4 Haunted Places in Murfreesboro

rutherford county courthouse
photo by Jim Wood

Murfreesboro is home to several sites that many say are haunted. Some are well known and have been featured in tours. But, there are a lot of ghostly residents living in Murfreesboro that people are just not going to talk about. Here are a few haunted places – some can be toured and others aren’t on any tour.

Whether you are a believer or not, these places all have a certain aura that makes some who visit them feel like there is someone there – sometimes harmless, and sometimes not – who cannot be seen.

Stones River Battlefield

While many other battles during the Civil War are given the title of bloodiest, the one that occurred at this site from December 31, 1862 until January 2, 1863 was perhaps one of the worst. At the end of the battle, 23,500 were dead, and the area known as the “Slaughter Pen” was drenched in so much blood that the earth glittered red in the snow-covered field.

Visitors and rangers alike have told tales of the sound of gunfire, screams of pain from the dying, and men dressed in Union and Confederate uniforms who are there one minute and gone the next. Some have even captured ghostly apparitions on film.

The most haunting sound to all who have experienced one of these close encounters is the sound of music and singing.

According to dreadcentral.com, “During the evenings, to raise the spirits of their men, both sides brought military bands to play music. During one evening a different sort of battle broke out as the Union band began playing ‘Yankee Doodle.’ Not to be outdone, the Confederate band answered with a rendition of ‘Dixie.’ The battle went back and forth until one band, no one is sure from which side, began playing a song called ‘Home Sweet Home.’ According to written eyewitness accounts, both bands stopped their war and joined together for the song. The soldiers on both sides began singing along with the words they knew, and for that brief interlude, the war was forgotten. The next morning, however, the fighting began anew……Not often, but occasionally reports filter in about the sounds of two bands playing the same tune, identified as “Home Sweet Home,” coming from opposite sides of the battlefield.”

Riverbend Neighborhood

While those who live in the area are not going to let anyone know that their house might be haunted, some have experienced unexplained events. Riverbend is actually part of the land that was once upon a time part of the Stones River Battlefield. As a matter of fact, there was a cannon line along the river.

Old-timers in the area, once they get to know you, will tell of spectral soldiers tromping through their living rooms, and phantom pranksters moving around pieces of clothing and furniture. Some of these invisible guests even sit in on the occasional board meeting of a community organization chilling off the room with their presence.

Sometimes, when walking on the Greenway that follows the river near the Thompson Lane Trailhead, one can experience the feeling of not being alone, but no one is there.

Downtown Murfreesboro

The Civil War created otherworldly visitors who haunt many a location in and around the square, but there are also ghosts and creepy happenings that don’t have anything to do with any battle.

One place that is haunted is the County Courthouse. Used as both a hospital and a prison during the War of Northern Aggression, workers who have stayed after hours have told stories of odd noises, mysterious visitors, and one gentleman was even pushed down the stairs by no one according to local lore. Of course, the hangman’s tree is right outside the front door.

Not too far from Jr’s Foodland stands an antebellum home that has a bloodstain that will not go away left from a dying Civil War soldier. No matter what residents have done over the years to rid the home of the stain, it keeps reappearing. Finally, one homeowner just covered it with a big trunk.

Famous mobster Al Capone used to travel through Murfreesboro on his way from Chicago to his home in Florida. He was known to take part in card games that took place in the backrooms of several establishments on the square. One such establishment is where Sugaree’s is now located. There, a former gambler named Mr. Jackson haunts the back room, while a lady named Mary likes to move around merchandise and used to like to swing in the swing that is no longer located in the store because of the ghost moving it and causing hazards for customers.

Murfreesboro Center for the Arts

While located in downtown Murfreesboro, it deserves its own listing. For anyone who has done a play in the theatre and been in the theatre late at night, you know you are not alone. Just about every part of the theatre has provided someone with a hair-raising feeling.

The land and the building have had many incarnations. Once upon a time, it was a stable. It has also been a post office and a library. Ghostly visitors range in age from a child who was once a visitor to the library, to an old man.

While most of the ghosts seem to be benign, those who have been in certain parts of the building while working on a set or costume have felt that they were not alone. And that the spirit they are sharing the room with is not particularly nice. One former customer will never set foot in one of the basement rooms again because it makes her skin crawl, and a former makeup artist and set decorator will not step in the room behind the stage because it feels “evil.”

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  1. I spent a lot of time in the library as a child. I have not been inside the building since it was renovated into the Center of the Arts. Since that renovation, I’ve heard some of these haunting stories and I’ve often wondered if they are close to the areas that I got weird feelings years ago. It never occurred to me as a child that those uneasy feelings may have been a spirit.
    One of the places was on the main floor toward the back. There was a short passage way between the older part of the building and the newer part. I often would walk the entire length of the building to cross through at the front of the building instead of going through that passageway. The other place was downstairs where the children’s books were. There was a curved staircase. The first room was biographies. All of the other books were in the next room along with the circulation desk. I avoided going into the corner along the wall where the staircase. I was always uneasy if I couldn’t see the opening into the other room.

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