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Old 04-15-2007, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Cookeville, Tennessee
41 posts, read 169,284 times
Reputation: 44

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I used to beg my dad to tell me bedtime "ghost stories" when I was little. He would usually give in and reluctantly tell me one that he had heard himself as a child (he was born in 1928 in the western end of Putnam County). Although he did not believe in such things, he would try to recall stories that he had heard the "old folks" tell to entertain themselves and the children at night, after the work was done and before bed time, by the fireplace and coal oil lamp back in the first half of the last century.
One of my favorites had to do with the mysterious black creature that was known to appear along the road (now US 70 or Nashville Hwy) in front of where the old Rollen place used to be. The Rollen family operated a "stand" or place that would put up travelers for the night back in the 1800's along this route through Putnam County running between Nashville and Knoxville. It was apparently strongly suspected locally (though obviously not to those passing through) that many a traveler met a tragic end by stopping at the Rollen's to rest for the night. It was reported that one could find himself relieved of their valuables and end up with their throats slashed, dumped in a cave on the back side of the Rollen property. This much information can be found in the "History of Putnam County" published in 1925. It is the mysterious happenings which reportedly happened in the vicinity in later years (late 1800's, early 1900's) that has always facinated me. I'll tell this story (and maybe another one or two) if anybody's interested.
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Old 04-15-2007, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
22,533 posts, read 46,067,135 times
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I love that story and would love to hear more! Please!
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Old 04-15-2007, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Cookeville, Tennessee
41 posts, read 169,284 times
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QUOTE=hiknapster;581696]I love that story and would love to hear more! Please! [/quote]

Okay, according to legend, if you were passing the Rollen Place after dark (on foot, riding a horse or driving a wagon), you were apt to find that you were suddenly accompanied by a black animal(?). This was not a dog or a cat, but was about the size of a medium-sized dog. It made absolutely no sound, but would trot along beside you matching your speed, or even jump up on the tongue of your wagon and ride there. Horses would be spooked by this thing, and would be hard to control. It had glowing eyes, even in the dark with no light source other than the moonlight, and would sort of "smile" at you as it trotted or rode along. This thing would appear several yards before you got to the place where the old Rollen house used to sit, and would disappear at about the same distance past. As far as I know, no one was ever physically harmed by this thing, but more than a few folks (including big, strong, sober men) had the bejeebees scared out of them. And I don't know what it was, but all who cared to speculate agreed that it was evil.... some were sure it was the devil.
I'm not sure when was the last time anybody saw "the black thing", but it was probably around the time they turned the dirt road into a modern, paved road - U. S. Highway 70. Today you would never know the the Rollen Place ever existed, once just a few yards off the highway. You would never imagine the horrible crimes that allegedly took place there. You would not picture that "thing' that tormented those unfortunate passersby years later. But, everytime that I travel that stretch of highway, day or night, I think about it.... and speed up just a little.
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Old 04-15-2007, 07:55 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in TN
709 posts, read 1,702,637 times
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Oh this is just excellent. I wonder if there was any truth to the old tales and whether there would be evidence today somewhere. I mean, you know you're not going to find a skeleton of the black thing but I wonder if there really were travelers who were robbed and killed there? How horrifying. I must relate this to the children. They will be skeeved and fascinated...and I'll bet their friends have never heard these stories even though they grew up here. Thanks!!
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:27 PM
 
Location: Cookeville, Tennessee
41 posts, read 169,284 times
Reputation: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordy View Post
Oh this is just excellent. I wonder if there was any truth to the old tales and whether there would be evidence today somewhere. I mean, you know you're not going to find a skeleton of the black thing but I wonder if there really were travelers who were robbed and killed there? How horrifying. I must relate this to the children. They will be skeeved and fascinated...and I'll bet their friends have never heard these stories even though they grew up here. Thanks!!
The Upper Cumberland area, and Cookeville/Putnam County specifically, is full of ghost stories or "haint tales", as they used to be known. Booger Swamp, Grazy George's Bridge, the Buckner Witch and the Bangham Wildman (not technically a haunting, but an interesting story, nontheless) are just a few of the better known legends. My personal favorite, though, has to be the haunted house that was just one house away from my childhood home - pretty scary stuff for a five year old..... I loved it!!!
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:30 PM
 
