Haunted Places in Tennessee
The Ryman Auditorium
"And the Ghost of Hank Williams sings "Your Cheatin Heart" again"
~David Allan Coe
One of the most famous haunted places in Tennessee
as well as within the United States is the Ryman Auditorium which is the building that is most well known for its hosting of the "Grand Ole Opry"
. The structure itself is well over a century old and is one of approximately only 2,430 locations to be officially recognized by the government of the United States as an “NHL”
or “National Historic Landmark”
and is also listed in the “National Register of Historic Places”
. The Ryman Auditorium has hosted numerous celebrities including the most famous names in the country music industry. While the Ryman Auditorium is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city of Nashville, it has also become recognized as one of the many haunted places in Tennessee due to the reports of paranormal activity that are said to occur within the building.
A Brief History of the Ryman Auditorium
The Ryman Auditorium was originally constructed in the late 1800s by a man named Thomas Green Ryman who wanted an indoor venue for individuals who wished to attend the religious “tent revivals” that were popular during that era. The building was completed in the year of 1892 and was given the name “Union Gospel Tabernacle” which was kept until the year of 1904 when Thomas Ryan passed away and during his funeral services it was elected that it be renamed the “Ryman Auditorium” in honor of Mr. Ryman. In the year of 1943, the Ryman Auditorium was chosen as the new location for the extremely popular “Grand Ole Opry” show and eventually became known by its most famous name the “Grand Ole Opry House”.
The Ryman remained the home of the Grand Ole Opry for thirty one years until 1974 when it was relocated to a larger facility in Opryland specifically built for the show and officially named “The Grand Ole Opry House.” The Ryman Auditorium slowly deteriorated over time to the point where it was once considered for demolition until the early 1990s when several concerts performed by Emmylou Harris at the auditorium were recorded live and released on an album entitled “At the Ryman”. These performances played a significant role in the decision to restore the Ryman and renovations were completed in the year of 1994.
The Opry Curse
Due to a legend that has been called “the Grand Ole Opry Curse” and numerous reports of suspected paranormal activity made throughout the years, the Ryman auditorium has been added to the list of the many haunted places in Tennessee. The “Opry Curse” is a legend that has been around at least since the early 1970s and is based upon the fact that many individuals associated with the Grand Ole Opry have been the victims of untimely and tragic deaths. It is believed that over thirty five individuals have been the victim of the “Opry Curse” including the separate plane crashes that took the lives of Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves, the murder of “Stringbean Akeman”, a car crash that took the life of Ira Louvin, and a fire that caused the death of "Texas Ruby" Fox.
The Hauntings of the Ryman Auditorium
There are several different spirits that are said to haunt the Ryman Auditorium and while there are several haunted places in Tennessee, the names associated with some of these ghosts make it one of the most notable. It is believed by some of the employees at the Ryman that they have seen the ghost of who they believe to be Hank Williams Sr. backstage and one individual that reported seeing a “white mist” on the stage itself that they believe was Hank Williams singing. The ghost of Hank has reportedly also been seen in an alley way behind the Ryman that leads to Tootsie's Orchid Lounge which was an establishment where Mr. Williams reportedly frequented when performing at the Ryman.
Another frequently reported sighting is that of what appears to be a male figure dressed in all gray clothing and has become known simply as “The Gray Man”. While it has not been reported that this figure has been seen during the actual performances, he has been seen several times either during the rehearsals or after the performances sitting in the balcony area observing the stage. However, when an attempt is made to locate this individual in the balcony he is no where to be found. It has been said that the gray man is seen so frequently that many individuals have come to look for him when preparing for an upcoming performance.
Another spirit that is said to make his presence known at the Ryman is that of the original owner Thomas Ryman. Many believe that Mr. Ryman has made it clear that he has disapproved of some of the performances in the past by creating disturbances in the way of loud noises that cause interferences with these particular shows. These are just a few of the ghosts that are said to be haunting the Ryman Auditorium, therefore, you may want to include the Ryman on your list if you are interested in visiting haunted places in Tennessee.
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