Walk among the enigmatic ghosts of the Smoky Mountains

Experience the haunted side of this tiny town and the mysteries it harbors, known only to the hermit-like early inhabitants of the formerly suspicious community. Feuds, witches, ancient Scots, and Celtic traditions live on in this remote corner of the Smoky mountains.

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Join Gatlinburg Haunts for a ghost tour into the eerie corners of this quaint mountain town. Our stories include cannibals, family feuds that go back generations, and witchcraft.  See where ghosts of the past are seen walking these streets to this day, and learn of their spine-tingling hauntings and history as they search for the peace they were unable to find in this quaint corner of Tennessee.

  • Ghost Tour Meeting Location: The Gatlinburg Space Needle at 115 Historic Nature Trail

  • Tour Duration: 1hr. across 1 mile

  • To Order: Press "Buy Now" for availability.

  • Ghost tours are held nightly, rain or shine!

Ancient Ills, Timeworn Graveyards and Civil War Spirits

Gatlinburg’s reputation as the Gateway to the Smoky Mountains means plenty of winter activities for out of town visitors. However, just underneath the idyllic mountain town’s surface lies a dark and twisted history that most on the Gatlinburg Haunts tour initially never think exists.

The area houses unprecedented paranormal activity levels, especially on the parkway, which is commonly called the Strip. This hour-long, one-mile tour will uncover the real story behind Gatlinburg’s rough frontier town origins, as well as its complicated and terrifying modern hauntings.

You will see the compelling haunted locations that test the limits of what you might believe. Rest assured, though, the authentic stories you will hear are plucked straight from the history books and confirmed accounts of encounters with the supernatural.  Find out the storied history of one of the oldest graveyards in the state and the shadowy ghouls who lurk along its walls. Listen in horror to the tales of murder, suicide, jealousy, revenge, cannibalism, and everything in between. Gatlinburg’s glossy exterior may fool some of the people who visit the town, but we will help you understand the horror on which this town was built.

 

What’s in a name – a feud!

When there are only a few dozen people in the town, one general store might be enough. Any businessman likes a monopoly. Imagine the surprise then, of the members of the founding family of the town, the Ogle’s, (namesakes of the Ogle Brothers General store), when Radford Gatlin opened the Gatlin General Store. The feud compounded the mean-spiritedness and unfounded preferential treatment of people by Radford Gatlin. Then how did he become the name after which the town was named?

The dishonest way this came about will be revealed on our tour, as well as how the ghost of Radford Gatlin’s slave haunts the Mountain Mall, on land previously owned by the Ogle Family!

 

What makes Gatlinburg so haunted?

In a city with such a vibrant and modern tourist scene, separating Gatlinburg’s dark history from its ski-resort façade can be pretty difficult.  Gatlinburg Haunts takes you on an up-close look at the city’s troubled history and macabre present that others would simply ignore.

Dating back to the early 19th century, the earliest inhabitants of the town were Scots and Irish settlers who secured their treasured independence during some of the darkest periods of American history by fighting to preserve their fierce seclusion.

Even as the area has developed in recent years, remnants of its tragic history poke through to the surface, whether through an aging cemetery (one of the oldest in the state), ancient blood-curdling Cherokee monsters, or the gory horrors of an old battlefield. Our unique tour along the iconic strip will explore the existential dread that tears at the flimsy facade of the town’s easily digestible tourist fair.

You may come to Gatlinburg expecting a quaint little tourist town, but on our tour, you will learn that there is much more to the Gateway to the Smokies than meets the eye, and you may not like what you see.

The graveyard has shadows and plenty of them, not cast by light, but remnants of unhappy former residents’ supernatural energy.  Two people have lain independent claim to seeing clusters of shadows on the Church wall, inside the porch, and throughout the graveyard. Seemingly benevolent and fleeting, the shadows have been here longer than any current living resident of Gatlinburg.

 

Civil War in the Smokey mountains.

The residents of Gatlinburg were almost all sympathetic to the Union cause, yet being in the middle of the expanding Confederate territories, they chose neutrality. Mother nature, however, would intervene to put at least one conflict on their doorstep.

A saltpeter mine near the town (saltpeter being a key ingredient in gunpowder), attracted Confederate forces’ attention. A stubborn Confederate Colonel named William Thomas was tasked with occupying the mine. He led an integrated Cherokee infantry group into the town to take supplies before occupying the mine.

As well as putting the townspeople on edge, the move caught the attention of nearby Union forces who soon turfed the regiment out of their hastily built fort around the mine.

