In this creepy episode of Engineering Legends, we continue to share hair raising stories of paranormal ghosts and activities culminating from water and wastewater infrastructure. We’re joined by international guest, Jim Dean of The Haunted Walk, who discusses spooky activities witnessed in Canada, including the Tunnel Monster of Cabbagetown. Nicole Jones, who works and lives in the 4th most haunted place in the U.S., the cursed site of Hales Dam, who shares the property history as well as ghostly experiences and sightings during her 6 Fears Hells Bar Dam ghost tours.
See photos of Hales Dam discussed in this episode.
Tiffany Long: Welcome to Engineering Legends. I’m Tiffany Long here with Kelly Rogers. We are delighted to bring you another hauntingly fun episode. As the leaves begin to fall and the nights become cool, it’s the perfect time to gather together and share hair raising stories of ghostly legends, culminating from water and wastewater infrastructure.
Nicole Jones: Once it opened in 1913, there were electrocutions, boiler explosions, a few murders inside.
Jim Dean: He hears this sound. There’s something he’s getting closer and closer to it, and as he approaches, there’s definitely a creature there, but it quickly becomes clear to him, these are not his kittens.
Kelly Rogers: So Tiffany, are you doing anything fun to get ready for the Halloween season? I know it is your favorite time of year.
Tiffany Long: Oh, indeed it is. Spooky season is my favorite and I actually just got back from touring Salem, Massachusetts, and all of the historical sites associated with the infamous witch trials. I highly recommend it. Today we’ve got our first international guest on the podcast. We’re joined by Jim Dean, who is the creative director of The Haunted Walk. They have hosted over a million guests on ghost tours and paranormal adventures in Ontario, Canada.
Kelly Rogers: And later on in the show we’re going to hear from Nicole Jones. She works and is building her residence on the site of the Hales Bar Dam, one of the most haunted locations in America. The dam, which was constructed in Guild, Tennessee back in 1905, has suffered mishaps and tragedies since construction started. The stories that she shares literally gave me chills, and you’re not going to want to miss it. So turn down the lights, gather around the campfire, and let’s dig into some paranormal legends.
Tiffany Long: Welcome, Jim.
Jim Dean: My name is Jim Dean. I am the creative director of The Haunted Walk. We offer ghost tours in Kingston, Ottawa, and Toronto, Ontario, as well as online experiences to anyone, as we say in this mortal realm. And I’ve been doing that for about 20 years now. And I’ve always been drawn to ghost stories or mysteries. Unsolved Mysteries in the 1980s was my favorite show, I was a kid in the eighties and nineties or whatever. So yeah, I’m fortunate, I love my job because I get to talk about spooky things virtually and get paid for it. So it’s great to be here. I’m so glad you invited me. I’ve never been on an engineering podcast before, so I’m thrilled to be here.
Kelly Rogers: Yeah, it’s our favorite episode of the year and we love it because we do get to finally talk about ghost stories and really fun stuff. So we always look forward to doing this episode. But yeah, we’d love to explore the stories about the haunted Toronto sewer tunnels. We’d love to hear what is down there in the darkness.
Jim Dean: My favorite story about the tunnels in Toronto has to do with a very particular neighborhood called Cabbagetown, which is fairly central. And I know you folks have a lot of listeners kind of around the world and in the States, but Toronto is our largest city, of course here in Canada. It’s the capital of Ontario, the province. Ottawa is actually the capital of the country, but Toronto has about 3 million people in Toronto proper. And then around 7 million in what we call the GTA or the Greater Toronto area. So a major metropolitan city that sits on the banks of Lake Ontario. The kind of western edge of Lake Ontario. Now, when the city first began to be settled, before it was even known as Toronto, there were countless waterways and streams that would run inland all over the place. And as happened virtually everywhere, these waterways began to be used for a lot of things they really shouldn’t be used for.
There’d be sitting water, human waste, all these kinds of things. So while they did provide some transportation benefit, barges could move through certain spaces, it really began to become a health crisis in the city. And eventually the plan was decided that these waterways, these streams, many of them would be buried underground.
