There’s something insanely satisfying about a scary story. Maybe it’s the rush of adrenaline you get in the movie theater, or the goosebumps that creep up on your arms late at night. It’s when the stories are true that you may find yourself double-checking the front door looking under the bed. These unbelievable Tennessee mysteries, some uneasily unsolved, will make your heart race.
10) The Strange Death of Blair Adams
Knoxville, Tennessee was the place of this heartbreaking and strange murder. Blair Adams was found amongst scattered international currency in a hotel parking lot. It was July, 1996 and his death was confirmed to be due to a severe blow to the abdomen. The strangest part about the whole thing? In the days leading up to the murder, he took all the money out of his savings account and attempted to cross the Canadian-American border. After being denied, he crisscrossed the country before becoming stranded in East Tennessee. His worrisome behavior may point to a deeper issue, that, like the case, remains open ended.
9) Captain D's Tragedy
In July of 2000 Smyrna, Tennessee was the stage for an awful murder. An apparent robbery gone awry at the local Captain D's left three fast food workers dead. One, William Snell, was found dead in his car while Scott Myers and Bryan Speight were shot and left in the food cooler. In late 2001 two suspects were charged with premeditated murder regarding the case - but the details and reasoning behind the brutal murders? Remain behind bars.
8) The Cheryl Holland Story
Sweet Joe and Mattie Harvey disappeared from their Tennessee home in early 1991. Just days after the vanishing, their home was set on fire and their niece, Cheryl Holland, suspiciously disappeared. Her husband went on to confess that both she and him murdered the couple for money. The bodies were found in the trunk of a car in mid-April. Thankfully, this awful story has a sweeter ending: not even an hour after the story aired on, "Unsolved Mysteries," Cheryl was arrested in Texas. Heartbreaking, sad, but solved.
7) Georgia Tann's Children
Beulah George "Georgia" Tann was a Memphis woman with a mission - a dark mission. It was between 1924 and 1950 that she scammed, manipulated and brutally pressured poor mothers to sell her their children. Yes, you heard that right. Sell. She had a ring of adoptive parents clamoring for the children she could provide, eventually serving all forty-eight states. She erased the children's histories and sent them to wealthy families that could afford the high bill. The awful living conditions left many of her wards sick and even more dead. A large majority of these children ended up seeking their birth families later in life. Famous presumed clientele of Tann's include Joan Crawford, June Allyson, and Pearl Buck.
6) The Housecoat Murders
On March 7, 1991, Pauline George came home from work and settled in for the evening. She took a shower, went through her mail and donned a house coat. Her body was found in the basement three hours later. Her boyfriend found her body, brutally beat up and stabbed multiple times. No money or jewelry was missing from the home. The case remains unsolved and the Knox County Sheriff's Office continues to keep it open.
5) Joe Shepard, Missing Man
When the beautiful Roxanne Woodson disappeared in 1978 from Tellico Plain, Tennessee, there was an uproar. Joe Shepard was eventually connected to the case and attempted to shoot his way out of an arrest later that year. He was found in Ontario, Canada after escaping from prison and given a life sentence. His strange stalking of the young woman and subsequent violent outburst left the community in a state of unease.
4) The Murder of Kevin Hughes
Nashville's "Cash Box Magazine" lost a great researcher when Kevin was found murdered by an unknown gunman. He was shot in his vehicle with his friend, who survived the attack. Suspicious clues led investigators to take a look at his co-workers, one of whom was Richard D'Antonio. They dug up incriminating evidence that D'Antonio was accepting money to boost music artists on the chart list and Hughes found out, leaving the desperate man with a murderous mind. D'Antonio was charged with first-degree murder and will not be up for parole until 2036.
3) Medical Mystery of Shaynya Isom
Memphis was given a creepy medical mystery in the form of Shanyna Isom, a young woman complaining of sever eczema. With scabs forming all over her newly skinny body, her and her family were becoming desperate. The diagnosis? An unknown skin condition that caused her body to produce a massive amount of skin cells, the overproduction causing her to grow fingernails on her body instead of hair. Johns Hopkins has taken over the baffling case in hopes to ease the young woman's pain and confusion.
2) The Disappearance of Martha Doe Roberts
August of 1992 was a sad time for the Roberts family, when Martha Doe vanished from her home. Her husband was then threatened over the telephone, a large ransom of $100,000 was demanded for a safe return of his wife. It took a year, and sadly Martha was found murdered. The suspect? Charles Jackson Lord, an associate of her husbands that was crippled by debt. Her body was buried under a compost heap and she was believed to have been dead only hours after the initial abduction.
1) The Bloodstained Crypt of Nina Cragmiles
One mystery that continues to plague Cleveland, Tennessee is the grave of Nina Cragmiles. Killed at age seven by a rogue buggy, the little girl was buried with honor in the local cemetery. Almost immedietely bloodstains appeared on the whitewashed marble of the tomb. The community was horrified, but no matter how many times they were scrubbed the stains would always return. Unsolved mystery, or just a message from the grave? We'll never know.
These stories are sad and chilling and heartbreaking. There’s been such loss within so many Tennessee families, and your love and support is appreciated for all those involved. Have you heard of any of these mysteries, or maybe remember them from long ago?
*Some of these crimes remain unsolved, and if you have any information please contact the local police.