Real Haunted Houses

Real Haunted House

Rotherwood Mansion

Kingsport, Tennessee

Located over the Holston River in Tennessee, this impressive brick mansion was built in 1818 by Rev. Frederick Ross. Since then, it has been plagued with misfortune and death brought on by the old Southern culture.

The first legend, though there are many different versions, centers mainly on the reverendâ??s beloved daughter Rowena. Being a rich plantation owner, he was able to provide her with lavish gifts and an expensive education. His memoir states she was beautiful–petite with black hair and brown eyes. Two years after finishing school, she fell in love with a young man from a neighboring town. However, tragedy struck when he and his friends went fishing in the nearby river the day before the wedding. They hadnâ??t even made it out of Rowenaâ??s sight when the flimsy boat capsized. Some say she witnessed the accident, and ran frantically down to the river. Unfortunately, there was nothing she could do. All the passengers made it safely to shore except for her fiancé, whose body was found an hour later.

Affected deeply by the sudden loss, the beautiful Rowena disappeared from public sight. There are no mentions of where she spent these couple years as a hermit. When she emerged, healed and still eligible, a wealthy man from Knoxville proposed. They had not been married even a year before he died from yellow fever, and Rowena again faded into seclusion. This time it was ten years before she remarried. This led to Rowena giving birth to a daughter, whom she named Theodosia, after her mother.

Six years later, the still unhappy Rowena drowned herself in the same river near her home. Nobody is sure what finally caused this. It may have been that she never fully recovered from previous losses, but other stories claim it was her daughterâ??s death that put Rowena over the edge. Some even say she had heard her first love calling to her from the river. Not long after, Rotherwood became home to â??The Lady In Whiteâ?. The name comes from the long white nightgown she supposedly wears as she strolls along the river holding a lantern, still searching 125 years later.

The reverend also faced misfortune when he became bankrupt trying to break into the cotton market. Faced with little choice, he sold the mansion to an infamous slave owner named Joshua Phipps. The town hated him, as his cruelty caused slaves to scream loud enough for the neighbors to hear. Phipps even went so far as to build a whipping post inside the house. As karma would have it, he fell ill with an awful disease that confined him to bed in his carriage house. A young male servant, whose job was to fan his cruel owner, was the only one to witness Phippsâ?? death. As he was sleeping, an enormous cloud of black flies entered the room. They filled his mouth and nostrils, eventually suffocating the man to death.

Joshua Phippsâ?? reign of terror lasted even after his death, when he joined Rowenaâ??s spirit in the haunting of Rotherwood. Obviously much less polite, he is known to tear covers off beds and laugh at sleeping residents, peer eerily through windows, move objects around, and laugh maniacally through the halls. Scarier yet, an enormous black dog lurks around the property and often howls. The dog is said to be another manifestation of Phipps, first sighted jumping out of his coffin at the funeral and shocking guests. For good reason, Rotherwood is still private residence, and therefore no live visitors are allowed.

78 comments on this haunted house. Share your story »


Leave a comment

tomasina dixon says:

October 13, 2009, 3:43 pm

omg r u serious thats so scary i cant believe this

Rachel says:

December 22, 2009, 3:08 pm

Is That near The Church Of Jesus Christ of latter day saints>>?? Because i go to that church and beside it, its says Rotherwood so i was jsut wondering 🙂

Rachel says:

December 22, 2009, 3:16 pm

Ive heard of the Rotherfood Mansion story and it wasnt this. The one I heard was that he gave the girl a promise ring, went out to war, she though he was dead, she never ate anything, her father thought she was dead, barried her with the ring, some grave steal digged up her grave and stole her ring, she was still alive just unconsious, the next day went to her fathers door and scratched but she died a couple hours later and her husband was actually alive and all of this happened in the winter and plus now every one who lives there has to spend there winter in the holidays because they hear scratching at their door everynight and it never stops

Kylee says:

January 17, 2010, 5:35 pm

ive heard alot about that house ive searched it all over the internet i am a paranormal reasearcher me and my friend samantha have been working on my house for awhile knw but we cant figure it am only 10 years old and my friend samantha is 13 we feel very talinted with my special ability to sense a ghost and hers to feel there emotions but only if they let her only a few ghosts have blocked her ability so we leave those hot spots to the prefesionals!

