Haunted States: Tennessee

Franklin, TX. The site of “other” bloodiest battle during the Civil War, The Battle of Franklin. The old farmhouse that sits at the top of the hill, the Carter family farmhouse, stands as a quiet reminder to the battle that day in November, 1864.

Thousands of men were killed, wounded or went missing that day, but what makes this story truly scary is that it literally happened in the backyard of an average family’s home, on an average autumn day. What’s more, the battle was so bloody, its said that many bodies were not only unrecognizable, their remains blended with others in large, heaps, unable to distinguish where one cadaver ends and another begins.

The Carter family took shelter during the battle in the home’s cellar as the battle wages all around them. When they emerged the next day, their entire property- their backyard- was said to be knee-high in blood, carnage and debris. The battle took so many lives, to this day, when highway workers have dug around the area to lay cable, or expand the roadway, human remains have been found.

My own experience came when I was given a private tour of the farm, and interior tour of the farmhouse by one of the docents that works the property. This was quite a treat, as the public is not usually permitted inside, at least not at the time. I had just covered the area for the Travel Channel the day before and had promised to return when I had time to take in the entire museum on my own time. I think I shocked the curator when I actually showed up! He must have thought I was putting him on, but as a history junkie, I really did want to take in this solemn spot in my own time- not with the rush of a TV crew. So the curator treated me and a few tourists who happened to overhear my request to go inside the farmhouse, to a private tour.

The main floor was lovely, rich in wood work and detail. Nothing creep at all. It was the tiny pair of shoes that can be seen at the edge of the open stairway that seemed “off.” I inquired about them, and was told they had belonged to the youngest Carter family member who had lost his life while playing on that spot and lost his footing. This tragedy is totally unrelated to the battle that had taken place outside, but adds to the sadness of the property.

Upstairs was a room said to have been visited by mediums, and many paranormal investigators and other TV shows that was believed to have been haunted by a rather mean old woman. Indeed, the room was decidedly colder than any other room in the house. It contained a rocking chair that our guide said had, on occasion, moved by itself. I kid you not when I say as we left the room, we heard a squeak. It could have been a floorboard under foot, but I swear it sounded like a rocking chair. No one had the nerve to look back as we scrambled down the hall.

It was getting dark, so we ended our tour there. As we walked back to the parking lot, our guide with one last haunting tale. He told us that at night, like it was now, when it is quiet and the last tourists have gone, many an employee has heard the distant sound of guns, and voices calling out over the darkened rolling hills.

For more, visit The Carter House home & museum. I highly recommend it. You can find more information here.

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