Halloween Hauntings, Part 8:
“And all we see and all we seem/Is but a dream within a dream” EDGAR ALLEN POE
There are those who say that ghost are just a figment of the imagination, or delusion of the masses; that those who see such things are hallucinating or having a “waking dream.”
Then there are those like Mark Twain, who said “I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m still skeered of ’em.” Perhaps such doubting Thomases may want to take a day trip to Sumner County some October eve, just a few miles north of Downtown Nashville.
Downtown Gallatin, Tennessee, is home to several resident ghosts, all of which are fully documented in Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee
Crossing over Mansker’s Creek, the first place you come to is Monthaven–the old Fite place. It used to sit in splendid isolation on a hill overlooking the creek, where Gallatin Pike and Centerpoint Road meet. Nowadays it has a cluster of apartments and condos nestled all about it.
During the Civil War, the mansion was the site of a dust-up between General Morgan’s Rebel raiders and some Yankees, and the mansion was used as a temporary field hospital. Moaning in pain and begging for some laudanum or whiskey, wounded soldiers were carried upstairs to a room where a door panel had been converted into an operating table and their limbs were sawed off to the sounds of them shrieking in pain. Several of the soldiers died there and their ghosts still haunt the place.
A little farther up the buffalo trail that is now Route 31E is Hazel Path. Like Monthaven, this old antebellum home used to sit alone on a hill; now it is the center of an office complex and not lived in–but the dead still reside there and in the adjacent school built over the old pioneer cemetery there.
Edging up several miles more, just before Gallatin proper, is the entrance to what they now call “The Last Plantation.” At one time, Fairvue Plantation would have put Scarlett O’Hara’s Tara to shame. It was once the home of the fabled Adelicia Acklen–the original Steel Magnolia. Opulently wealthy and stunningly beautiful, Adelicia knew how to wrap men around her dainty fingers. She went through three husband, bore a number of children and managed to come out of the Civil War richer than when she went in, despite the depredations of the Yankees. While today a gaggle of upscale homes cluster around Fairvue, the old manse still stands–and is haunted by multiple ghosts,
We would be remiss not to mention the old downtown of Gallatin itself–alleged to be the most haunted town square in Tennessee. Surrounding the county courthouse are a cluster of old buildings, some dating back to before the war. Some of them are occupied by law offices, others by retail stores, some are vacant; but all are occupied by ghosts of one description or other.
In this short space I cannot begin to list all the spooky spirits of Sumner: for a more complete accounting of the unaccountable, I refer you to the chapter in my Ghosts and Haunts of Tennessee by the same name as this blog, where more details are available. In the meantime–good haunting!