Hauntings on the Parkway—A True Ghost Story
In the resort town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee there used to be a year-round haunted attraction called Hauntings on the Parkway. It was a turn-of-the-last-century style "spook show," of the sort in which self-proclaimed “mediums” used to fleece people, during the Spiritualism movement in the early 1900s.
In the show, a Medium's hands were tied, a cloth bag placed over their head, and then he or she would be placed on stage in a "spirit cabinet," with a curtain drawn over the front. As the lights dimmed, the host would announce that the spirits had arrived. Objects placed in the cabinet with the Medium (such as a lit candle, balls, a bell, a bugle, a tambourine, etc.) could be seen floating, heard playing, or were tossed out of the cabinet and into the audience.
However, anytime the assistant yanked the curtain back, the Medium would be found still bound, head covered, and in a trance. Slates tied together with twine and placed in with the medium would be revealed as covered in chalk writing when opened.
It was a very cool and very popular show—all parlor magician trickery, of course—that harkened back to simpler times. A time when people were very superstitious, gullible, and desperate enough to part with their hard-earned cash in order to make contact loved ones on the other side, particularly those lost during World War I.
One evening after the last performance the actors had left the premises, the night manager was alone in the tiny office, counting the days receipts. After locking the deposit in the safe, he goes out for a final walk-through of the building.
Out of nowhere, he starts having trouble breathing, and begins experiencing chest pains. He tries to go for help, but the heart attack proves fatal. He collapses and dies behind the back row of seats in the small auditorium.
The body, dressed all in black like the employees, goes undiscovered for hours, only being found after the opening manager was trying to figure out why his relief didn't show up for the closing shift the next afternoon.
Later, several guests reported that they had observed the body, but assumed it was just part of the show.
In the days and weeks following the man’s death, employees began to observe real unexplained phenomena—items put away the night before would be found tossed about upon opening the next day. A disembodied voice was heard at times, coming from the empty auditorium after closing. Female employees reported being touched lightly by an invisible pair of hands when in the office alone.
But perhaps the strangest incidents were with the aforementioned "spirit slates." After being wiped clean and put away after the performance, they would later be found with odd words written on them in chalk. The word found most often was the name David... the name of the dead night manager.
As word of these occurrences spread among the locals, Hauntings found it hard to keep employees. After changing hands a couple of times with the same result, the business was unfortunately forced to close its doors forever.
Now a laser tag establishment, it’s a possibility that the gamers, oblivious to the building’s eerie past, experience paranormal activity. Perhaps female players still feel invisible fingers gently caress them in the dark, and maybe, just maybe, the disembodied voice of David’s lonesome ghost still cries out from darkened corners.
I recently narrated this story for my YouTube channel: Thirteen Past Midnight.