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Haunted Swan Pond Church

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Read about the haunted church and cemetery in Harriman, TN  where I share a real experience that proves the ghostly legend might be true in my newest book titled Chasing Ghost Tales in Tennessee, look it up online through or check out my e-store.


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After you read this blog, be sure to check  our main website dedicated to haunted locations and research

I have to wonder sometimes how legends of hauntings begin! I have to say that by all accounts, Swan Pond Church and Cemetery in Harriman, TN appears to be nothing more than a humble structure for worship and remembrance. But since I am devoted to researching haunted locations in and around my home state of  Tennessee, I had to see for myself if there are spirits lurking atop this small hill in Roane County, TN, which by the way, Swan Pond is  one of Harriman’s oldest communities.  That may be reason alone for ghostly visitors.

I am not satisfied that is the reason for the urban legend attached. Search the web for haunted places and Swan Pond will come up. Rumors of a preacher hanging himself in the 1980’s along with  sightings of his body hanging in the bell tower are documented on the web.  Yet the church members and nearby citizens dispute that this tragedy never occurred. It sounds like many other church legends, the preacher goes quietly insane and hangs himself…. dozens of other states have similar stories, I fail to believe this one as you can’t even see inside the bell tower.

 I truly want to give this legend a chance to be true. Murder is a valid reason for a haunting, and there are 2 headstones in the graveyard of murder victims, but were the victims murdered in the church or on the grounds? No they were not. So why would their spirits haunt these grounds? According to various websites, this place is supposed to have a lot of paranormal activity. I wanted to know the answers to these and more questions. Could it be because of the restless spirits of at least 6 community members who mysteriously fell ill & died after a gathering at this site over a century ago? Well, now that is feasible.

I took 5 others with me the night we visited Swan Pond Church and Cemetery. Armed with camera’s, camcorders, compasses, digital voice recorders and our various personalities we challenged the legend. Truthfully, I felt as though I was being watched. I sensed a presence. But I did not get anything on camera, or with any other tool to validate that this cemetery is haunted. I did not hear an organ playing in the non-occupied building of the church. I did not see anything through windows, and am unsure how anyone could see any images or see inside- since they’re stained, not clear. I didn’t hear doors slamming from inside, nor did I see hovering lights. There are reports of mist rising from the graves and watchful red eyes leering at non suspecting visitors from the woods. I can imagine that the passing cars on the nearby roads might give this illusion.

I did hear a possible whisper in the Swan Pond cemetery after reviewing our video. It sounded to me as though it was a whispering voice telling us to “Leave.” The video is posted on our Investigations page of the main website linked above.

I will not dismiss the idea that this church and cemetery may indeed be haunted. I can’t confirm a haunting, but I can say that there may be a few reasons why restless spirits may frequent this spot. Some believe that spirits visit the place that makes them happy. Perhaps a long-standing church member, not quiet at peace yet,  hanging onto this life a while longer visits a church they once loved. Maybe an agitated spirit returns because their sacred resting place was disturbed when TVA came through and took some of the graveyard to move the steam plant. And now, after the ash spill so nearby, maybe there are more unsettled specters visiting the hilltop graveyard. Or could it be that sometimes spirits visit the gravesites of their loved ones?

In all honesty, I can imagine that the church and it’s members would prefer that the ghost stories attached to this place would simply vanish. I know that we respect every place we visit, but this is not always the case with a lot of people interested in these kinds of stories. I hope that anyone who decides to investigate Swan Pond will respect it, too. I get the feeling it is a nice, pleasant church with very loving members who attend. As for the cemetery, well, it is a resting place for people who once lived, irregardless to the time they spent here, they should all be respected. If they are no longer alive, but still return to watch over this area, then respect their spirits.  That is all I would ask.

For our video on SwanPond Church

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