So that’s the first kind of secret thing we have hidden underground in Toronto, is that many of the rivers and streams are still there, just kind of hidden from view in these old tunnels they built that went through. Now as the city began to develop, more and more things began to be built under Toronto, of course. We have a subway system which runs under large parts of the city. And something I just randomly saw, very appropriate for our conversation is that the PATH, which is the underground system of restaurants and shopping that connects almost the entire city, is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest indoor shopping center or shopping complex as it stretches about 30 kilometers. I forget how far that is, I have to look that up. That’s about 18 and a half miles underground.
Kelly Rogers: Yeah, I read about the PATH, I guess it’s for, so people don’t have to go up in the inclement weather. So they’ve kind of built all of that underground.
Jim Dean: Absolutely. That is one of the key pieces, of course in Canada is… One of you is from kind of from the Ohio region, you know the winters can be a bit much at times, so being able to go underground is a real benefit, connects to the subway. And then just all the additional retail space, the restaurant space that kind of opens up as you go down. So there is a lot under the city of Toronto, but the story I want to focus on today takes place in the late 1970s. And what I love about a good ghost story is particularly when the witness is reluctant to come forward. Oftentimes, you see people have certain paranormal experiences and you wonder about the kind of authenticity, maybe at times. But when you have a witness who’s like absolutely doesn’t want to talk about it, does not seek any attention, well that, that’s when it starts to certainly capture my interest.
Kelly Rogers: Me too. Yeah.
Jim Dean: A fellow in Toronto by the name of Ernst, he had an apartment building there, and the story goes, he began looking for some lost kittens. He was taking care of some kittens, and I guess one or two of them got out, and I just got a new rescue cat here myself. I know how stressful that can be. Got to try to track them down.
Tiffany Long: Hence the saying ‘herding cats.’
Jim Dean: And as he doing that, recently, a hole, what I assume to be kind of like a sinkhole opened up between his building and the next. And as he approached, he began to hear very strange sounds coming from this ominous black hole. Now he thought, well, maybe it sounds kind of like an animal. So he thought, maybe these are the kittens I’m looking for. So he grabs a flashlight and heads into this darkness, and he really does describe how powerful, in a later article with the Toronto Sun, just how powerfully dark and oppressive it was down there. And we can kind of imagine ourselves in that position as we’re slowly creeping along in the dark, not sure what’s in front of us or maybe even behind us at certain points. And he hears this sound. There’s something, he’s getting closer and closer to it. And as he approaches, there’s definitely a creature there, but it quickly becomes clear to him, these are not his kittens.
He describes a creature with glowing red eyes and describes him, I think the best comparable, if you’re Lord to the Rings fans at all, is kind of like Gollum from Lord of the Rings. Like a short little creature that hissed at him to get out. Ernst, as I think all of us would, took that advice and kind of beat a hasty retreat out of there.
Kelly Rogers: So, he left the kittens.
Jim Dean: This is a great question. I always wonder that as well, but as far as I know, I haven’t heard an update on the kittens. So that would be, if any of the listeners have heard what happened to the kittens, that’d be great, a great update. So he gets out of there and he immediately tells his wife and a few of his close friends about the experience, who all describe him as a very upstanding person, not prone to exaggeration. And the story for him dies down.
Well, about a year later, the reporter has somehow heard about this story and interviews him and Ernst tells the fellow right away, I wish you hadn’t come, I don’t want to talk about this story. And this leads to an article being published called Tunnel Monster of Cabbagetown, which gives us the story of the Cabbagetown monster. In the article, there’s a lot of conjecture about what it might be. Well, it definitely wasn’t the kittens, that we can rule out. A lot of people, of course thought it could be an animal, a different kind of animal, a raccoon, Toronto is known for having raccoons. So maybe a raccoon, someone suggested a pet monkey-
Tiffany Long: A pet monkey.
Jim Dean: Which kind of maybe might fit the description that Ernst gave.
Kelly Rogers: But raccoons do not have red eyes, nor do monkeys.
Jim Dean: Well, that is very good point. That’s a good point.
Kelly Rogers: You’ve probably heard creepy stories from across Canada. What is the creepiest, scariest ghost story you have heard in all of your time of doing this? Something that gave you chills and just kind of stuck with you?
Jim Dean: Yeah, well, I mean that’s true. We get to hear a lot of them. Of course we share a lot of the ghost stories on our tours. But I would say the creepiest thing that I’ve heard, and particularly that’s happened directly connected to us, was we give tours that Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto, which is kind of your classic pioneer village with all the old homes. And we get a lot of activity there. Our customers experience a lot of activity. And it’s a very old site and contains original buildings as well as older buildings from around the city that have been brought to this one location. Very strange energy there. But one night we were giving tours and we had a couple arrive late.
