The Ghostly Apparition of Shipley Hollow

As you travel north on US Highway 27 from Chattanooga heading towards Dayton, TN, you will cross through a small community known as Sale Creek. Sale Creek is located in northern Hamilton County, not far from the Rhea County line. If you look off to the right side of the highway (coming north, to the left if you're going south), you will see a back road named Daugherty Ferry Road. Follow this road, and you enter Shipley Hollow and find much lovely countryside. Shipley Hollow is a quaint little community on the banks of Sale Creek that has changed little over the years. Aside from farmland and forests, you might also find a ghost!

The glowing white apparition which inhabits Shipley Hollow has been reported since the late 1800s. In those days, the ghost was known to hitch a ride on the back of carriages. Since carriages have now given way to automobiles, sightings have been less frequent, but they still occur. The spirit is most commonly seen along Daugherty Ferry Road or Shipley Hollow Road. Just off Shipley Hollow Road is Shipley Cemetery, a very old and historic cemetery. Many believe the ghost originates from there. Shipley Cemetery is full of ancient rocks and unmarked graves, and it is difficult to estimate how many people are buried there. Perhaps the apparition is that of someone buried there who is now long forgotten.

If that is the case, the ghost is known to wander away from the cemetery. The ghost is also seen near an old mill located in the area. The idea that it might be someone hanging around the mill is implausible, since mosquitos keep everyone away from Sale Creek! Those who claim to have seen it say that it is a trademark ghost: glowing, and can be seen through. A ghost with a history of over a hundred years is difficult to determine who it might be. Perhaps it isn't buried in Shipley Cemetery at all, but in a long forgotten grave along the side of the road. Being so forgotten might drive a spirit to try to make people remember who it was during life.

The Mysterious Disappearance of David Lang

The disappearance of David Lang is one of the most interesting stories of Middle Tennessee. Some claim Lang was abducted my an invisible UFO, some claim he slipped into another dimension, and still others claim the story never happened at all.

The story goes like this: It was a warm afternoon on September 23, 1880. David Lang was a prominent owner of a horse breeding farm just outside of Gallatin, TN. He left his house and began to walk across the field towards his barn, with his wife and two children watching. At the same time, Judge Austin Peck and Lang's brother in law rode into the farm. Suddenly, Lang simply vanished into thin air, in the plain sight of his wife, children, brother-in-law, and Judge Peck! They immediately began to search for him, but were unable to find any evidence of him. Neighbors were called in, and search parties organized, but no trace of David Lang was ever found. Studies of the field found no holes or underground caves that he could have fallen into. Lang had simply vanished off the face of the Earth!

About nine months after this event happened, the children went to the spot where their father had vanished. They noticed that the grass had all died forming a circle where Lang had last been spotted, and no animals or insects would go near it. One of them ventured into the center and heard the faint sound of their father calling for help. They rushed to get their mother, and she heard it too. Years later, the daughter, Sara, reported to have received a letter in their father's handwriting which simply read "help, help, help..." over and over. Sara turned to Spiritualism for help, and told her story in the 1930s. It has since became one of the greatest legends in Tennessee.

Some though are not convinced. They say that the fact that the story was not told until over 50 years after it happened makes for a rather large margin of error. Like all legends, there are also some varied accounts which tend to dilute the credibility. Still, this story remains fascinating, and if it is accurate, it is one of the most incredible stories in the world.

The Blood Stained Mausoleum

John Henderson Craigmiles was a very successful man. He was a former sea captain, and a prominent business man in Cleveland, TN during the 1800s. However, his endured more tragedy than most people can imagine.

Nina Craigmiles was born on August 5, 1864, to John Henderson Craigmiles and his wife, Adelia Thompson Craigmiles. From the day she was born, her entire family fell in love with her, especially John. He showered her with affection, and bought her the best toys money could buy. He rarely ever let her leave his sight, and, as a result, she had few friends her own age. Some people have suggested that she wanted friends her own age, but if she did, she didn't appear to want for it very much. She seemed very happy in such a loving family.

Sadly, on October 18, 1871, that happiness came to an end. It was Saint Luke's Day, and Nina's grandfather, Dr. Gideon Blackburn Thompson, was taking her for a ride on a horse and buggy. He had done this many times before, and Nina absolutely loved riding. Apparently, Dr. Thompson lost control of the horse and buggy, because it went directly into the path of a train. Dr. Thompson was thrown to safety, but Nina was killed.

The entire town was saddened by the news, and many people showed up for her funeral. After her funeral, Dr. Thompson and two others were baptized. The Craigmiles were devout Episcopalians, and since the Episcopal congregation of Cleveland did not have a church to visit at, John Henderson Craigmiles vowed to build one, which he did in memory of Nina. Saint Luke's Episcopal Church was consecrated on the third anniversary of Nina's death. It was (and still is) a very beautiful church. Not long after, Mr. Craigmiles had a mausoleum built behind the church in memory of his daughter. She was laid to rest inside, as was another infant son who died, and Mr. and Mrs. Craigmiles. Mr. Craigmiles met an untimely death after falling on some ice, which apparently triggered blood poisoning. A third member of the family had met a tragic death.

Today, if you visit the mausoleum, you will notice red streaks the color of blood appear on it. Almost everyone agrees that these streaks appeared just after Nina was laid to rest inside. These streaks are said by many to represent the tragedy that the Craigmiles family endured. People have tried many times to wash of these streaks, but they cannot. No one can explain what caused them to appear.

In the area around the mausoleum, children have been known to play. Some children have claimed to see the ghostly apparition of a young child dressed in 1800s style clothing. Other people have also reported seeing this, and hearing crying coming from the vicinity of the mausoleum. Local legend says that it's Nina crying and wanting to play with the friends she never had in life. For years, youth in the area would approach the mausoleum after dark as a test of bravery. Many failed this test.

