Garett Merk is one of the three credited authors for the Nashville Haunted Handbook. The book, which is basically a who’s who of haunted locations within the Middle Tennessee area, details the haunted histories of 100 locations that are within an hour’s drive of Nashville. This is a definite purchase for anyone remotely interested in the haunted history of the region who wants to read thrilling ghost stories, as well as required reading material for prospective paranormal investigators. Garett gives his perspective of creating the book, his favorite haunted location and catching a full-body apparition in the wrong place at the wrong time!
How did you get involved in making this book?
– “Back in 2004, I first got interested in ghosts when my friend, Jeff Morris, and I learned that a road nearby, where we lived, was haunted. I enjoyed researching the locations that we heard about and then going to them, to see if we could experience or even photograph a ghost. Since then, we have both been active in the paranormal community, but I joined the Navy and moved out to California. While I was in the Navy, Jeff wrote and published the first book in the Haunted Handbook series, Cincinnati Haunted Handbook. I returned shortly after that published, and the publisher was wanting another book from a new location, and he asked if I would be interested in helping out.”
How did you find the haunted locations?
– “Not living in the Nashville area does add to the challenge of finding haunted locations, around there. Jeff and I started off by getting with Donna Marsh, a ghost investigator and author in the Nashville area. We all used many resources including the Internet, other paranormal groups, and directly calling around and asking people if they knew of any haunted places in the area. It was quite fun. I really enjoy doing the research, piecing together the history of a location and details behind the ghosts.”
Did you personally visit each one, or take them as Internet claims?
– “We did personally visit each location. There were some that started off as Internet claims, but then we conducted further investigation and research into those claims, to validate the stories.”
What’s your favorite Nashville published story? Did anything paranormal happen while visiting a Nashville location you visited?
– “Personally, I like the story of the Melting Pot. I won’t ruin the story by sharing it here, but it is my favorite. Did anything paranormal happen while visiting a location? Yes. We actually had the opportunity to visit, stay in and hold a private investigation at The Walking Horse Hotel. While we were investigating, there were several sounds that we were able to record on our equipment. We also were lucky enough to see a full-body apparition of a young child! That was very exciting; unfortunately, it was not where we had any cameras aimed, at the time.”
What’s your favorite Nashville story you didn’t publish?
– “I can’t pick just one. All the haunted locations we were told about and able to check out were great locations with excellent history and ghost stories.”
Some of the locations don’t have elaborate backstories or reports. Are you worried people will visit some of them and not get any results, and be upset with the book?
– “No. Unfortunately, there is only so much we can write, with the space we are allotted, given the format of the book… and I like this format. It is, to me, more of a travel guide for ghost hunters, than a book to be used for heavy research.”
I loved The Civil War stories. Any chance of elaborating on them for more than two pages, maybe creating a book of nothing but them?
– “They are great stories. Perhaps a new book, with that information, would be a good idea.”
I’ve actually visited quite a few of the locations listed and never knew their haunted history. Did many, if any, location owners balk at being listed in your book?
– “There were some locations that didn’t want to be in the book. One is a mansion at the Nashville Zoo, that did not want to be connected to a ghost hunting book. As a sidenote, the Bell Witch Cave actually almost didn’t make it into the book. They were quite unaccommodating and actually a bit rude when we asked them if we could take pictures for the book. They didn’t seem at all interested in being in the book, or in giving us any information about the location. Needless to say, it got added to the book, mainly because it IS one of the most well-known haunted locations in the country. We couldn’t not put it in.”
For More Information:
– The Nashville Haunted Handbook Facebook Page