Ghost story author Allen Sircy explores the history of the paranormal and unexplained in Murfreesboro in his new book Southern Ghost Stories: Murfreesboro Spirits of Stones River.
“From controversial Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who stormed the courthouse, to deadly fires that reduced buildings on the square to a smoldering rubble, Murfreesboro is filled with countless spirits. Some of the entities in these stories are friendly, while others are quite restless and mischievous. With each ghostly tale, Southern Ghost Stories: Murfreesboro, Spirits of Stones River invites you to explore the town square to see what you might find,” reads the books’ Amazon description.
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Sircy got started writing a few years ago, telling the wild stories he heard while managing mixed martial arts fighters. He decided to share tall tales from guys who get paid to be punched in the face in a book called, Legends of Tennessee MMA. And he got into ghost stories after living in a house behind Traveler’s Rest in Nashville.
“Originally, the property belonged to the Overton family,” said Sircy, “and was a working plantation in the nineteenth century, John Overton was Andrew Jackson’s best friend. The first day I was in the house a trash can moved eight feet overnight. Weird things happened all the time, and it really made me curious about the paranormal.”
He really started getting involved with the paranormal when on a trip to Savannah, Georgia when taking a ghost tour. He decided that most ghost tours were expensive for the number of locations visited.
“After doing the tours a few times,” said Sircy, “my wife told me that there should be an app for $2 that had all the haunted places on them. It got me thinking, so I bought a Mac, taught myself some basic coding, and did some research on haunted places in Savannah. I eventually made … the Savannah Ghost Map app that is a self-guided ghost tour for smart phones.”
After he made the Savannah app, he decided to make one for Nashville. He also made ones for New Orleans, Boston, Salem, St. Augustine, and Louisville. While researching the Nashville app, he stumbled onto Gallatin, Tennessee.
“Pretty much every building around the square is haunted,” said Sircy. “After learning about how the town was ravaged by fire, cholera, and was occupied by an evil Union general named Eleazer Paine, I decided to write a book about it.”
The Gallatin book did really well, so he decided to dig into Murfreesboro. He worked with a lady who lived in an apartment on East Main Street in Murfreesboro who talked about her place being haunted. He had also heard that a handful of places around the square also had a lot of weird things happen.
“Like Gallatin, Murfreesboro had issues with fire and cholera,” said Sircy. “Unlike Gallatin, which was only occupied, Murfreesboro had three battles take place in the area. There was a lot of material to draw from.”
He finds it really hard to pick just one story out of his book as a favorite because the Civil War is so intriguing and had such an impacted upon Murfreesboro.
“One thing that really caught me by surprise was the Burleson Plantation,” said Sircy. “When I started working on the book, I expected it would mostly be about the square and the battlefield. Oddly enough, for all the stories about the battlefield I got, I also heard stories about weird things happening in a subdivision around Burleson Lane. The area was a land grant given to a soldier who fought in the American Revolution. It’s a long story, but to sum it up, about 50 years ago someone in Murfreesboro dismantled the soldier’s log cabin and two of the slave quarters. They hauled it off onto some property across town and reassembled them. After that happened, strange things started happening around Burleson Lane. A lot of people who live nearby have stories of seeing shadows, hearing noises, having something bang on their windows and all kinds of other weird things like that.”
Yet, in spite of all the time he has spent chasing ghost tales, he has never seen a ghost, although he had heard some odd things.
“I was at a self-storage business on Medical Center Parkway in the vicinity of where a Union general was killed during the Civil War,” added Sircy. “I spent a while talking to a gentleman who works there. He was explaining to me that when he goes to the third floor the lights turn off. They are operated by a sensor, so they should come on when he’s up there. The employee, who happens to be African-American, told me that he believes the floor is haunted by a Union soldier who is trying to help him by turning off the lights. As he was telling me this, I recorded our conversation. When I got back home, I played it back and you can hear a man laughing, and saying, “He can’t get around it. Ha ha ha ha ha!””
Sircy has written several other stories, including Southern Ghost Stories: Ghosts of Gallatin, Southern Ghost Stories: Historical Hauntings, and Southern Ghost Stories: Haunted Hotels.
Southern Ghost Stories: Murfreesboro Spirits of Stones River is available locally at Nonie’s Bakery, Sugaree’s, and the City Cafe. It’s also available through Amazon.
“I’m doing an event for charity at Nonies Bakery on October 23, from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.” said Sircy. “I’m bringing in Rutherford County Paranormal. We are doing an investigation in the bakery on the square. Tickets are $20, and all proceeds will go to the Center for the Arts.”