Tuesday, March 13, 2012

University of Tennessee Ghosts

                While doing some research on local ghost stories for my third novel, A Haunted Death, I have come across quite a bit of information about the spirits that haunt the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville.

                I’ll admit that I never saw anything supernatural during my years at U.T., but apparently lots of other folks have.  Let me share with you a few of the more interesting haunts (or haints if you are from East Tennessee).

                Of course there would be Civil War ghosts running all over campus.  That just makes sense seeing as how the graves of eight unidentified Union soldiers were found when the school was digging the foundation for Blount Hall.   The bodies were removed, but the spirits linger on.  Some people claim eight men in Union uniform can be seen talking and comparing maps near their original graves.

                Anyone who has ever attended a class on ‘The Hill’ knows two things.  One, the climb is steeper than it looks.  Two, you have to watch out for the barghest.  Okay, so maybe most people don’t know to watch out for a supernatural dog with big teeth and claws that haunts the hillside day and night.  I’m not real sure how this one got started, but large ghostly dogs have shown up in English folklore over and over again.  Maybe this is a spirit that came over with a couple of our ancestors back in the day.

                My favorite ghost is The Evening Primrose.  She pulls books off of the shelves in Hoskins Library.  A fairly typical spirit, except for the fact that she announces her presence with the smell of baking cornbread.  Only in East Tennessee do you get ghosts like that!

                Have any of you UT alumni encountered anything strange on the campus?  If so, I’d love to hear your story!


  1. Wow, that gave me goose bumps and it was 70 degrees here today! I think I may have a ghost in my house. Today I noticed that under my sink the lids were loosened on EVERY bottle of cleaning product that I own, even the brand new bottles that I have a difficult time opening.Some were even child proof so I know it wasn't the kids. Strange! Great post, I love your ghost stories!

  2. Oh Tammy! If I had a ghost that was interested in cleaning products, I would be all for it! : )

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  4. In the old University Center, there was the ghost of a young man who died in the 1970s. I saw him one night myself and several others claimed to have seen him as well. The story as it was told to me: One night the young man and his friends came to watch a movie in the auditorium after having dinner on the Strip. At some point, he told his friends that he wasn't feeling well and was leaving to go back to the dorm. He left the movie, walked to the front of the building and down the front stairs toward the Smokey's lobby. The next morning, one of our custodians found the young man in a stall, face down in the toilet where he had died while getting sick. After I saw him, I began asking around and discovered that it was actually one of our custodial staff who found him over 20 years earlier, and he told me the whole story. Many of my student staff saw him over the years and always described him the same way. Young, shoulder length hair, jeans and t-shirt with boots. He walked slowly around from the auditorium hallway and down the stairs. I saw him many times myself over the 20+ years I spent in the building before it was closed to make way for the new Student Union.