The Tri-Cities area of Tennessee, tucked away in the southern Appalachian Mountain foothills of southwest Virginia and east Tennessee, has a long history of hauntings. Novice ghost hunters can take a guided tour of known ghostly locations in the area that encompasses the cities of Bristol, Tennessee-Virginia; Johnson City, Tennessee; and Kingsport, Tennessee; or can travel about on their own in the search for a first-hand "spiritual" experience. As a warning, play it safe when you visit these locations. Many of these places are guarded, and permission is required before visiting them without a guide.
DeFriece Park - Bristol
In Bristol, walk to DeFriece Park, located at the junction of Fifth and Stine streets in the dead of winter and you just might hear the chilling screams of Viola Kennett, a 16-year-old skater who drowned in the lake's icy waters in 1876.
High Ridge - Bristol
Travel to the end of Windsor Avenue to the hill known as High Ridge. Listen closely for the ghostly echo of a child, mourning the loss of her younger siblings.
Foggy Hugh Hamblin - Kingsport
Travel along Netherland Inn Road in Kingsport and you might come face to face with a helpful ghost by the name of Hugh Hamblen. His story began in 1922. His son, Charlie, was in an alcohol-related auto accident with several other kids. After staying all night with his son until doctors assured him that he would be OK, Hugh decided to go home and rest. As he was crossing the fog-covered road, a car struck and killed him. Now, Hugh is said to appear out of the fog and motions for drivers to slow down.
Long Island - Kingsport
In the Holston River in Kingsport lies a four-mile-long island known as Long Island. The Native Americans considered this island to be holy ground and used it exclusively for sacred rites. When they were forced out more than 200 years ago, they placed a curse on the island, which is believed to still be in effect. The island is said to affect visitors in a very violent way. One of the most notorious examples of the island's apparent impact happened in the 1940s. A young man supposedly took his girlfriend to the island to engage in some amorous activities. The young man's father went to the island to stop them, but became enraged and murdered both his son and the girl. The haunting entity is said to be this man, or his spirit, who searches the island for more victims.
John Sevier Center - Johnson City
The John Sevier Center is said to be haunted by the ghosts of 16 people who died of smoke inhalation from a fire that took place on Christmas Eve in 1989. Located in Johnson City, this building is a retirement home for elderly people living on fixed incomes. There have been reports by both residents and staff of apparitions in the halls and rooms, while visitors experience "strange presences."
Tipton-Haynes Historic Site - Johnson City
Located on South Roan Street in Johnson City, the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site is on the National Registry of Historic Places. It once was a Native American campsite and later a residence for Colonel John Tipton and his family, and it is said that a mass Native American grave site that was discovered when the home became a museum in 1970 was the result of a horrific act perpetrated by British soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Finding young Indians hiding in a cave, the troops reportedly buried them alive, blocking any chance for escape. It is rumored that numerous Native American spirits have haunted both the cave and the nearby Tipton-Haynes home.