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Nashville Haunted Handbook (America's Haunted Road Trip) Paperback – September 13, 2011
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8538 Dyer Rd., Rockvale, TN 37153
Take I-24 East for about 23 miles to Exit 74A, TN 840 West toward Franklin. Follow this road for a little more than 2 miles to Exit 50 toward Beesley Road, and then turn left at the end of the exit ramp onto Veterans Parkway. After another 2 miles, turn right onto Franklin Road. Take your second left onto Kingwood Lane. Follow Kingwood for another 2.5 miles before turning right onto Windrow Road. Follow Windrow for 3 miles before angling right onto South Windrow Road. After another mile, turn right onto Dyer Road. The cemetery is near the end of Dyer Road.
When they needed a place to bury their loved ones, a family in this remote area with the last name of Dyer established the Dyer Cemetery in the early 1800s. Since this property was somewhat remote, it made sense for them to create their family’s cemetery on the grounds. Eventually the cemetery fell into the care of the Leathers family who lived nearby. The Leathers family cares for the cemetery today.
A strange story circulates about the cemetery. The story takes place in the 1800s, but it is unclear whether the events occurred before or after the Dyer family started using the land as their own. What happened was that three women in a nearby town were accused of being witches and of conspiring with Satan. They fled the town but were followed by a lynch mob to what was or what would become the Dyers’ property. Eventually the witches were cornered, and the mob hung the witches from a tree and then burned their bodies. Their charred remains were buried where the cemetery is today.
Victims of the ghosts here are most often initially approached at the front gate. Due to the terrain and the condition of the gate itself, it is difficult to push open in order to enter the cemetery. Many times, though, people who are struggling to open the gate will have it suddenly fling open for no apparent reason.
Once inside the gate, there is no lack of ghostly activity. Visitors will encounter shadowy figures that approach quickly and maliciously and then vanish. Footsteps will approach people in the dark of the cemetery, but no one will be there. Most of this activity will occur near the rear of the cemetery.
In the front of the cemetery, a cedar tree is rumored to have been the tree where the witches were hung. Near this tree, people will feel a hand grab an arm or shoulder but then turn around and find no one there. Others will feel scratches that resemble either fingernails or straw running down an arm. Sometimes, balls of fire will appear near the tree and will slowly ascend the tree and then disappear. If the story of the witches is actually true, the ghosts seem to be quite upset.
Unfortunately, in order to see the ghosts here you will have to go at night. The strange behavior of the front gate, the shadowy figures, the balls of fire, and the sounds have been exclusively reported after nightfall. From what we can tell, it seems that the cemetery is open after dark. If you do go there at night, make certain that you search for any signs along the road or at the front gate that suggest that the cemetery closes at dusk. These rules are always subject to change, so even if the cemetery is open all night now, that rule may change tomorrow.
Also, keep in mind that this cemetery is rather remote. Make sure to keep your safety in mind at all times. Don’t go alone. And don’t approach the shadowy figures; they may just be real people up to no good.
Grave of Granny White
Travelers Ridge Drive and Granny White Pike, Nashville, TN 37220
This strange location is about 5 miles outside of downtown Nashville. Simply take 12th Avenue South from the city. After a couple miles, the road changes its name to Granny White Pike. Follow the same road for another 2.5 to 3 miles until you see Travelers Ridge Drive on your left by the sign that says Inns of Granny White.” The grave itself is fenced off at the front of the subdivision.
Early in 1743, nearly 270 years ago, Granny White was born in North Carolina. Her early life was quite normal for a woman from that area and time. She married a man named Zachariah, had children, and lived happily. Things began to change when her husband was killed at the Battle of the Bluffs in 1781. Granny White, then named Lucy White, was left without money. Things compounded when her son died, leaving her two grandchildren, Thomas and Willis, orphaned. In 1801, the State of North Carolina declared that she was unfit to care for her two grandchildren, so she took them with her and moved to Tennessee, settling on the land where the Inns of Granny White sit today.
In order to make enough money to care for her small family, she used the culinary skills that she had developed earlier in her life. She set up an inn and a restaurant that quickly became popular with the weary men who had just traversed the Natchez Trace, which ended four miles from her property. Her ingenuity and business savvy allowed her and her grandchildren to survive. Granny White eventually passed away in 1816 and was buried on her property. The nearby road leading into Nashville was named after her.
The spirit of Granny White lives on despite the fact that she has been dead for almost 200 years. While her memory may have inspired many older people never to give up, in a more literal sense people have encountered the actual spirit of Granny White even today.
The story goes that if you were to approach the grave of Granny White at any time of the day or night, you will experience this ghost. Her ghost takes the form of a simple sound. If you stand near the grave, you will supposedly be able to hear the sound of a heartbeat coming from the ground. Sometimes, if you’re standing close enough, you can even feel that beating heart through the ground. Granny White’s story speaks of an unwillingness to give up despite age and adversity. Perhaps her will still hasn’t given out and her heart continues to beat audibly to this day.
The grave itself is fenced off, but you can still walk close enough to experience its unique ghost. This area near the grave where the ghostly heartbeat can be heard does not close at night. If you want to experience the added creepiness of approaching the grave after dark, there is nothing to stop you from doing so.
This doesn’t mean that the ghostly heartbeat will only manifest at night. You are more than able to approach the grave during the day as well. Just stand there for a few moments being as still as you can. Most people who try this will eventually hear the sounds of her heart still beating beneath the ground.