Colonel Thomas, however, did not take defeat well; he festered in a rough camp in the forests near the town. He continued to raid the town of Gatlinburg for supplies, and the occasional forced conscript, while he and his dwindling band of men cooked up a series of increasingly wild plans to regain the fort from the 600 well equipped Union men ensconced at the top of a hill near the mine. Some began to suspect the Colonel was starting to lose his mind. His wild-eyed demands of the townspeople grew increasingly bizarre.

Needless to say, the 5-month long guerilla war earned Colonel Thomas no friends in Gatlinburg as the constant raids wore the townspeople’s tolerance thin. The Union troops’ soon grew weary of the annoying harassment by Colonel Thomas and his band of rogue confederates. The Union troops attacked in a quick and deadly operation one night, the Cherokee’s scattered, many were captured, Thomas himself was shot and stabbed 23 times.

However, Colonel Thomas’s ghost still roams the woods, looking for another desperate way to get back the fort that no longer exists.

 

More stories in the thick woods of the Smokey Mountains

There’s an eerie energy in the Smokey Mountains, with its dark stories of Witchcraft, monsters, and cannibals haunt the town. Book your tour today to hear all these stories and more as told by professional local guides.

Read more on our blog about the nearby Inns, mansions, cabins, and restaurants haunted by more ghosts.

Reviews

Tera Domitila

Review Rating
March 07, 2021

Tour was a spoooooky good time for me and my family! We will do some more with this company in the future!
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Jack Humphreys

Review Rating
February 03, 2021

Such a good time and for the price we would go again. For a walking tour it was a ton of fun!
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CaraDivelbliss

Review Rating
November 15, 2020

We had a great time. Full of history and fun. The tour guy was full of Knowledge but also had a great sense of humor and made us laugh too.
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Cara Divelbliss

Review Rating
November 08, 2020

Fun an can get lots of picture with crazy sightings yourself.
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Why should you take the Gatlinburg Haunts tour?

Warm yourself on the cold Tennessee nights

Nothing warms the body like a pounding heart, which you are sure to have on the Gatlinburg Haunts tour. Departing from the Space Needle in Downtown Gatlinburg our tour takes in some of the lesser-known sights of this charming mountain town.

Our professional local storytellers are passionate about their town, and the amazing stories of hauntings and ghosts, and the incredible history of this modest town in the mountains.

After the sun goes down, the town takes on a different character, and the dark woods become spooky beyond belief. Only we have the historical stories of hauntings and the spirits that wander the hills at night.

The rivers here are numerous and fast running, but the one that is haunted for certain is a shallow and gentle brook called The Cliff Branch River. One of the tales on your tour will tell you why any young men driving alongside this river at night should think twice before picking up any hitchhikers!

Night Skiing isn’t for everyone.

There’s lots to do at night in Gatlinburg, even night skiing at the resorts up in the mountains. But indoor activities get stale after a while and if you are at all outdoorsy, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible in the clean fresh air of the Smoky Mountains.

On a crisp night, there really is nothing so refreshing, or spooky as a walk around the town. Gatlinburg Haunts takes in the Skylift park with its magnificent views, the haunted Space Needle, and the Cliff Branch River.

What if you only have a day or two in the mountains?

It’s easy to fill your days in Gatlinburg,  take the cable car up to the peak and walk the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in North America, the town also has a host of crazy golf courses, if that’s your thing! But your nights in Gatlinburg have fewer options. All the major attractions close in the early evening, but Gatlinburg Haunts tours set off in the evening, and are always entertaining and by far the scariest thing in town. Come walk alongside expert narrators while hearing about the old and new ghosts of Gatlinburg and tell you all there is to know about this fascinating town.

 

What if you don’t ski at all?

If it’s a cold day in Gatlinburg, you’ll be thankful for the chance to walk around and keep warm, but spare a thought for the hundred-year blizzard that kept the town isolated for weeks just after the Civil War. It was a different place back then, with fewer residents, more open country and a lot less traffic.

One character in the area who experienced the blizzard was ‘Craft the Carnivore’, who built his family lodge off to the south of Gatlinburg, in what is now the Smoky Mountains National Park.  Simon Craft was a well-known Confederate Officer who ridiculed men who didn’t eat what he considered enough meat. He was known for eating all kinds of meats and for being a gracious and welcoming host.

The winter of the blizzard, Craft the Carnivore hosted a Twentieth Wedding Anniversary party to end all parties. While they were eating, the blizzard started. No one could leave for days. The days turned into weeks, and food ran low.

After nearly three months, Simon Craft, his wife, and a close family friend were the only ones around to tell what happened in the Family lodge, but none of them ever did.  We have some theories to share with you on the Gatlinburg Haunts tour.