Kelly Rogers: Always happens, always.
Jim Dean: So two of our tour guides who were kind of waiting for their next tour to begin, offered to walk them to the group, we wanted to catch them up or whatever. So as they are kind of walking along this boardwalk area through these old buildings, one of our tour guides says to the other three, “We can all see that woman dressed in old fashioned clothing, right?”
Tiffany Long: Wow.
Jim Dean: The first guest said, “Yes,” our other tour guide, and the other guest said, “No.” And they saw the apparition walk down the boardwalk and turn into one of the old buildings and vanish. Now that type of haunting or that type of ghost sighting or potential paranormal activity is very rare. Seeing an apparition is by far the least common one. But in this case where we have two eyewitnesses who are in no way connected to each other, and we have one of our folks and one of the guests saying one thing and then the other two saying the other, well, that’s where things get really interesting for me, and harder to explain. I always try to explain things when I think about them.
Some ghost stories are great just because they’re scary and some ghost stories are great because they’re really difficult to explain. Or the factors around them. Kind of like Ernst where he didn’t want to come forward, he didn’t want to talk about it. I think that adds a little extra credibility, which of course makes the stories a little more exciting. And as I’m evenly rubbing my hands together here a little more of what exactly I like.
Tiffany Long: That is really creepy, that it makes you wonder why some folks can see and maybe some folks can’t, an apparition like that.
Kelly Rogers: Yeah.
Jim Dean: It’s a great question. And one of the reasons I’ve been in this line of work so long is the questions really are never ending. And you suspect almost unanswerable, but still it’s extremely, extremely fascinating. And on some of our experiences we really get into this topic, we’re like, what are ghosts and what classifies as paranormal activity? And we think about, are places haunted? Are objects haunted? Are people haunted? Potentially all three. And even more recently, one of the issues we’ve been discussing is the idea of course, that the ghosts aren’t something external of ourselves, but something internally we’re manifesting. Whether that be through a desire to have an encounter or have something unique happen, or environmental conditions like a spot that is particularly electromagnetic or all of a sudden you experience a sudden temperature change or just things going on in your life. Not that you’re intentionally trying to create these things, but I really like creating that space where ghosts are not floating down the hall.
It’s much, much more nuanced than that. There’s so many different kinds of stories, but one thing I think that’s completely undeniable is that there are many seemingly witnesses with good faith, honesty, and integrity who report some stories that are extremely difficult to explain using a basic scientific paradigm. So that’s where things get really fascinating to me. Like I said, I’ve been doing this about 20 years, if you ask me what a ghost is now, I still can’t tell you. But I think it’s a combination of probably some historical context and the idea that energy may persist in certain places, particularly where very dramatic events occur. It’s partially ourselves and how we’re feeling, as you say, some of us may be naturally more receptive or we’ve been in some way or our brains just work that way. And whatever the answer is, it’s really fascinating.
Kelly Rogers: Or maybe reincarnation. I’ve heard a lot of stories associated with reincarnation and connection to the past.
Jim Dean: Oh yeah, some of those, I mean, you hear the stories that make you want to cry when you hear about someone’s loved one passing on, and all of a sudden, they’re very specific event happens that they tie to that person. Whether it be a particular type of bird suddenly shows up. When my grandmother passed away, my sister was very close with her and she had a radio of my grandmother’s. And the day it happened, that radio was off and all of a sudden turned on at full volume and has never happened since. So could be coincidence, could be there was a power surge and all those kinds of things. But when you hear people tell those stories, there is no doubt they believe those experiences happen to them. And that’s what I think is then most important.
Tiffany Long: That’s a good way to look at it. Well, in all the years of you hosting these tours, have you ever had any personal experiences with the paranormal?
Jim Dean: I’ve had a couple. Maybe the one I’ll share today is, here in Ottawa we do a tour of the oldest building in the city, which is now the Bytown museum. And in Ottawa we’re famous for having the Rideau canal, which sort of like Toronto was important, because Ottawa the canal would connect you to the Great Lakes, which would lead to the St. Lawrence Seaway and that kind of thing. So when we had to defend ourselves potentially from American attack, this was-
Kelly Rogers: Sorry.
