Ryman Auditorium, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the former home of the Grand Ole Opry, facing Nashville's Fifth Ave North, 1974, Nashville, Tennessee.
Photo by Jeff Hochberg/Getty Images

Is Nashville's Legendary Ryman Auditorium Haunted By the Ghosts of Country Stars?

Is country music's hallowed Mother Church haunted by some of the genre's most iconic innovators?

The Ryman Auditorium is one of the most legendary music venues in the world. Known as the Mother Church of country music, its stage has hosted country legends, from Hank Williams to Johnny Cash, and the building continues to be one of the most hallowed places in pop culture. But is the Ryman Auditorium haunted? With Halloween coming up soon, we can't help but dig into the spine-chilling stories of the revered country music venue and the rumors that some of its most famous performers still linger in its halls.

Before we can confirm or deny whether the Mother Church is haunted, we must take a look into its history that will bring you up to speed:

  • 1885: Thomas Ryman, a riverboat captain, attends a revival under the direction of evangelist Sam Jones. The big tent revival is three blocks away from where the Ryman sits today in Nashville, Tenn. Ryman and Jones decided to build a more permanent revival tent. In 1892, Union Gospel Tabernacle opened its doors to the public.
  • 1901: The famous Ryan stage is built in order for the Tabernacle to host more music events.
  • 1904: Thomas Ryman passes away and Rev. Sam Jones renames the Tabernacle "Ryman Auditorium."
  • 1943: The Grand Ole Opry moved from War Memorial Auditorium to Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman remained the show's home until the Grand Ole Opry House opened its doors in 1974.

Now that you know some Ryman history, you might be able to understand why some of the ghostly theories are rumored.

The Ryman Auditorium's Rumored Ghosts

Photo of Ryman Auditorium

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

From the timeline above, we know that Thomas Ryman built the auditorium as a place for revivals to take place— not country music concerts. According to patrons of the Grand Ole Opry, the ghost of Ryman haunts the Opry and will interrupt the performances he doesn't agree with by making loud noises and messing with the lights.

Another ghost that is said to roam the Opry is the soul of Williams. His spirit has been spotted backstage, on stage, and in the back ally of the Opry that leads to Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, a place where he would frequent before he performed. Why would Williams haunt the Ryman, though?

"Hank, of course, is a legend at the Ryman Auditorium and was not allowed to come back at one point," Frank Harris, who runs Nashville Ghost Tours, told CBS42. "So for that reason, people think he has wanted to linger here backstage."

Another ghost that frequents the Opry house is known as "The Lady." She doesn't just sit and watch, she performs. The staff enjoys her tunes every night while shutting down. "The Lady" is thought to be the ghost of Patsy Cline.

What do you think? Need a closer look? The Ryman Auditorium hosts tours year-round. You can buy your tickets here.

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