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We have some repeat guests today: Kristy, of Soul Sisters Paranormal, and Miranda, the Ghost Biker. These two paranormal investigation powerhouses have joined forces to caretake the haunted Historic Scott County Jail in rural East Tennessee. Today, they tell us the strange story of the 1880’s Victorian village hidden in the East Tennessee woods, a socialist experiment that went wrong…or just right, depending on who you ask, as it’s now haunted by spirits and other paranormal entities that loved it too much to leave.

Listen now!

About the Guests: Kristy of Soul Sisters Paranormal and Miranda the Ghost Biker

We first interviewed Kristy Sumner in 2020, in one of our best paranormal podcast episodes about haunted jailhouses in the South. Back then, she was doing paranormal investigations in and around Ocala, FL. While she is still a part of Soul Sisters Paranormal, she has relocated to East Tennessee. Follow Soul Sisters Paranormal on their Instagram or Facebook page, and don’t miss their YouTube coverage of investigations.

Dr. Kristy Sumner of Soul Sisters Paranormal

Kristy now works with with Ghost Biker Miranda, another paranormal investigator we previously interviewed about the phantom monk of East Tennessee. Visit her website at ghostbikerexplorations.com. Then follow her on YouTube for coverage of her investigations and interviews (she even interviewed us), and Facebook of Instagram for updates and events.

Miranda Young, The Ghost Biker

Since we last interviewed them, Kristy and Miranda have started leading public overnight paranormal investigations at the historic Scott County Jail in East Tennessee. They also do daytime tours, focused on historical preservation. Find more details on their collaborations through History, Highways, and Haunts, LLC here. Book a tour of the jail here, and don’t miss the escape room in a genuine maximum security prison wing!

They also host the nighttime ghost walks in Rugby together now. Check Facebook for Rugby ghost tour information and special events.

Paranormal Investigations in East Tennessee with History, Highways, and Haunts, LLC

Kristy and Miranda still do paranormal investigations all over East Tennessee and beyond, but nowadays they are focused on two specific locations. We can’t blame them, as some of their findings at these places are truly out of this world.

Historic Village of Rugby

In the 1880s, Thomas Hughes founded Rugby, Tennessee, as a groundbreaking experiment in community living. This agricultural commune aimed to create a class-free sanctuary for England’s “second sons,” e.g. the younger brothers of heirs. These backup heirs grew up in opulence, but inherited none of it, making their adult lives seem rather pointless.

Situated in the scenic Cumberland Plateau and leveraging the newly built Cincinnati-Southern Railroad, Rugby quickly attracted residents from both Britain and America. Hughes had a vision of a cooperative, cultured society. Soon after formation, when the town was still basically just tents, Rugby boasted a theater company and a literary society, Kristy tells us.

But winter was coming. One of the worst winters in the plateau’s history. The previously well-to-do new residents of Rugby began to think they may have made a mistake focusing on cultural activities instead of the realities and hardships of the fronteering life. The community’s growth stagnated, as the number of people leaving was roughly equivalent to those arriving. Still, Hughes continued to invest over the decade that the commune thrived, eventually creating a loveable little village, with 60 adorable Victorian buildings and several diverse residents.

When the Tabard Inn burned in 1889, it took with it one of the main economic drivers of the town. Many of the 500 settlers left. A few families stayed, however, and the town persisted. Today, it stands as a historic site, with some of the 14 original structures open to tourists.

The Paranormal Activity of Rugby Village in East Tennessee

Kristy and Miranda suspect that many Rugby residents loved the town so much, they never wanted to leave. They catch more photographs of ghosts here than anywhere they’ve ever investigated before.

And it’s not just ghosts haunting the village. Miranda and Kristy have seen some inexplicable oddities in Rugby, including:

  • A distant, large, glowing rectangle, like a monolith, or perhaps a door?
  • Slashes appeared 9 feet up a pole, just outside of the house they were investigating at the time…was it a bear, or a Bigfoot? Black bears in the region would typically scratch about 5 feet up, or 7 if reaching. Squatches, though…who’s to say?
  • Mysterious healing waters.
  • A glowing humanoid figure walking across a driveway, captured by a video doorbell. It certainly wasn’t any of the town’s residents. Could it be extraterrestrial?

Paranormal enthusiasts save the date: Rugby hosts an expanded haunted attraction called Ghostly Gathering the last 2 Saturdays of October.

Historic Scott County Jail

The haunted Old Scott County Jail is one of the oldest buildings in the area, dating back to 1904. Throughout most of its century-long history, the jail actively housed about 50 inmates. The jail closed in 2008, following the opening of the Scott County Justice Center.

In 2021, Kristy and Miranda re-opened the jail as a museum. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are dedicated to preserving the history of this East Tennessee landmark, in addition to supporting paranormal investigations there.

The Hauntings of Scott County Jail

Since beginning restoration, a worrisome number of metal shivs and razors have been discovered, purportedly hidden in nooks and crannies by former inmates. Fascinatingly, upon putting these blades on a table and leaving for the night, the blades disappeared, never to be found again. According to Kristy, even laying your scissors on the table and leaving the room is a risky prospect. What are all these spectral inmates going to do with the real shivs they’re collecting?

The Historic Scott County Jail. Image courtesy of Miranda Young.

Then again, Miranda tells us the spirits haunting the jail are overall jovial and friendly. The team believes its the way the living interact with the dead there. They advise visitors to have fun with the spirits, and to avoid interrogating or antagonizing them. Singing or playing a musical instrument will often generate a swell of interactive paranormal activity, which these East Tennessee investigators observe indirectly through various tools. One memorable investigation, someone brought a fart machine for the ghosts to interact with. While none of the spirits took them up on the offer to press the button, they did capture a flatulent EVP, indicating that the ghosts knew exactly what they were getting at. Did the call and response farting indicate the ghosts’ heartfelt approval? We’d like to think so.

Have you witnessed anything paranormal in East Tennessee?

Yet another mysterious tale in our series on East Tennessee legends and paranormal Appalachia! Could it get any weirder? You tell us! Submit your story here to be featured on the next episode of Homespun Haints Podcast…we look forward to sharing a spooky day with you!