Jim Dean: This is an important route for us. So the Bytime Museum or the Commissary Building as it’s known, sits right at the entrance to the very impressive locks here in Ottawa. And during Halloween we often give tours through the building as it’s a very haunted building and a perfect place to walk through on a cool fall night. And one night we were there setting up and I was there with one or two of my colleagues getting the lights all down low, making sure we had everything ready.
And one of the well-known ghost stories about that building is walking up the stairs and suddenly thinking someone is behind you. Now at this point, I’ve been working for the company, I don’t know, at least 10 years if not 12. And I was very aware of this story, but I had spent a lot of time in the museum there. I’d never really had anything too spooky happen, though the hair on your back of your neck, it does stand out from time to time. But on this night, my colleagues were at the front and I went through this door that leads up to the second floor, and I was about halfway up the stairs when I heard clearly heard footsteps behind me. It wasn’t even a question, it was one of my colleagues was coming to join me or had something they wanted to tell me. So I turned back to look, fully expecting there to be a human being there and there was no one there, even though I could hear the footsteps continue for another kind of step or two.
Tiffany Long: So the footsteps stopped when you stopped?
Jim Dean: Well yeah, I stopped and then it was like “creak, creak” and then I’m just standing there terrified in the dark.
Kelly Rogers: We appreciate your time, Jim, this has been really great and we are going to post on the website all of the information on if you want to join any of the tours that you guys do for the various locations in Canada. I’ve done a ton of ghost tours, they’re so much fun. I highly recommend it.
Jim Dean: Yeah, we are Kingston, Ottawa and Toronto, so if any of your listeners live around our cities, or going to be visiting, we would certainly invite them to come and join us. And if you are looking to have a bit of a spooky experience for yourself and you’re in the States or a little further away, we do have our haunting at home, which maybe Kelly, maybe both of you should try. Which is where I’m kind of the host. It’s an audio experience. I lead you through a series of experiments you do in your own house.
And this idea really came up because, I don’t know if you remember this or saw the news articles, but at the very start of the pandemic, all of a sudden people started reporting hauntings in their house. Like a disproportionate number compared to usual were being reported. So this got us curious, is it possible that many of us may actually live in haunted houses if we took the time to look? So it’s kind of a meditative experience, but also a really kind of cool way to connect with yourself and your surroundings. And ponder of course, some very big questions about life, death and who may be waiting for us on the other side.
Tiffany Long: Oh, that sounds like fun.
Kelly Rogers: Sounds like a very fun activity. Yes, I think that’ll be fun… Because we usually do scary movie nights and things all through… In fact, you mentioned Resident Evil, my husband started the whole series again last night, so we’re rewatching them all. But no, that sounds like something fun to do. That sounds fantastic.
Tiffany Long: Awesome. Thank you.
Kelly Rogers: Awesome. Well we appreciate your time and this has been fun.
Tiffany Long: Yeah, thank you so much for taking the time.
Kelly Rogers: So now let’s turn our attention to Nicole Jones as she shares some seriously spooky tales of happenings at the Hales Bar Dam. Not only do visitors to the site see ghostly apparitions, but these spirits are also known to leave their mark on visitors. Nicole, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself and how you’re connected to the Hales Dam site?
Nicole Jones: Yes ma’am. I am the owner of the Hales Bar Marina and Resort. And fortunately that amazing building came with the property. And we’ve had it about three years this April. And I’m just a mom of three girls, wife and entrepreneur.
Kelly Rogers: Great. Well thank you for being here with us today. So can you tell us a little bit of background about the Hales Dam site? I know it’s got a long history and a lot of tragedy in the past, so can you just give us a little bit of that background?
Nicole Jones: Sure. So before anything began construction-wise for the dam, it was the Cherokees territory and they considered that piece of land very sacred. There were big whirlpools in the Tennessee River that they thought that had connection to the ancestor world. When the settlers came and basically took it from them, they had a big battle and they burned women and children alive and-
Kelly Rogers: Oh my goodness.