Kylee says:

January 17, 2010, 5:47 pm

hi my name is kylee hardman my friend samantha and i have had our ability to feel that a spirit is near since i was 8 years old we havent done many investigations but were working on my house my house is a very hard case i cant figure it out .if anyone knows of anyhaunted houses in kingsport tn please tell me or if you have any pictures of ghosts or haunted houses if you need to contact me you can email me my email is ive lived in kingsport tn for over 6 years and my whole life that ive lived in my house ive had a feeling and it doesnt seem like agood one when i was little i feared the spirits i felt they were trying to scare me but know ive learned to stay comb but if something does happen then i do get startled because they always try to catch me of gaurd!but please if you have any unexplained visits from ghost contact me at

rebecca says:

January 30, 2010, 7:37 pm

oh my god i have heard it though

Olive says:

June 23, 2010, 3:00 pm

its not true i work with the owner of the mansion and have stayed servarl times at the mansion and never witnessed any “hauntings” neither has anyone else

Kev says:

June 28, 2010, 11:09 am

Some of the abused slaves are ancestors of Diana Ross. She once spoke about this in an autobigraphy.

mike says:

October 8, 2010, 3:25 pm

i have lived kingsport my whole life i can tell you that place is not haunted, i have been there, an the reason i no its not haunting is my aunts huspand owns the place. he said people just have there stories about it, i mean if people wanna belive it is haunted thats cool, but its not, its just a old place an like most people have there stories about it being haunted but there is nothing in there, but im not here to judge no one about the place well im out here latter folks….

ashley says:

October 14, 2010, 12:21 am

i wish i could go find out for myself that’d be awesome

Amie says:

April 26, 2011, 11:48 am

This is the creepiest place I’ve ever been to. I have visited the Rotherwood mansion back in the 1990’s. We purchased tickets that went on a tour. There was only certain rooms you could go in of course. When you first go in there is a beautiful but creepy mural of time long ago.. With horsedrawn buggies and slaves working. It feels like someone is watching you the whole time I was in there. My sister has been in the tunnel below the house. She says she has seen a black dog with red eyes! I wish the would make a movie about the true story was a great movie it would be!!

Hannah says:

July 3, 2011, 5:14 pm

My older sister knows the keeper of the mansion who takes care of it during the day and nightime. she says she doesn’t believe in the ghosts, but sometimes feels wierd prescences.

Amber says:

November 12, 2011, 10:42 pm

Can you rent this place out for the weekend for a birthday party?

tina says:

March 10, 2012, 2:36 pm

me and my family lived in the area of the mansion in the 80’s i dont know much about the mansion. but i do know that the park across the street was a place we loved to go. there was a large swinging bridge that we liked to play on. we went there one day im not sure of the date but i think it was in 86 or 87 and there were police cars everywhere they told my mother that we couldnt enter the park because a young girls body had been found on the other side of the bridge at the waters edge. later we heard that she had been beaten to death by her boyfriend. if anyone had a reason to haunt that area i think it would be her.

have seen many ghost in east Tn. says:

May 4, 2012, 3:34 am

i have true tales that will make tour hair stand up allover your whole bodyan they are all true.

chance says:

May 4, 2012, 3:56 am

church hill tn. is crazy haunted.There is a house on river rd haunted bigtime from afamily in the mid 1800s onthe way to church in horse and carrigr when the horse got spooked and bucked up plipping the carrige over killing the family close to home. I have honestly had encounters in the home. the owner was going to burn it down but didnt even want to step foot on theproperty so he rented it out for $100 a month and is a very nice chunk of land, the ghost messed with the guy living there now and he almost moved instantly untill we told him to hag up alot of mirrors so therefor he did and hes still there,Ican give evry detailed acount but its time to hit tha sack,watchout for incubus or suckubus. CHANCE

chance says:

May 4, 2012, 4:28 am

there is a dungeon in the mansion to beat the slaves and no matterwhat the bloodstains wtll naot come out of the walls,the shackles aere told to still be there. Burt Reynolds was going to buy it but it creeped him out with its history.There has alo been some really big country stars also backout. The last buyer was a homosexual,when he purchaced it against his brothers advice the first thing he did was change the three leaf clover pon down by the river by filling one of the clover leafs to make it look like a ***** and testicals,Kingsport did not like that but there was nothing they could do, he owend it, needless to say I guess the spirits didnt either because about a month later he died of aids oight after he had it remodeled. His brother never stepped another foot in that place again,he auctioned it of very fast,sleep tight. CHANCE

Jeremy and Talena Anderson says:

November 30, 2012, 8:10 pm

Hi this is so cool and scary to see and hear about the hauntings that has happened in the town that we live in..My husband abd I both have had some type of experience there and sensabaugh tunnel..I was staying the night with a friend across frim the river and we had heard alot of howling..I was asking her what it was but she didnt know and then I heard about the story years later..just reading it gives me chills!! My husband has actually seen the “Lady in White”..I would love to go and check it out just to see if I could hear the howling again..but just the rustic look in the home and history is amazing and its just a reminder that we aren’t alone.

