Built in 1853, by Nathaniel Cheairs, a major in the Confederate army, the historic Rippavilla Mansion serves as the focal point of a 100-acre plantation.
Many say the history that followed still haunts the grounds.
“If any house could be haunted, this one would be. This one would be,” said Chuck Byrn.
Byrn told News 2 people were born, raised, and died inside the home.
In 1862, it was occupied by Union soldiers. But two years later, Confederate General John Bell Hood and his officers planned for the Battle of Franklin.
“It’s here on the front porch where Forest threatened to beat Hood within an inch of his life,” Byrn explained.
The home later served as a field hospital, leaving behind bloodstains.
“The bottom, the north side where the piano is, was actually used as a surgery [ward], with pieces and parts being thrown out the window, soldiers interred in the yard and locally through here as well,” Byrn told News 2.
At times, the home can feel cold and heavy, and many can still hear, see, and smell the spirits of the past-from rosewater perfume to the hair tonic of a well-groomed man.
“You will smell pipe tobacco, and you will smell good cigars here. Sometime you will smell cigarettes, too,” Byrn said.
From old spirits to young one, it’s not uncommon to hear children playing on the grounds at Rippavilla Plantation either.
And in one room specifically, there’s been numerous sightings of a little girl named Annabel.
“We have a tape of a recording of Annabel talking. Someone asks, ‘Well what’s your name?’ and she said, ‘Annnnnnaaaabel’ really sing-songy,” Byrd explained.
Children are drawn to the room, and the 1810 baby bed has been known to move on its own.
A number of EVPs, electronic voice phenomenon, have been captured inside the mansion, and while News 2 didn’t use any special equipment, when we got back to the news station, we heard what sounded like a baby crying during our interview at the mansion.
The sounds aren’t surprising to those who work on the grounds. They often hear boots pounding across the hardwood floor and conversations of a pre-Civil War ghost in the garden.
Doors shut on their own, the security system is regularly tripped, and some may have seen Mrs. Cheairs peering out of a bedroom window.
The apparitions happen all year round, at any time of the day. After all, it is their home.