The Haunting of Andrew Jackson’s “The Hermitage”

The Hermitage –Davidson County, Nashville, Tennessee

Photograph ©Southern Travel News

Built in 1819 by our former president, Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage now stands as a museum in honor of Old Hickory and a lifestyle that died with the ending of the Civil War. The Hermitage sits on a 1,120-acre estate, where tourists can also enjoy the Andrew Jackson Visitors Center, a theatre and café.

During Jackson’s lifetime, he shared this beautiful home with his wife, Rachel. Apparently Rachel was unable to conceive an heir for Andrew but this was an obstacle overcome by adoption and the happy couple became parents to Rachel’s orphaned nephew, naming him Andrew Jackson, Jr. Over the years the couple adopted many children and carried on as any typical family would until the year of 1825.

During 1825 Rachel began to suffer from medical problems; her condition worsening in 1828 while her husband was running for another term as president. On December 22, 1828, Rachel passed away, leaving her husband and family behind. Rachel Jackson was buried in the family cemetery in The Hermitage garden.

In 1845, at the age of 78, Old Hickory died of chronic tuberculosis, “dropsy” and heart failure. President Jackson’s body was then buried beside his beloved wife.

After President Jackson’s death, Andrew Jr. took over the estate. Andrew Jr. devoted his time and money in the ironworks and the lead mine, which turned out to be a poor choice of investments. In 1856, after selling off portions of the land for money, Andrew Jr. sold nearly all of the estate, including the house, to the state of Tennessee for $48,000.

After the state purchased the land, it was determined that there was not enough money in the budget to put it to use and the state of Tennessee allowed the Jackson family to stay on in the mansion as tenants.

Two years later, Andrew Jr. decided to sell what remained of the land and then moved his family to Mississippi to a cotton plantation. Unfortunately this business failed as well and the family was forced to move back to The Hermitage. All of these family members were eventually buried in the family cemetery in the garden.

In 1887 the state legislature transferred the title of the estate to the Ladies Hermitage Association. The house underwent very few changes over the century that followed.

In 1996 the Ladies Hermitage Association completed a $2.5 million restoration project on the house. Great pains were taken to ensure that the home was authentic; from the restoration of the original French wallpaper to the purchase of furniture originally owned by President Jackson himself!

It is believed that the last two people who worked for the Jackson family were aware of strange happenings in the house. These two individuals would faithfully work during the daylight hours, however, they refused to sleep overnight on the premises.

Early members of the Ladies Hermitage Association learned their lesson the hard way when they decided to sleep over to protect the house from thieves and vandals, until a night watchman could be hired.

Several members of the association were awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of a horse’s hooves on the main stairs! These women later presented that they heard the voice of Andrew Jackson himself ordering them to wake up and fix his (badly decaying) home!

These same women also reported hearing the sounds of chains being clattered and dragged across the front porch of the house, as well as, quite a bit of noise coming from the kitchen. The following morning, the ladies association investigated the kitchen and front porch and found nothing out of place and all of the windows and doors were still locked, as they were the evening before.

After the restoration of the home, no known reports of Jackson’s apparition have been made, however, others have claimed to hear unexplainable noises and voices inside and outside of the house. Some have even claimed to see the apparitions of former slaves upon the balcony that sits outside of President Jackson’s former bedroom.

It is conceivable that the Jackson family is happy with the restoration of their family home and they can finally rest peacefully in the garden cemetery. The former slaves however, are thought to still walk the halls and the grounds of this beautiful mansion today. 

4580 Rachel’s Lane
Nashville, Tennessee 37076
(615) 889-2941

The Haunting of the USS Constellation

The USS Constellation – Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland

Photograph ©Unknown

The USS Constellation, a remarkable vessel steeped in naval history, stands as the final testament to the era of all-sail warships constructed by the United States Navy. Not only does she hold the distinction of being the first Navy ship to bear the distinguished name "Constellation," but she also earned the evocative nickname "Yankee Racehorse" due to her impressive cruising speed of 14 knots. 

 As the sun dips below the horizon, casting shadows upon the aged wooden decks, the USS Constellation, like any ship of war, becomes the stage for countless untold stories, where many men met their untimely end. It is in the lingering whispers of the salty sea breeze and the creaking timbers that the echoes of these tales resonate, weaving a haunting tapestry of the past.