No one doubts the pain endured by the Craigmiles family. One can only hope that it doesn't remain now, after their deaths'.

The Legend of the Wampus Cat

Cats have always been associated with evil. Tales of witches almost always include a black cat, and if a black cat crosses your path, it is considered bad luck. If you ever meet up with a Wampus Cat, I'd say it's almost certainly bad luck.

The Wampus Cat has been a part of East Tennessee, as well as Kentucky, Virginia, and much of the Appalachians, for a very long time. In fact, longer than white settlers have been in the area. It was known as Ewah to the Cherokee, and was known for it's ability to drive people crazy. The legend is that the Wampus cat was actually a Cherokee woman who did not trust her husband. One night, when her husband was out with a group hunting, she put on a mountain lion fur coat, and went to spy on him. When she was found out, she was punished by being forced to wear the coat forever, and now her spirit still wanders the area.

Another version of the tale goes like this: The Wampus Cat had been terrorizing the Cherokee for quite some time. One day, a young brave decided to put an end to it once and for all. He went on a quest to destroy the beast. Unfortunately, when he saw the beast, he was driven insane. His wife decided that she would take care of the problem herself. She put on a mask and went searching for the beast. She was able to sneak up behind it. She screamed, and when the beast saw her mask, it was so terrified, it ran away and was never seen again. The spirit of the young woman still wanders the forest wearing her mask.

The Wampus Cat is not limited to Cherokee lore. Indeed, many white settlers claimed to have seen it, and many current residents of Knoxville and many other towns have claimed to have seen it. They all claim it is a catlike beast which walks on it's hind legs, and has glowing, hypnotic eyes. One of the early settler's explanation went like this: The was a woman who lived alone who was known to be a witch. At night, she was turn herself into a cat, and steal animals from farms in the area. One day, someone caught her midway through her change from a woman to a cat. As a result, she was forced to stay a half woman, half cat forever.

The sightings continue, from such unlikely places as the University of Tennessee campus. Some say the "cat" actually lives in caves under the city of Knoxville, others say in the mountain wilderness, and of course some say it doesn't exist at all. One thing's for sure: I wouldn't want to meet up with it.

The Haunted Baumgartner House

Located in Marion County, TN, not far from Chattanooga and the Alabama border is this house, which is said to be the oldest house in South Pittsburg, having been built in the 1840s or 1850s. The house looks small from the outside, but is quite large once you go inside. The house is located across the street from an old cemetery and a small church, which is now maintained by the South Pittsburg Historical Committee. The house is said to be the home of the first undertaker of South Pittsburg. Today, the house is said to be haunted by the undertaker, his wife, and their son, who were the Baumgartner Family.

The ghosts of this house tend to be passive. They don't seem to cause much disruption, but they are often seen. Several former inhabitants of the house have been frightened away by their presence, even though they don't seem to mean any harm, or to intend scare anyone. Even so, these ghosts are highly visible. Many people from the town claim to have seen them peering out the windows, or to have seen strange lights emulating from the house. No one seems to be able to explain what is going on.

Upon entering the house, one is said to be possessed with an uncanny fear that they are being watched. Many a visitor to the house spends a great deal of time looking over their shoulders, because of the strange presences they feel. The undertaker's wife is the most commonly sighted of the ghosts, but they have all appeared at times. They are usually the typical "ghostly figures," whom wear 1800s style clothing. It's enough to make almost everyone uneasy.

The undertaker and his wife are buried across the street in the old cemetery. There aren't many stories of hauntings there, but there are a few vague tales. The house might be the most haunted place in Marion County, and is probably the most visible. If anyone ever tries to sell you this house, think twice. You might get more than you paid for!

Another Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Sleepy Hollow is a small area of Trenton, TN, located in Gibson County. Along a rural stretch of road called Sleepy Hollow Lane is an area where an unusual urban legend is told. According to this legend, if one pulls over to the side of the road, rolls down his or her window and yells "come to me" three times, he or she will see and hear many, many ghosts. Then your car will not start again until the next morning.

Though this sounds like an obviously fictional legend, there are still those who refuse to do this. Though they claim they don't want to look foolish to passersby, one wonders if this is the only reason. A handful of people have tried it, and they say that odd things do indeed happen, but that the legend has been far exaggerated.

It's not clear whether this tale is true or not, but the name of the area in which it centers is certainly fitting.

Aunt Crecy Apparition

The residence located at 610 North Jefferson Street in the beautiful historical district of Shelbyville, TN, is said to have been once haunted by the ghost of a sweet old grandmotherly type whom was known as "Aunt Crecy."

In life, Aunt Crecy was Lucretia Pearson, who had lived in the house until her death around 1892. Mrs. Pearson had lived with her husband outside of town, but had persuaded her husband to build her that house in town so that she would be close to the Presbyterian Church which she loved very much. After they moved to Shelbyville, Mrs. Pearson became a well known figure in the town, and was known far and wide for her good-natured, friendly, and courteous personality. If she wasn't attending church services, she was usually sitting on the porch of her house, weather permitting. She loved her house so much that she rarely left it if she didn't have too.

When she died around 1892, it was said that she didn't leave the house at all. Unlike many of the evil spirits which are said to haunt other residences, the ghost of Aunt Crecy was very kind and gentle. She only have gentle, and usually helpful reminders that she was there. For example, if a window was left open, she would close it before it began to rain. Most visitors to the house reported feeling a gentle presence in the house. The house was considered by most of the locals as being haunted.

In 1931 there was a fire at the house, which destroyed Aunt Crecy's old room. Since then, there have been little or no reports of the apparition. Perhaps, with part of her beloved house destroyed, she moved on to the other side. Or perhaps she's still there, just keeping quiet.

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