Sevierville's eerie history told at genealogical conference event

Nov. 01, 2013 @ 11:58 PM

The city received a Halloween treat Thursday afternoon when the ghosts of people who met untimely deaths in Sevierville history visited the downtown gazebo to tell their stories. Not even the threat of bad weather could keep these ghosts away.

Carroll McMahan hosted "The Ghosts of Sevierville," a program in which he told a little about some famous and infamous deaths while girls from the Teen Readers' Theater program at the library, who were in full costume, took turns telling the tales from the point of view of each ghost they were portraying.

"You'll have to use a little imagination," McMahan said at the start of the program. "Unfortunately, it seems that all of the people who had untimely deaths here were men, and only young ladies wanted to reinact."

Those willing to use a little imagination got to learn quite a bit about several different notable deaths, including two boys who were hanged behind the courthouse, a boy who drowned in the river, a policeman killed in the line of duty, a doctor who was shot in his living room, a soldier who was killed with a hatchet in his sleep and two would-be bank robbers whose plans went awry.

Sometimes the ghosts had a bit of a foggy memory when it came to events that, in some cases, happened more than a century ago. Fortunately, McMahan helped coax their memories out.

He did make it clear, however, that his knowledge was not necessarily from being an eyewitness. After noting that his recollection of an event did not match up with what the ghost character said, McMahan quipped, "I mean that I remember hearing about it, I don't actually remember it. I'm not quite that old."

The ghost tour kicks off the 2013 Sevier County Public Library System Annual Genealogy Conference, which takes place at the King Family Library and continues through Saturday.