Geek Travel: Haunted Holly Springs
About an hour south of my home in Memphis is the historic small town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. Aside from driving through their occasionally and stopping for gas I have sadly never really thought much about this town. That changed when I began to see ads for for the Haunted Holly Springs Tour. This community having enough paranormal activity to warrant a whole ass tour was a bit unexpected but it makes sense. Northern Mississippi was a pivotal region during the Civil War and the community was hit especially hard by the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1878, so the potential is there for supernatural activity. Since I am always one to hop onto any ghost tour I signed up one night to visit the haunted sites of Holly Springs, Mississippi.
Arriving early I partook of a beer at the Apothecary, an event room in Holly Springs’ town square where guests can linger before the actual tour. To be honest, I grew concerned about what my experience of the night would entail as a group of childrens ran wild while their parents did little to nothing to calm the little monsters. As my beautiful, incredible, brilliant wife can attest, every time I go to a place I have never been before I automatically look for the available ghost tours, so this was not my first rodeo more like my 173rd rodeo. That being said I have never had children on a ghost tour, much less hyper kids who run around like maniacs. But something incredible happened once the tour actually started as Phillip Knecht, the operator and tour guide of Haunted Holly Springs, took control. With the perfect combination of knowledge and humor he commanded the attention of the entire tour group from the start. He was able to grab the attention of the laypeople as much as he did a seasoned paranormal investigator like myself. He guided us to the first stop of the night, the bluffs which overlooked where the original Springs of Holly Springs once flowed. With the supernatural origins of the town explained, we learned how during the nights the cries of small children could be heard. In fact on a recent tour, the owners of a nearby house attested that their skepticism of the paranormal came to an end when they began to hear a child crying from their upstairs bedroom while the number of actual children in their house amounted to a whopping ZERO. Bringing a nice bit of fear factor to the night, the next stop was on a street lined with historic homes where the ghost of a carnival clown has been seen numerous times over the decades. Adding greater impact to this site was the fact that Phillip proudly displayed the photo of a full-bodied apparition in full-fledged clown regalia that he had captured in the yard of a nearby home.
After a top at the local museum which is haunted by a soldier from the Civil War who was killed by a protective father, the tour was led to the Yellow Fever Martyrs Museum. Once a church ran by a priest and nun who remained throughout the epidemic which hit this region of the country while so many others fled. Being someone who always carries a K2 meter with me when I know there is the potential to go to a haunted location I took notice that the device registered a few hits as Phillip began discussing the history and hauntings in this museum. There was something in this museum which lingered long after the plague had passed, Phillip explained how even the producer of a paranormal reality show which filmed at this location even felt a supernatural presence here. The next stop on the tour was possibly the biggest highlight of the night, a place usually visited by the college-aged youths and punk rock community of Memphis on late-night road trips, Graceland Too. Originally a 19th century mansion, it was purchased by eccentric Elvis-mega fan Paul Macleod in the 1970’s. He ran this private residence as a 24/7 tourist attraction for decades until he was found dead on the front porch in 2014. Not only did Macleod shuffle off this mortal coil at this strange spot, but so did his own mother as well as a potential violent thief he took care of. At this spot our tour guide Phillip played a couple of the EVPs which have been recorded here. From what can be gathered from these audio recordings from the other side, Paul Macleod’s mother still lingers in this home, but more than that the spirits here pay attention to the living who visit as one of them knew his name.
Following this we made the hike to the entire other end of the street to a historic home built in the 1830’s called Featherston Place. Now a classy wedding venue overlooking a park, Featherston Place is filled with paranormal activity thanks to years of tragedy. The most famous ghost is that of a woman who was horrid and vain in life and seems not to have changed in death. In addition to this a number of her descendants were claimed during the Yellow Fever and their souls seemingly refuse to leave. The tour came to an end at the local courthouse. It was here that a former sheriff supposedly committed suicide on the third floor….with his throat slit ear-to-ear…..while his hands were handuffed….to the floor….so maybe there were some odd circumstances surrounding this event. Not only does the former sheriff still haunt the third floor, but being a lawyer by trade Phillip has had his own encounters with this spirit none of which were pleasant.
It goes without saying that the Haunted Holly Springs tour Hill Country Hauntings was more than worth the hour drive. Holly Springs, Mississippi is one of those towns where the past refuses to fade and the spirits of the past still linger and make themselves known. Fearlessly leading us through this journey into the supernatural, Phillip proved to be the perfect tour guide for the night. In addition to this, he also offers other tours based around the darker side of Holly Springs’ history. For myself, taking the roadtrip to this charming and spooky Mississippi town may become an annual trip for me as someone who is always game for an encounter with those from the other side.