Nicole Jones: Yeah, it’s terrible. The chief of the tribe, Chief Dragging Canoe, put a curse on the land and he said it would be dark and bloody and never profitable. And so I think that’s part of the reason why we’re number four most haunted in the nation. But that was the beginning of it. And then they started construction in 1905 and they didn’t remove any bodies that were buried there, they just kind of built over everything and it took eight years to get open. So during that time we had men buried in the concrete. There was of course just workplace deaths. They didn’t have a lot of the good equipment and the security and stuff that we have now from being up high and building. So people fell to their death. Once it opened in 1913, there were electrocutions, boiler explosions, a few murders inside. So all kinds of fun activities going on there.
Kelly Rogers: So it was pretty much cursed from the beginning.
Nicole Jones: Yes. And it did fail from day one, so that’s why they did shut it down in the sixties. It never functioned properly. So I don’t know if that has something to do with the Indian curse or what, but kind of a coincidence.
Kelly Rogers: So what is the status of it now? So I guess the dam is it no longer there?
Nicole Jones: The dam was dynamited in 1967, so they left what we have now is the powerhouse. It’s been completely empty since the sixties. They took all the generators and all the equipment out because they built another dam about six miles downriver. So it’s just been an empty shell and sitting abandoned all this time except for the past three years.
Kelly Rogers: Yeah. So you took over, it sounds like about three years ago. When did you discover that it’s haunted?
Nicole Jones: I knew before I went there because it’s in my area. So of course you hear about things around your town that are haunted, and when we went to check it out to see if we wanted to purchase the property, super creepy. And even if I hadn’t heard the stories I knew then when I walked in I was like, Ooh.
Kelly Rogers: Now did that deter you from wanting to purchase it or were you okay with that?
Nicole Jones: Oh no. I was like, “Yes, this is awesome. I can’t wait.”
Kelly Rogers: And do you still feel that way?
Nicole Jones: Yes, I still love the place. We have new stories, I mean almost every day that we walk in there. So it’s just kind of a neat little environment to be in and have other people have experiences like you do. So I love it there.
Kelly Rogers: So, describe the environment, like what’s left and what kind of activities do you have?
Nicole Jones: So, the building is basically just an empty shell. It’s massive, lots of concrete. So the activity that most typical that everybody kind of has, is people will whisper to them, talk to them. You’ll see our famous, we call him Big John in the underground tunnels. He’s a very tall man and he likes to come out and be seen when you’re walking down there. We also have a little girl that kind of walks around and she creeps people out because she smiles at you and her smile is her whole face and she has spiky teeth. Ooh. I don’t think that that is a child personally.
Kelly Rogers: Well because it is one of the most haunted locations in the country, I know you’ve had a lot of people that have come out to investigate this site. Can you tell us a little bit about what they’ve found and some of their experiences?
Nicole Jones: Sure. So the thing I’ve mentioned in the underground tunnels, I have something else besides the big tall shadow guy and all these groups from all around have all told me about the same thing. And they all believe that there is an ancient spirit down there put there by the Cherokees. So they think either like a wendigo or a skin crawler. And I’ve had things turn into me and I’m not there and it tricks my staff. So I have to lean towards, they’re telling me something pretty accurate. And all these people, they don’t know each other. So how could they all come up with the same story?
Kelly Rogers: So, it will imitate you, something appears that looks like you?
Nicole Jones: Yes, and in my exact outfit. And then it also, if I’m not around and my kids are anywhere near, they get freaked out because they’re like, Mom, you were talking to me in my ear. And I was like, you know I’m not even there.
Kelly Rogers: Oh wow. That’s pretty scary. And so I know too, you mentioned before that I guess some of these apparitions or entities there will scratch people?
Nicole Jones: Yes. So this past weekend was our second weekend for our haunted house and I had I think five or six guests get scratched on tour. So, I’m not sure what in there does that. And it doesn’t do it to everybody obviously. But yeah, I’ve had even my oldest daughter, we did a field trip there two years ago with her history class, her history, and we got down to the end of the long underground tunnel, which to me is the creepiest spot of all. It’s just a weird vibe down there. But once we got to the very end, her arms started burning and you could see all these claw marks start appearing on her. So that…
Kelly Rogers: Yes. So the scratches, you said it’s like multiple, like three?
Nicole Jones: Yes, it’s always three marks, but then they will do it a few times. So my tour guide this weekend, he had a nice big one from the base of his neck down around his neck. And I sent you a picture on your email. So I have another guest from the years past and she took a picture of her back when she came out
Kelly Rogers: And we’ll post those up so our listeners can see them. So do you have a problem keeping tour guides?
