Asheville welcomes nearly a million visitors over the course of a year, many head straight for the Biltmore Estate just a few miles south of town. It’s exotic looking main building, expansive gardens, and well-designed visitor facilities are an obvious draw. The House itself is haunted, of course, a headless ginger cat is our favorite story.
It’s the Forestry School building on the far edges of the 8,000-acre estate that has the best stories through. The German forestry expert Carl A. Schenck was employed by George Washington Vanderbilt to look after the Biltmore estate forests. He was so good at it that students came from all across the nation to learn his techniques. Vanderbilt constructed the school and sponsored the Teacher until they had a severe falling out about that old classic; money.
The elegant wooden lodge was abandoned and fell into disrepair, the classrooms were falling apart, and locals were using the other rooms for all sorts of private monkey business. The place gained quite a reputation and even a few local ghost stories. The location was allegedly used to conduct secret hangings, and the ghosts of those whose lives ended here persist in spirit form.
We’ve carefully crafted our tour to take you on a unique journey through downtown Asheville, stopping at locations that are home to eerie presences and paranormal energies as well as being significant historical landmarks. This tour is suitable for locals and tourists looking to learn more about Asheville’s history and its resident paranormal entities. Whether you’ve always wanted to know the story behind some of Asheville’s historic buildings and paranormal locations, or you’re just passing through town and are looking for a memorable experience, Asheville Terrors blends just the right amount of history, fun, and fear to bring you a tour you’re guaranteed to love.
We’ve also designed our tour to be enjoyable for people of all ages. We take you on a moderately paced, one-mile loop through the historic downtown region, making for a perfect outing for families, groups, and solo ghost hunters alike!
After your tour, you’ll leave with:
Asheville is located in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, some of the most ancient landforms in the world. Many people believe the Blue Ridge is endowed with supernatural powers of healing, spiritual connection, and clairvoyance—as well as with a host of paranormal entities that are said to roam the land to this day. Asheville is what some might call a focal point for these supernatural influences. The city has witnessed countless tragic events across history. Many believe the supernatural forces at work among the region’s ancient mountains have played a part in intensifying paranormal activity in Asheville.
Asheville was a remote mountain town for most of its early years, largely isolated and inaccessible to the surrounding region. However, with the arrival of the railroad came Asheville’s first growth spurt: George Vanderbilt began building the famed Biltmore Estate, the largest private residence in the United States, and in his wake followed thousands of other wealthy people looking to settle in the scenic, temperate region.
When the Great White Plague, tuberculosis, swept through the United States, Asheville became one of the most popular destinations for patients suffering from the disease to seek treatment. Many of the buildings that stand across town today are repurposed tuberculosis wards that have stood witness to hundreds of tragic deaths. The great migration of wealthy elites seeking treatment for tuberculosis in Asheville led to the development of several of its most famous hotels and resorts, including the Grove Park Inn. In some ways, one of the most terrible epidemics in the nation’s history helped shape Asheville into the resort destination it is today, though at the price of hundreds of thousands of deaths.
The Roaring Twenties also brought socialites from across the nation to Asheville, including Zelda Fitzgerald, the wife of famed author F. Scott Fitzgerald; Zelda met her untimely demise in Asheville due to a terrible accident. Her spirit, along with several other high-profile socialites of the era are rumored to haunt the city to this day.
As the Jazz Age passed and the Great Depression hit, Asheville was impacted more profoundly than almost any other southeast city. Many of the city’s historic buildings were the site of countless suicides before standing empty for decades as the region’s economy crumbled. Asheville was economically devastated, and the town became desolate. Decades later, the city finally paid off all its pre-Depression debt and began growing once more.
This pattern of growth and collapse has caused Asheville to be a city marked by tragedy, struggle, and perseverance. Despite the city’s veneer of lighthearted fun and pleasure, these streets are soaked with the blood of murder victims, suicides, and gruesome accidents that have occurred across history. With roots stretching back to before the Civil War, Asheville is a city built on more than 200 years of tragedy and mystery.
Asheville is an architectural goldmine with many world-renowned historic buildings standing much as they did more than a hundred years ago. Paranormal entities are known to remain attached to the buildings and sites that were significant to them in life, and Asheville’s wealth of historic architecture has caused the downtown area, in particular, to be a supernatural hotspot. The Battery Park Hotel, the Grove Arcade, and Asheville’s distinctive City Hall are just a few examples of historical sites with shadowy pasts…
After the Great Depression crippled the city’s economy, many of these buildings stood empty and decaying for years. Asheville finally paid off its pre-Depression debt in the 70s and slowly began rebuilding. With urban renewal came renovation of many of these once-opulent abandoned sites, stirring up paranormal activity across town. Though local preservation societies have maintained many of Asheville’s historic buildings, others have been refurbished and repurposed as apartments, businesses, offices, and even bed & breakfasts. Many believe that major construction or renovation work causes the paranormal activity to increase, which would explain why so many of Asheville’s historic locations have such a high degree of hauntings and other mysterious events.
There’s no doubt Asheville plays host to dark and twisted paranormal forces, some of which we hope you’ll encounter on our tour!
The town itself has a lot to offer any visitor, a thriving food and drink scene, the joy of the fresh air of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a charming downtown area. Asheville has a vibrant theater scene and an amazing sculpture park along the Broad French River. Just to the South East of the town is Lake Lure, which is a great place to recreate the famous scene from Dirty Dancing if it has enough water in it. Water is the best place to practice lifting someone over your head! (So we hear).
Between a daytime of visiting the local attractions and nighttime fine dining, there’s a lull, though. All the attractions close, dinner isn’t for a while; what else is there to do? We suggest you find out a bit more about the history and hauntings of this sparkling mountain city.
At 1 hour, or 90 minutes for the extended tour, Ashville Terrors is a great way to get the scoop on what love and death were like for Ashville’s residents, back in the days of the Civil war, prohibition, and much more recently!
This family-friendly, accessible tour shows you the real lives of Ashville —no stuffy museum— get out and touch the buildings that were the sites of so many events that made Asheville what it is today.
Holly is such an awesome guide! We love hearing the stories of Asheville and also piecing together h...
Very well informed and researched guide. Great presentation and management of time and group!!
Holly was THE BEST ghost tour guide on the planet!!! We could've listened to her stories all night! ...
The ghosts of Asheville number only a few poltergeists, and they are the only ones who have ever done anyone harm.
Manners are important down here in the South; we’ve put these rules together to give you an idea of what to expect. Try tipping your cap to any ghosts you meet. It’s a nice gesture
The ghosts here had hard lives, and it’s bad enough being a ghost forever, try not to make their load any heavier.
We’ve not lost any guests to the afterworld yet, buddy up and stay close, and we’ll all make it through in one piece.
It gets cold in the winter, and even at night up here in the summer. Dress warm and look out for slippery cobbles!