Two days before Halloween, the former home of Tennessee’s first Governor, John Sevier put on a new face and had some Halloween fun. Marble Springs was the home of John Sevier from 1745-1815. It has been kept as a historic landmark of the history of Tennessee. Throughout the year, living history and educational tours happen daily. Along with the living history they have many special events. One of the events this year was their Halloween Haunts and Haints. The event included decorations, a costume contest for the kids and storytelling around a bonfire.
Marble Springs is a beautiful location. Set in the woods right off Governor John Sevier Highway in South Knoxville, it is idyllic. Add to that setting, lots of pumpkins, the gorgeous colors of an East Tennessee fall and you have a painted landscape that is the perfect backdrop for Halloween fun in the Smokies. Luminaries lit the path down to the historic buildings and pumpkins were placed at the door of each log structure. Trying to replicate the late 18th century means that electric lights are few and far between so the light of a bonfire provided the majority of the lighting in the area after the sun went down.
Before the sun sunk below the horizon, the kids and adults went house to house to learn about the history of the site. Most of the kids came in costume and participated in the Halloween costume contest. Pirates, princesses, superheroes, ghost and ghouls roamed around the site and the winners were chosen. Candy was handed out and as the day grew older, the light got dimmer and the bonfire began to rage, everyone settled in around the bonfire or in the tavern to listen to ghost stories.
The Smoky Mountain Storytellers Association provided their voices for the ghost stories. As promised they had not so scary stories around the bonfire for the young and timid at heart and seriously scary stories in the tavern for those that were feeling more adventurous. The atmosphere around the bonfire was warm and inviting. With a bit of a nip in the air, everyone gathered around the bonfire for fellowship and warmth. The stories began and everyone from the youngest to the oldest person listened with rapt attention as the stories unfurled around them. The stories at the bonfire were new telling’s of fairy tales and fables, tales that everyone had heard but were fascinated to hear again in this wonderful environment and unique setting.
The stories in the tavern were of a different nature. None were gruesome or graphic but they were not for the faint of heart. With just enough edge to set your hair on end, you experienced the feeling of sitting around a campfire swapping stories with you friends. The listeners in the cabin sat facing the fireplace and the storyteller. The fire gave off more than enough warmth to keep everyone toasty but the sound of the wind whistling across the top of the chimney certainly added to the tales being told.
Speaking to some of the guest that attended, parent and child alike had a great time. One family said that they would like to make this one of their fall traditions. Another group said they were looking forward to telling their friends how much fun they had so that they could bring them back in 2012. All in all, this is one of those events that will stick with the attendees for years to come. They will look forward to the net trip to Marble Springs, especially the next trip at Halloween, to revisit the Haunts and Haints at Halloween.