A Haunting Vacation: Ghosts of the Great Smoky Mountains

Ghost stories and haunted houses have been a part of American culture for hundreds of years. The stories provide thrills and chills, and many love sitting around a campfire listening to the storyteller share their scariest tale. An anticipated ending, the unexpected flashlight hoisted into speaker’s face, and the peak of horror has become a tradition for story lovers everywhere.

Whether you believe these tales to be true or not, Tennessee has plenty of haunted history – hauntings based on real people and actual events. Many of these haunted accounts are well-founded and interest ghost hunters from all over.

Where do these hauntings occur? The areas surrounding the Great Smoky Mountains are some of the most haunted in the state. Some regional ghosts tours have even made lists of some of the best in the U.S., and all of these attractions are open year round. Read about these popular paranormal places and other freaky fun things to in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area:

Ghost Tours Gatlinburg TN

Photo: Bryan Sherwood

Take a Ghost Tour

Grab a lantern and take a nighttime Gatlinburg GhostWalk tour through grave sites, houses and other haunted buildings, some predating the Civil War. Learn about the history and ghostly tales from researchers and scientific investigators. All stories are original and true, and many include Cherokee tribe and early settlement history. Tours are available for couples as well as large and small groups.

When in the area, the Dandridge GhostWalk tours the state’s second-oldest town. See nearly a dozen sites, including a historic cemetery the company calls “very spirited.” Dandridge is a quick drive from Pigeon Forge and offers its own haunted legends and history.

Mysterious Mansion Gatlinburg TN

Photo: Erica…M

Scream in a Haunted House

Those who love a traditional haunted house experience will enjoy the Mysterious Mansion, Gatlinburg’s original haunted house. Guests can tour this three-story house full of secret passageways and actors who delight in scaring everyone. Take caution though because you may get lost in this top attraction, and it is noted to have a real ghost as well.

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure, another top-rated attraction, takes you through 10,000 square feet of actors and scary scenes. If oddities are your thing, find shrunken heads, themed exhibits and a spinning vortex tunnel the Odditorium.

Dine in a Haunted Restaurant

Dating to 1939, Greenbrier Restaurant is a family-friendly dinner spot raved for its menu and service. There is, however, an interesting twist. Investigators and visitors claim Lydia, a resident of the original lodge, haunts the restaurant. The legend says Lydia hung herself thinking she had been left at the alter when her fiance had in fact passed away due to an animal attack. Some visitors claim seeing her on the stairs or feeling her presence.

Ready to grab the camera and head out for your ghostly adventure? Find where to stay in the Smoky Mountains.