Among the ethereal manifestations that inhabit the ship, the spectral aura of gunpowder hangs in the air, as if the very essence of battles fought and lives lost lingers on. Unearthly noises reverberate through the corridors, accompanied by ghostly lights flickering in the dimness, creating an otherworldly atmosphere that defies explanation. The veil between the past and present seems thin aboard the USS Constellation, where apparitions materialize, telling stories of a bygone era.

One such apparition takes the form of an iridescent mass, believed to be the ghostly presence of Neil Harvey. Often spotted haunting the orlop deck, Neil's spectral image bears witness to a tragic chapter in 1799 when he faced a court-martial for alleged cowardice. It is said that he abandoned his gunning station during a fierce battle with the French, forever sealing his fate within the ship's haunted legacy. 

Captain Thomas Truxtun, the inaugural commander of the USS Constellation from 1798 to 1801, is another phantom that roams the forecastle deck. His spectral presence, active and vigilant, serves as a reminder of the ship's early days, when the seas were uncharted, and destinies were forged.

Amidst the maritime phantoms, the watchful gaze of Carl Hansen, a former sailor turned night watchman until 1965, still lingers. His apparition, dedicated to guarding the ship, appears in various corners, playing cards in a spectral form that transcends time. Witnesses, including a priest, attest to the lifelike appearance of Carl, blurring the lines between the living and the spectral realm.

Yet another poignant apparition emerges, that of an eleven-year-old boy who served as the assistant to a navy surgeon between 1820 and 1822. Tragically, the young sailor met his untimely end, his innocent spirit forever tied to the haunting memories of the orlop deck, where he fell victim to the malevolent acts of two fellow sailors.

Lastly, the spirit of a tormented sailor who met a tragic end by hanging himself on board continues to cast a spectral presence. His ghostly figure materializes predominantly on the gun and forecastle decks, a silent witness to the shadows of despair that permeate the haunted corridors of the USS Constellation. The ship, now a vessel of both history and the supernatural, stands as a testament to the enduring echoes of the past, where every creaking plank and whispering wind tell the stories of those who sailed into eternity.

Pier 1
East Pratt Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
(410) 539-1797

The Haunting of the Doll Named Robert

Robert Doll – Monroe County, Key West, Florida

Photograph ©Haunted America Tours

The historic Artist House, home to the infamous Robert Doll, was constructed in 1898 by Mr. Thomas Otto and his wife. This charming residence, however, hides a dark past, as the Ottos were notorious for mistreating their servants. Among them was a young servant girl reputed to possess skills in the mysterious art of voodoo.

Legend has it that this servant girl presented a doll to Gene, the Otto's son, a doll that allegedly bore the weight of a voodoo curse. This cursed doll, Gene named "Robert", became an eerie companion to the young boy, and a harbinger of strange occurrences that would plague the house for years to come.
As Gene carried Robert everywhere, engaging in conversations that seemed to involve two distinct voices, the Otto family began witnessing unsettling events. Gene's mother, disturbed by the inexplicable conversations, would burst into the bedroom only to find Gene cowering in fear while the doll, perched on the bed or in a chair, seemed to gaze malevolently down at the frightened boy.
A series of inexplicable incidents followed, each attributed to the doll by Gene, who would simply say, "Robert did it." Locked-out servants, dishes thrown in the dining room, torn clothing and bedding, and even mutilated toys—all became part of the strange tapestry woven by the reported actions of the cursed doll.
Family members and close friends became convinced of the doll's sinister influence. Giggles from the doll, fleeting glimpses of it running up the stairs, and even sightings of the doll peering out of windows, fueled the growing belief that Robert was possessed by a malevolent force.
As Gene matured, he clung to the doll and his childhood home. Even after his parents' demise, Gene and the doll remained inseparable, earning them the dubious distinction as the talk of the town. Gene's wife, whose mental state deteriorated during their ill-fated marriage, is rumored to haunt the Artist House to this day, as well.
Following Gene's death, the doll, alone in the house, was sold to new owners. Despite being relegated to the attic, Robert's discontent manifested as he began appearing in various areas of the house. The situation escalated when an owner discovered the doll at the foot of their bed, clutching a knife. Fearing the eerie presence, the tenants hastily vacated the premises.
Robert's journey didn't end there; he found a new residence in the East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida. Guarded closely, the doll attracts tourists from across the country. Witnesses claim Robert has smirked at them, and strange phenomena persists, such as cameras malfunctioning or capturing blank images, fueling the mystique surrounding this eerie artifact and the Artist House, with its haunted history, continues to captivate those who dare to explore its chilling secrets.
534 Eaton Street
Key West, Florida 33040
(305) 296-3977