Nicole Jones: No, because they’re like me and we’re weird and we love it. So no, he thinks it’s the coolest thing when something gets thrown at him or something touches him.
Kelly Rogers: Now do you feel like the entities or spirits that there are menacing or are they playful?
Nicole Jones: I think I have a combination. I think there’s a lot going on inside, because before I owned the property they did let people go in and do seances and Ouija boards, which I know enough about, that it opens up a portal, so to say, to let anything in and out. And I just think that over the years, what I already had plus all that kind of activity, I have all kinds of things. So I think the thing that scratches or makes people feel really, really hot, I think that’s something not very good.
Kelly Rogers: But maybe the little girl and Big John are maybe less menacing.
Nicole Jones: Yeah, I have a few things and you’ll see them, or you’ll experience them, and they never harm you, or they don’t scare you or give you that creepy feeling. So yeah, I think we have some good in there too.
Kelly Rogers: And so objects move around as well, right?
Nicole Jones: Yes. On the past weekend when they were on the lantern tour, rocks were getting thrown at them and chairs would slide across the floor. We have a bouncy ball that we like to take down to the tunnels because something down there likes to play with it, so we’ll throw it and it gets thrown back, or it’ll be in different places of the dam. So it kind of just moves around the building. It’s very weird.
Kelly Rogers: Oh, that is weird. And you mentioned that, so I guess you had a Native American chief come out and actually bless the site? Tell us a little bit about that.
Nicole Jones: Yes, so I reached out to the Cherokee tribe that was local and asked if they would be able to do something like that since it was their ancestors’ land. And I feel like maybe if I could have bring somebody in to do something to let the spirits know we’re good, I’m there to take care of it and we got to live together, that we got to be peaceful together. So he did, he brought me some tobacco and dried flowers and other little natural things like that that he had blessed. And he had told me to just go around the building and just tuck it into little places that of course would never be disturbed, which I have a lot of pipes in there and things like that. So I just went around the building and tucked it in and just, “Hey, I’m your friend, I’m on your side. I’m not here to cause any harm or distress and I’m sorry about what happened. I’m the good guy, so please be nice to me.”
Kelly Rogers: Do you feel like it’s made a difference?
Nicole Jones: They don’t bother me at all. I feel like it’s a lot more peaceful than the first day we went. When we went to visit to see if we wanted to purchase the property, you could just feel like doom and gloom and tightness in your chest.
Kelly Rogers: Oh wow.
Nicole Jones: Yeah, I’ve had other groups that investigated before I had it, and when they come back, they’re like, man, this place feels so much lighter and lighter.
Kelly Rogers: A different energy. Yeah. Now what’s the most scared that you personally have been on the property?
Nicole Jones: Oh boy. Probably walking down the tunnels. It’s hard to describe but when you know somebody’s just looming over you and they are putting off of a bad vibe, and you just know that it’s not a good thing and you’re in the complete total dark, there’s no electricity down there. And they like to turn off your flashlights and drain your batteries so that you remain in the dark, that freaks me out the most.
Kelly Rogers: Yeah, that would totally freak me out being down there in the dark like that.
Nicole Jones: Especially when your flashlight is fully charged and it starts flickering and then it goes out and we’re like, “No.” So we all take three lights, no lie, every time we go, just so we have backup.
Kelly Rogers: Oh my goodness. So you guys now, I guess the site is a marina and you guys do ghost tours and different types of tours on the property.
Nicole Jones: So the first thing I did was we opened a haunted house and we’re on our fourth season, so part of the buildings on site and underground tunnels are the haunted house. And then we do a Lantern Tour, which is the remainder of the building and that’s a ghost tour. We don’t put any props, we don’t scare you. What happens is what’s really happening in the building.
Kelly Rogers: And it sounds like it’s pretty active during your tours from what you have said.
Nicole Jones: It is. Even during the day. Because I also opened a distillery inside just to utilize the building and keep it alive all year. So even when I’m doing daytime historical tours, they see things, hear things, have encounters.
Kelly Rogers: And your own kids have had encounters as well? Correct?