I did that says:

October 19, 2013, 6:30 pm

Henry Thibault says:

February 10, 2014, 6:59 pm

My cousin bought the place decades ago and beautifully restored it. This information is available from many websites easily found via Google. I will respect her privacy, but cannot resist saying what a bunch of BS I see posted here. Many family members, including me, have visited quite a few times. We’ve been all over the buildings and grounds at all hours of the day and night. None of us that I know of have ever seen, heard, or felt the slightest evidence of any ghosts or the fabled “Hound from Hell,” or any other such rot.

Daryle Mullins says:

August 10, 2014, 3:35 am

how would a person go about investigating this place?

Heather Anniston says:

September 22, 2014, 1:45 am

The site is down now, but in March a fellow by the name of John Morrison had this story to share:

“The house had remained on the market for several years, but prospects would always never settle with the property. In the 1980’s a real estate agent attempted to dispel this myth by paying a group of college students to stay in the house one night to prove nothing was wrong with it. When she came back the next morning, she found them gone with a note on the door to don’t bother giving them anything. They refused to tell her what happened and would not speak about it.”

Jake says:

October 14, 2014, 1:52 am

I have seen that dog. I grew up in King sport. I spent the night with some friends that lived near the mansion. We went out walking around the neighborhood late that night. We got near the mansion and that big black dog went NUTS. We hid for a long time in some bushes. The dog finally stopped barking and just vanished. True story. Summer of 1989.

Jennifer says:

October 15, 2014, 2:02 am

So.. Can people actually go there and take a tour? So would love to! Or if there are any places like this around that you can take tours??

Sarah says:

July 22, 2015, 5:47 pm

I worked for a cleaning company and have been in this house many times. We had to make the beds so that top sheet tucked in all the way around to discourage the ghost from pulling sheets off. Have seen the lady in white from the main house standing in the window of the guest house and have felt someone grabbing at my elbow many times while vaccuuming. There is a room on the topflooor where blood stains come up on the floor when it rains. Yes this house is haunted. I knew nothing of the ghost stories before cleaning the first time but felt I was beeing watch every time I was there.

jeff says:

August 29, 2015, 8:24 am

these stories are just that,,,,,,stories and they grow with each passing re telling. i have been involved with this house since 1987 when it was bought and renovations began. it is not evil, it is not spooky, there are no bloodstains anywhere, there were never any chains in the basement nor a whipping post on the 3rd floor. there was never a carriage house and there certainly was never a spiral staircase. no hidden passageways, no tunnels no nothing. it’s a private residence and has been since it was built. it was neglected and not lived in for a few decades but has been fully restored and is lived in to this day by a local physician. this is probably the least spooky place i have ever been and i have been on the property and in the house weekly for over 25 years. no moaning, no groaning, no apparitions, no ghost dogs, no lady ghosts wandering the river ,,,,,,,,,,it’s a very welcoming , romantic and beautiful home. i have photos from the beginning of restorations thru today.

Ryan Burke says:

August 13, 2016, 11:56 am

I want you guys to try out skeletons bluff the place is extremely active 12:30am – 3:30am just cruise back and forth slowly i swear youll either see something or hear something i put money on it its not private property to just cruise on the road but getting out on the other hand is Skeleton’s bluff, kingsport tn (if anyone goes and experiences something let me know and ill tell you the legend of it all.)

Henry Thibault says:

September 12, 2016, 9:17 pm

The owner is a close relative. Like many other family members, I have spent many happy days and nights during the past quarter-century in both the mansion and the guest house, including wandering the grounds at all hours of the night. None of us have ever had the slightest supernatural experience of any kind there. No lady in white, no hound of hell, no moans, no bloodstains, no mysterious sights or sounds of any kind. What a bunch of crackpot nonsense some silly people are willing to believe while denying obvious scientific truths!

Leave a Comment

Name (required)

Email (will not be published) (required)


Please use correct grammar, capitalization, and punctuation. Let's try to keep this place looking classy.
Real Haunts reserves the right to remove any comment that does not adhere to this requirement or is otherwise
inappropriate. Any post containing a link will be flagged for moderation due to recent comment spam. Feel free
to include relevant links, but please know that it will delay your post.

About Real Haunts

Do you believe in the supernatural?

This is the best resource for haunted houses, spooky stories, ghostly tales and all things paranormal.


We have mountains of stories about ghosts, ghouls, and specters.


HomeStatesSubmit a Haunt


Copyright © 1998-2019

The Dumb Network LLC

Privacy Policy