In a gorgeous stretch of forest that was part of the first western frontier lies Big Ridge State Park in Tennessee. Lying in the Cumberland Mountains, the trails explore over fifteen miles. One well known trail is Big Ridge State Park’s “Ghost House Trail.” The trail allows visitors a chance to step into the history of pre-1930s inhabitants. The one mile hike allows explorers to view the Hutchinson Compound and the Norton Cemetery.
First on the stop is the Norton Cemetery. The trailside cemetery features the sunken grave of Maston Hutchinson. He is rumored to have fought in the Civil War. This site, and Mr. Hutchinson are blamed for many of the occurrences on the Ghost Hike Trail.
When hikers walk their dogs through the area, many will refuse to enter certain places or extend past certain points. The dogs get highly aggressive, often barking, having their hair rise, or backing on their hind legs. Horses have been said to have similar reactions. People also describe hearing sounds of approaching horses and dogs but never being able to locate the source.
People have described seeing a man in Civil War fatigues who appears to float over the tops of the trails. Rangers have described seeing the apparition of a middle aged man who is always dressed in a red flannel shirt and gray work pants. He never speaks and seems to materialize from the woods. Others have reported seeing the vision of the man appearing in photos taken at the site- even though he was not visible at the time. Even unluckier visitors describe feeling something around their ankle at the site and seeing what appears to be a bony hand around their ankle in photos.
Traveling further down Ghost Hike Trail in Big Ridge State Park is the Hutchinson Compound. From 1826 to 1910, the Compound served as the home of Maston Hutchinson and his family. Many eerie and unexplainable events are centered around the structure.
In the 1800s, Maston Hutchinson’s daughter was struck with Tuberculosis. Medics were summoned and were attempting to hurry to the home when they heard a dog running toward them, snarling and growling. Pausing, they could find no dog. Upon reaching the home, they discovered Hutchinson’s daughter had already passed. They were horrified to discover that her passing was at the exact time they had felt approached by the unseen dog.
Even after the family passed on and the house was abandoned, neighbors would hear voices crying from the inside and see silhouettes of the family moving about throughout the home. Many of them felt forced to leave their homes and relocate as a result of the disturbances. Hikers who make it up to Hutchinson Compound have experienced similar occurrences. They describe hearing the panting of an approaching dog, hearing voices crying out from the home, and seeing silhouettes of the family appear in photos taken either at the home or Norton Cemetery.
Tennessee’s Big Ridge State Park, spread out over 3,687 acres, provides plenty of opportunities with over fifteen miles of hiking, fifty campsites for family adventures, and beaches for lazy Summer days. After so many reports of activity on some trails, they aptly decided to use the name “Ghost House Trail” to warn adventurous hikers of what lies in store for them. The name likely serves as a warning for some and a mere challenge for others.