Nicole Jones: They’ve all had something. They’ve all had a man talk to them and freak them out pretty good. They’ve heard me talking to them and they know I’m not right there. I’m in another part of the property. They usually can sense… I’ve always had that ability since I was a kid, could sense things or see things or feel things that other people couldn’t, so they can as well. So they usually don’t go inside unless they’re with me and they’re just going to the main floor. They won’t go upstairs, they won’t go on the tunnels and I don’t blame them. It is a weird place.
Kelly Rogers: I know you’ve had paranormal investigators come out and do different videos and investigations. What are some of the things that have happened during those?
Nicole Jones: They have of course seen figures. They’ve had things move. I’ve had one team, they’ve spent now a total of a hundred hours inside-
Kelly Rogers: Oh my goodness.
Nicole Jones: Over all their investigations. And they said that the more times that they have spent in there, the wilder it gets, They’ve seen things climbing up the walls.
Kelly Rogers: Like what kind of things?
Nicole Jones: They didn’t know. They just said it looked like little, almost kind of little demons just skittering in up the wall. So it’s just all kinds of activities and different things for different people. But they all experience whatever that is in the tunnels, the dark thing. And then a lot of times you can hear kids laughing inside and that one kind of freaks me out. I usually leave when I hear that going on. I’m like, “I’m done for the day.”
Kelly Rogers: Yeah, that would be a little scary. Now I think you told me a story about: didn’t the kids use the tunnel as a way to get to school back in the old days? Can you tell us about that?
Nicole Jones: Yes. Yeah, so under the dam, when it was a functioning dam was a two foot wide concrete tunnel. And if you lived on the other side of the river as a child, the school was right there in front of the powerhouse. So you would have to go through the two foot wide tunnel under the river to come to school and go back home every day. And of course the dam always had issues with the leaking and the tunnels did as well. So they did fill it with water one time. And two children that I know of, according to news and stuff, did drown and die in there.
Kelly Rogers: So even more instances of things happening. Now it sounds like though, even with all of this happening that you are invested in this site and that you’re not going anywhere.
Nicole Jones: No, I’ve built my home on the site. It’s home and I’m there till my days are done.
Kelly Rogers: And does anything happen at your home? I hope not.
Nicole Jones: I haven’t moved in yet. I’m actually working on that this week.
Kelly Rogers: Oh, congratulations!
Nicole Jones: Thank you. But when we were digging and getting the foundation and stuff ready, because there was an old home site back there, an old chimney and old piece of a house and I kept thinking, “Oh, please don’t let me uncover anything in this dirt.” And I haven’t found anything. So I think I’ll be good.
Kelly Rogers: Okay, good. So you guys do ghost tours, you have a haunted house, so I think we’re going to release this in mid-October, so we’ll definitely encourage folks to come on out and check it out. I know Tiff and I both really want to come there sometime.
Nicole Jones: You should. You should. You’ll have a blast.
Kelly Rogers: You guys are located, what town is that in Tennessee?
Nicole Jones: It’s called Guild, Tennessee, but it’s 20 minutes from downtown Chattanooga.
Kelly Rogers: Have you had people that have come out to visit and said, “Never again”?
Nicole Jones: Oh yeah. I’ve had people come, even just for the daytime history tours. They’ve walked in, they started feeling unwell and just said, “I’m sorry, I can’t do this.” And then they leave. Because some people they get that queasy feeling or that nausea feeling or the heaviness in the chest when they come in and they just can’t handle it.
Kelly Rogers: Yeah, I think some people are more connected to supernatural and paranormal things than others.
Nicole Jones: For sure. I agree.
Kelly Rogers: I’m surprised they haven’t made a movie about this location yet.
Nicole Jones: It would be cool if they did. It’s a really neat place.
Tiffany Long: Nicole, thank you for sharing your stories. Nicole sent over some really cool photos that I encourage you to check out, as well as several links with information on visiting their haunted house or doing a ghost tour.
Kelly Rogers: From my location here in North Carolina. The Hales Bar Dam in Tennessee is just a beautiful drive through the Smokey Mountains, so I’m definitely making a plan on driving over there to check it out sometime soon.
Tiffany Long: I’d like to do the same. We know that many of our listeners out there have their own engineering legend stories. We’d love to hear from you. Please send us your feedback, stories and ideas for future episodes. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This podcast was brought to you by Brown and Caldwell. It’s our purpose and passion to safeguard water, maintain infrastructure, and restore habitats to keep our communities thriving until next time.