11,603 posts, read 31,771,782 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneKEighty View Post
The Upper Cumberland area, and Cookeville/Putnam County specifically, is full of ghost stories or "haint tales", as they used to be known. Booger Swamp, Grazy George's Bridge, the Buckner Witch and the Bangham Wildman (not technically a haunting, but an interesting story, nontheless) are just a few of the better known legends. My personal favorite, though, has to be the haunted house that was just one house away from my childhood home - pretty scary stuff for a five year old..... I loved it!!!
I went to Crazy George's Bridge one night and turned the lights off in my car just to see what it was like. Holy cow I'd never been so scared in my life! I know it's silly, but there's something freaky about that place! I'm going to be interested to see what they do when they rebuild the railroad tracks and put in the bike path through there.
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:38 PM
 
Location: Cookeville, Tennessee
41 posts, read 169,284 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMT View Post
I went to Crazy George's Bridge one night and turned the lights off in my car just to see what it was like. Holy cow I'd never been so scared in my life! I know it's silly, but there's something freaky about that place! I'm going to be interested to see what they do when they rebuild the railroad tracks and put in the bike path through there.
Me too! Ole George may finally find his missing head with the aid of some two-wheel transportation.
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Old 04-15-2007, 08:57 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in TN
709 posts, read 1,702,637 times
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I think I live pretty close to Booger Swamp. Within a few miles, anyway.

What is the Booger Swamp story? PLEASE?? With a name like that it just has to be good.
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Old 04-15-2007, 10:05 PM
 
Location: Cookeville, Tennessee
41 posts, read 169,284 times
Reputation: 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wordy View Post
I think I live pretty close to Booger Swamp. Within a few miles, anyway.

What is the Booger Swamp story? PLEASE?? With a name like that it just has to be good.
Booger Swamp is located east of town (actually within the city limits of Cookeville, now), along Dry Valley Rd. Today, there is actually not much "swamp" left, and there are several homes (and even street lights) along through the area. But back in the early days of Putnam County history, the swamp consited of a fairly large area. The Old Walton Road, East Broad/Buck Mountain Rd. today, ran right through the middle of the swamp. The Old Walton Road was a major east-west route in the 1800's and fairly well-travelled. The story is told that a popular circuit-riding Baptist preacher was coming into town on horseback late one night when he saw the misty figure of what he thought looked like an indian woman floating a few feet off the ground. The figure was silent, but looked like she was trying to communicate with the preacher, to becon or warn him about something. At about this time, the preacher decided to ask the spectre what it was doing there, and it vanished. Well, preacher wasn't about to stick around to see if this spirit returned! He left the area with great speed, and the next day, reported the previous night's excitement to the folks around town. Reportedly, when church officials heard about this, they promptly dismissed the preacher on suspician of being inebriated , and he left the area never to return. Over the years, there have been several reported sightings of a similar nature, as well as different theories as to the reason for the mysterious appearances. The most enduring explanation for what the preacher saw that dark night in what was to become known as Booger Swamp, was the mournful spirit of an Indian squaw searching for her lover who had died (due to a variety of circumstances, depending on who is telling the story). Strange sounds and other weird occurances were for many years commonly reported in the vicinity. But, for the past several years, hardly a peep has been heard from the resident haint. Like a lot of other things around here, Booger Swamp just ain't what it used to be.
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Old 04-16-2007, 06:41 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in TN
709 posts, read 1,702,637 times
Reputation: 772
Oh, AWESOME. What a great story. Thanks, 180!!!
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