Halloween is a great time to visit my favorite town. It's history and the abundance of historic homes and battlefields make for some great ghost stories. Here is part of the article published in the Tennessean on Sunday about the walking tours through downtown, and events around the city.
FRANKLIN - It used to be that if you heard a bump in the night at your historic home, saw unearthly apparitions at your place of business or experienced things you couldn't explain on a former battlefield site, you kept it quiet for fear of scaring off folks.
Times have changed, and now ghosts are big business.
Tourists fill spots on vampire and ghost tours that go trouncing through Old South cities such as New Orleans, Charleston, S. C., and Savannah, Ga. Those who don't have the time or the money can explore the unknown via television shows such as The Travel Channel's Most Haunted Live and Sci-Fi's Ghost Hunters.
Ghost stories also abound in Franklin, known for its historic homes and as one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.
"October is by far our busiest month. And this year is no exception. It's been unbelievable," said Rene Evans, who runs local walking-tour company Franklin on Foot with her business partner Margie Thessin.
Hundreds of people - both out-of-towners and residents - have taken the kid-friendly Haunted Franklin Tour as well as the more mature Ghosts and Gore Tour this month. The guided-walking trips of supposed haunted places in downtown Franklin are held throughout the year or as long as the weather permits.
"In Franklin, you have a wonderful mixture of both old and new. I think that has a lot to do with why people think it's haunted. People who are into ghost hunting will tell you that tragedy creates spirits. And, in Franklin's history, we've had a lot of that," she said.
War inspired ghost tales
At the Historic Carnton Plantation, where blood from Civil War soldiers who were injured in the Battle of Franklin still stains the floorboards of the two-story home on Lewisburg Pike, candlelight ghost tours are offered throughout October.
Sometimes known as "the most haunted building in Tennessee," Carnton was also part of the National Public Television-produced "Southern Haunts" show.
Is it fact or fiction?
But at the Carter House where the most intense fighting took place during the Battle of Franklin in 1864, executive director Thomas Cartwright, who has led tours all over the grounds for many years, isn't convinced of its haunted reputation.
"Just about every battlefield and every old home has ghost stories associated with it. I've been on those battlefields and to me it's very poignant because it's hallowed ground. But I've never seen a ghost or a spirit. Personally, I'm more of concerned with the living than the dead," he said.
Likewise, the Franklin on Foot guides have yet to brush against the supernatural element on their spirit tours.
"We've had guests who have had something unusual happen to them. But I have never seen a ghost. And I'd like to keep it that way," Evans said.
The Franklin of today is noted for its wholesomeness and gentility, but sordid tales of rape, murder, abortion, prostitution, bootlegging, murder for hire and more lie in the town's not-too-distant past. In addition, Confederate soldiers, steel magnolias, eccentric doyennes, suicidal businessmen and scandalous women all used to call Franklin home.
Many call Franklin the most haunted town in Tennessee...
After dark (and sometimes before, too) all of these long departed Franklinites have been known to make appearances in the buildings in downtown Franklin. Sometimes they don't show themselves, but their presence is felt .
This posting and the contents written here are the intellectual property and opinions of Larry Brewer of Keller Williams Realty. Providing real estate services to clients in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Spring Hill, and the middle Tennessee area.