HAUNTINGS AT THE HERMITAGE
GHOSTS OF THE PRAIRIE
HOME OF ANDREW JACKSON
NEAR NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
The former home of Tennessee icon and American president Andrew Jackson is located just outside of Nashville and is called the Hermitage. The plantation was a place of refuge for the General and one that he dearly loved. In fact, he has never really left it.. as his body, along with that of his wife Rachel, is entombed on the property. Others believe that he has never left the property in other ways as well!
The Hermitage is preserved today almost as it was during the days of Andrew Jackson, but it not always been this way. In 1893, the house was in shambles and in such a deplorable state that the Ladies Hermitage Association was formed in an effort to preserve the house and restore it to its former glory.
While the house was undergoing renovations, members of the association became concerned about vandals and thieves gaining access to the place and so two members of the group volunteered to camp out inside of the house until a caretaker could be hired. The two ladies came to the house one hot July afternoon and met with the two remaining staff members of the house, General Jackson's former valet, who was now deaf and nearly blind, and a housekeeper who helped with meals and light cleaning. This young woman made it clear to the two ladies that she would not remain in the house after dark!
The ladies soon began to settle in, walking through the house and closing and locking doors and windows. After dinner, they sat out on the front porch until it began to get dark, hoping to catch the evening breezes before going to bed. As darkness fell, they placed a mattress on the floor of the front parlor and after chatting for awhile longer, they turned in.
Several hours later, they were suddenly awakened by a loud clattering noise inside of the house. It sounded as though someone were in the kitchen, throwing pots and pans onto the counters and floor. More noises followed, this time sounding as though the cabinets had been emptied of all of the dishes and plates. From the porch came the sound of chains clanking very loudly and from up above, they heard the sounds of a horse charging up and down the upstairs hallways! It was as if General Jackson himself had returned to ride his steed through the mansion!
In an instant, both of the ladies were wide awake and they quickly lit the kerosene lamp that had been placed near the bed. As soon as they did this, the sounds abruptly stopped.
They passed the night without sleep and the following morning, the two ladies searched the house, hoping to find a source for the bizarre noises. They did not discuss the strange events but each went about separately, hoping to find some explanation for them. They checked rooms, doors, closets and windows, but could find nothing to account for the activity.
The day passed peacefully and this time, when nightfall came, the two ladies went to bed and left the lamp burning in the room with them. They drifted off to sleep but around midnight, the terrifying noises began again! The dishes crashed in the kitchen, the chains dragged from one end of the porch to another and the horse charged down the upstairs hallway, just like the night before!
The strange happenings were repeated every night during their occupancy and fortunately, it was not long before a full-time caretaker was hired to watch over the house and ground. The ladies did not speak about the uncanny sounds for some years afterward and a rational explanation for them was never discovered.
As far as is known, the eerie instances were never repeated at the Hermitage again... but of course that could have been because no one ever dared to spend the night in the house after those strange events! Some prefer to think that the end of the haunting has another explanation, that it was actually General Jackson's ghost the ladies encountered. These folks believe that perhaps he was unhappy about the state the Hermitage had fallen into. Once the restoration was completed, he was finally able to rest in peace!
(C) Copyright 2001 by Troy Taylor. All Rights Reserved.
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