Are there ghosts at Falcon Rest?
If there is one question asked more than any other, it must be, "Is Falcon Rest really haunted?"
As a movie director sensitive to “spirits” once told us, “I can feel a real presence in the mansion, but whatever it may be is friendly, curious, and just wants to be known.” While we don’t affirm or deny the existence of ghosts, we will say we either have friendly ghosts or a strange series of coincidences.
Consider some of the “evidence.”
Whistling on the staircase ...
Many of the stories about “spirits” at Falcon Rest center around the bedroom at the foot of the staircase where Clay Faulkner, the mansion’s original owner, died in 1916. Footsteps heard on the steps when no one was there … items found in a different place one day than they had been left the day before … the scent of cigar smoke in the air …
One Christmas a young man was decorating a tree in the upstairs hallway. He came to the Visitor’s Center looking very pale and asked, “Has anyone been in the mansion lately?” The answer was, “No, but why do you ask?”
He gulped and said, “I was whistling ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.’ I stopped, but the whistling continued for several seconds and started moving down the steps.” According to this young man, our “ghost” not only appears to have been in the Christmas spirit; he has perfect pitch!
Recording devices gone berserk ...
Spirits are well-known for interfering with electronics. Faulkner was ahead of his time with technology (in 1896 his mansion had indoor plumbing, electric lights, central steam heat, a telephone, and primitive air conditioning), so he would naturally be interested in today’s recording equipment.
The Cookeville, Tenn., PBS station taped what they thought was a flawless feature several years ago, then called to say they would have to do it over. “It sounded like there was a hurricane when we played back the tape,” they said, even though the day of the taping had been perfectly still.
The PBS radio station in nearby Murfreesboro won the Tennessee Broadcaster’s Award for their audio walking tour of Falcon Rest … but only after they edited out unexplained interference in the mansion’s original dining room.
The mirror that fell ...
A tour guide named Liz was telling a group in Mr. Faulkner’s bedroom about the suspected ghost. One of the women said, “When we came in, I saw a young lady wearing a bonnet and a long dress come into the mansion’s front door. Was that one of your re-enactors?” Liz said, “There’s no one here in costume today, the front door is supposed to be locked, and we don’t really have ‘re-enactors.’ But we do have inhabitants!”
Immediately, there was a loud crash that sounded like an explosion. Liz went through the rest of the tour dreading what she’d find broken, but she saw nothing out of place. It took another trip through to realize the ornately carved mirror that had been hanging above the dining room buffet had fallen, without hitting anything on the buffet. It struck the floor without getting broken itself. The wire that was holding it up was still firmly attached, and the screws were still in the wall.
It may have been a coincidence, but we like to think the “inhabitants” were trying to confirm Liz’s story. We’ve been told since then that ghosts don’t like looking into two mirrors that directly face each other (this one had faced the one over the mantel), and it was the third time that mirror had tried to fall down. Since next time they might break something on the buffet, and one good ghost story is worth a whole lot of mirrors, we’ve just left the mirror where they dropped it years ago.
Cold air passing through ...
Every year Falcon Rest is open, we have more visitors who report experiences with unseen “inhabitants” of the mansion. Sometimes these might be figments of overactive imaginations, but occasionally a self-professed skeptic finds reason to rethink his doubts.
Such was the case with a retired gentleman who toured the mansion with his wife. When the guide brought them back to the Visitor’s Center, he said, “If this had happened to my wife, I wouldn’t have believed her, but it happened to me.”
That was enough to bring us out of the office to get more details.
“We had just gone into the dining room,” he said, “and all the hairs on my arms started to stand up. I felt cold air move right through me, like something had literally walked through my body. I’ve never had an experience like that in my entire life, even though there has been plenty of opportunity to. After all, I was a funeral director for 40 years!”
His story reminded our Gent of one of his own that he’d never mentioned before. “Years ago, I was walking in one direction through the mansion’s dining room, and I felt something cold go through me in the opposite direction. It was one of the strangest feelings I’ve ever had.”
“I don’t know for sure if I believe in ghosts, but I do know there are some things I don’t understand.
Is Falcon Rest really haunted? I’ll leave that question up to you.
But all the ‘evidence’ is just one more reason it’s the Victorian mansion where history is fun.”
George McGlothin – Falcon Rest’s Victorian Gentleman
Occasionally one of our visitors “captures” what they think is a spirit in a photograph.
Such was the case with this picture. It certainly looked like a lady was checking out the guests from the center window upstairs. Only one problem …no one was upstairs at the time.
Interested in the paranormal?
If ghosts fascinate you, tell us when you come for a tour.
We’ll add more stories about the strange happenings that have occurred here over the years.
At this time, the mansion is not available for paranormal investigations.