of Nashville embrace these ghost stories?

  • These stories are part of Nashville’s unique charm and cultural heritage. They provide an exciting exploration of the unknown and serve as historical narratives, offering a connection to the city’s past.

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