The sudden and strange, the historically tangible and the oddball realities that have taken place in Tennessee are more than enough to keep you scratching your head. We’ve found a couple of weird happenings down here in the Volunteer state that will start a couple late night conversations and keep that dinner party hoppin’. Take a look!
10) Demonbreun in a Cave
Tennessee's first white "citizen" was Timothy Demonbreun, and he scorned the hills and valleys for a Cumberland River cave. He decided to live in the area because the fur-trapper was attracted to the amount of game in the area, becoming the first human of European ancestry to settle in what is now Nashville. The cave is now protected from interested historians by iron bars.
9) The Tennessee Triangle
Shelby County has a dead zone - just ask the locals. Deep in the forest people have reported finding a dead tree, one that is surrounded by dead grass and absolutely no sound. Without any living creatures or people surrounding the area, it's an eerie place that exists completely in silence. If you ever go hiking north of Memphis, you may just find it.
8) The Body Farm
Believe it or not, Knoxville has over 2 acres of fenced in land that houses dead bodies. Yeah, you heard us right - dead bodies. It's behind the University of Tennessee, where future and current forensic scientists study human decomposition. 2007 saw the farm clocking in at more than 150 donated bodies, all in the name of science. Creepily enought? The bodies are kept naked, clothed, in cars, underwater, in trees, you name it. You have to know how the body reacts to different environments, right? Right. We're officially creeped.
7) Man Killed By Witch
The Bell Witch has gone down in history as one of the most terrifying stories of a poltergeist in the south, but legend aside? John Bell dropped dead after five years in his Tennessee home. Doctors and specialists were unable to explain the whole of it, leaving us to forever wonder if maybe ghosts just may be real. Real enough to scare someone to death.
6) The Erwin Elephant Execution
Talk about cruelty to animals. In 1916, Mary the elephant of Kingsport killed an assistant elephant trainer in the midst of a rage, trampling him and dashing him multiple times to the ground. The animal was then sent by train to Erwin, where she was hung by the neck by an industrial crane until death. Wicked awful, shockingly true.
5) Figure in the Woods
Sighted in the Tennessee woods in April of 2012, this terrifying figure has been making the rounds of internet chat rooms ever since. There are multiple videos up online from students writing up commentary and completely confused hunters voicing their thoughts. Whether it's a prank or the real deal, we're going to call it what it is: WEIRD.
4) The Fraterville Disaster
May 19, 1902 found the city of Fraterville reeling from what would turn out to be the worst mining disaster in Tennessee history. The reason for the explosion was never quite figured out, but it did result in the death of 216 miners, leaving on 89 with bodies retrievable for burial.
3) The Memphis Milk Bottle
In the mid-1940's Reed Brothers Dairy installed a water tower in the shape of a milk bottle on its main building. It was twenty feet tall. I mean, we guess that's cool...? But quite legitimately strange, as well. The bottle has since been donated to the Children's Museum of Memphis, because naturally museum-goers simply HAVE to see an outdated marketing tool. We're calling it weird, Tennessee - sorry 'bout it.
2) Rough Times in Pulaski
Pulaski, Tennessee is a beautiful town stocked with kind, hospitable people. You would never know that it houses a dark history as the birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan. Founded on Christmas Eve in 1865, the town has fought hard to leave the past in the past and build a home beyond the hurt of what once was.
1) Oak Ridge: The Secret City
Oak Ridge, Tennessee was the site of the Manhattan Project - where the federal government chose to develop materials for the atomic bomb. The secret town housed thousands of workers sworn to secrecy, just like the town they inhabited. Eerie.
Strange, don’t you think? Some may seem more believable than others, bordering on legend. Nonetheless, Tennessee is a place of historical strangeness and contemporary mystery that will leave you wondering long after you leave. Have any thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!