5 Star Stories: Hunting for Memphis’ most historical haunts

Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 10:55 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphis is the home of the blues, the birthplace of rock and roll, and the history of the civil rights movement.

And since history and ghosts go hand in hand, it’s also said to be one of America’s most haunted cities.

“The name Deadman’s Alley goes all the way back to the yellow fever epidemic in Memphis this was in the 1870s,” said Stephen Guenther, managing partner of Historical Haunts of Memphis ghost tours.

The tours take people on paranormal-themed journeys through the city.

“But also, we approach it first, as the name says, historical. So most of our stories are all grounded in historical facts and stories that you might even be able to find on the internet,” explained Guenther.

Historical Haunts offers walking ghost tours through downtown Memphis and even haunted pub crawls.

“We visit three haunted bars here in the South Main district, in the historical district, and tell ghost stories sort of to each one that are unique and others that happened in this area,” said Guenther. “They have a jukebox, downstairs and they say it plays music. They say it kicks on sometimes without it even being plugged in. That it’s really operated by the spirits. Often, the owners of the places will join us, also and tell concurrent stories that may have happened today, yesterday, last week. In some of these buildings, things continue to happen, so it’s not just history, some are more current.”

He shares one particular story.

“There was a girl who was working here and she was like a new server. She was in the bathroom by herself and she heard footsteps and then she heard someone shut the door. And then she was like, ‘Guys, stop playing.’ Then, the toilet paper roll just started spinning, out of control,” Guenther recalled.

For a more in-depth look at Memphis’ haunted past, there’s also the original Haunted Memphis bus tour. Tour Manager Tanya Vandesteeg guides the bus tour.

“So, we have been running tours, kind of in and out of the Memphis area, whether it’s out of the Woodruff Fontaine House here on our very own Adams Avenue Victorian Village, since about 2012. We kind of came together. I want people to come in and learn Memphis’ history, you know, who is Memphis, why is Memphis here, and then kind of those darkened sides of Memphis that make it so interesting,” said Vandesteeg.

Although it is the season of trick-or-treating, historical Haunts of Memphis holds its ghost tours year-round. To book a tour, click here.

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