If you are a fan of country music you know the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee as “The Mother Church of Country Music”. It has been the home to the Grand Ole Opry off and on for the last seventy years and is one of the most revered music venues for artists all over the world. However, did you know there is a dark side to the historic auditorium? A new book written by Allen and Chelsie Sircy called, Southern Ghost Stories: Historical Hauntings takes a deep dive into the history of the Ryman going all the way back to it’s days as an actual church and entertainment venue in the 19th century all the way up to present day.
The book starts off with the rise of Thomas Ryman, a salty Riverboat Captain on the Cumberland River who rose to prominence after the Civil War. After changing his ways and becoming a born again Christian, Ryman would become instrumental in building the Union Gospel Tabernacle, which eventually became the Ryman Auditorium after his death in 1904.
In addition to some alleged ghost sightings in the Ryman, we also learn about “The Opry Curse”. The curse has supposedly affected several members and performers of the Grand Ole Opry over the years and taken some legends from us prematurely. One of my favorite stories in the book is about Jim Denny, the booking agent for the Opry. In addition to firing the legendary Hank Williams, Jim also told Elvis Presley he should move back to Memphis and drive a truck for a living after the “King of Rock N Roll” failed to impress the audience with his rockabilly version of ‘Blue Moon of Kentucky’ in 1954.
Not only does Southern Ghost Stores: Historical Hauntings fill you in on the Ryman, you will also learn the history behind following locations:
The Brown Hotel Louisville, Kentucky
The Jailers Inn Bardstown, Kentucky
Cragfont Castilian Springs, Tennessee
The Lotz House Franklin, Tennessee
The Pirates’ House Savannah, Georgia
The Sorrel-Weed House Savannah, Georgia
Le Pavillon New Orleans, Louisiana