A Haunted Halloween in Memphis

By: Summer Rudd

It isn't uncommon for Memphis to be referred to as a "scary" city. While most of its natives have learned to love and appreciate Memphis for all that their it has to offer, its reputation as one of the most crime stricken cities of the U.S. is enough to have many visitors unnerved when they walk down Beale Street and its surrounding areas.  

But what about the sights that have been named legendary by those who have had the most frightening experiences of all?

Around this time of year, however, Memphis can spook just about anyone. As people walk the streets of Memphis dressed in their finest, scariest costumes to big corn mazes and haunted houses, they expect to find an ephemeral thrill to tis the season. Some Christian Brothers University students may not think to truly seek out the haunted places in Memphis, though they are easily worth all the hype.

On October 27th I was lucky enough to take part in the Memphis Ghost Tours, located inside of BB King’s Blues Club on the corner of Beale Street and Second.  I heard of this hole in the wall tour from word of mouth around CBU, and was dying to give it a try, no pun intended. Thankfully my experience was phenomenal.  I got the chance to learn not only about current hauntings that plague the core of our lovely city, but I was also able to learn about the history of Memphis. 

Gayoso Avenue is an alley in Memphis that was once covered in bodies diseased with yellow fever.  According to our lovely tour guide, Stephanie Cunningham, over 100 people were dying a day in Memphis alone.  People were dumped in allies, yet there were not enough living people to clean up the streets, leading to this street affectionately called Death Alley back in the 1800s.  Now it is  no wonder there are claims of hauntings all down this road.

After this stop, we walked in a loop back to Main Street and hit the haunted Gayoso House, Grawmeyers, the Peabody, the Orpheum, and Ernestine and Hazel’s.  I don’t want to give away the whole tour because I simply could not give it as much justice as Stephanie Cunningham did.  Still, I can't go without mentioning my favorite part of the ghost tour. Ernestine and Hazel’s is an old Brothel that is considered one of the most haunted places in Memphis.  My experience was amazing while in this old building.  The doors would shake and the wooden floors were creaking as I moved around; it is definitely an old building.  Whether someone believes it is truly haunted is up to them.

Overall, the tour was amazing.  For $20, you get a two-hour long walking tour exploring the haunted streets of Memphis.  Even if you are not a believer, the tour is filled with tons of history that makes one appreciate the city a little more.  If you happen to be downtown, I highly encourage you to take this lovely tour. 

Summer Rudd is a Sophomore Psychology Major at Christian Brothers University and a staff writer at the Galleon.

Posted by Josh Colfer at 11:18 AM

The Galleon is curated and managed by Christian Brothers University, a Memphis-based university founded in the Lasallian tradition (a sect within the Catholic faith). Part of our founding mission is to uphold respect for all persons-regardless of political, religious, or social beliefs. As an institution, we take no stand on political matters; to do so would undermine our commitment to intellectual inquiry and thoughtful response to events taking place in our World by members of the CBU community.

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