The night I was ghosted at Dyer Cemetery: How the most haunted graveyard in Tennessee proved harmless

Graphic by Abigail Potter / MTSU Sidelines 

It was a little past 9 o’clock on a September Monday night. The sky was painted coal-black and the temperature staggered at 70 degrees, and I was seeking an adrenaline rush.

As I neared the gravel-filled curve to Dyer Street — a Rockvale Road just minutes outside of Murfreesboro — I could feel my more-than-intimidated muscles tense up. I would soon be haunted, or so I hoped.

I turned on my right turn signal.

Click. Click. Click.

The second my wheels returned to forward-facing alignment, the flickering of the signal stopped, leaving only the sound of muffled radio personalities. The twists and turns of the windy, country backroad seemed to be never-ending, until they suddenly came to a halt — along with the signal to my FM radio — and the only thing my eyes could spy was a gated 54-person gravesite.

I found my adrenaline rush.

A couple minutes passed as I sat in my car, frantically staring off into the distance waiting for something to break the gaze of my black sedan’s beaming headlights. A couple more minutes passed before I ultimately decided ghost hunting was not a hobby I was ready to partake in.

My tires screamed — almost as loud as the voice inside my head — as I put the vehicle in drive and scurried away. But I couldn’t give up so easily, so I turned the car around.

It was 9:17 when I re-approached the infamous cemetery.  

The remote, family-owned cemetery is the burial place of William Robert Dyer, a Civil War soldier who kept a diary of his war days that can now be found in the National Archives. Several other Dyers have followed him to Dyer Cemetery, alongside members of the Leathers family, but that’s not all the cemetery is known for.

Legend has it that three women accused of witchcraft were hanged on the large cemetery Cedar, which still stands today, and their burnt ashes were then buried in the Middle Tennessee roots. According to online reports — as seen on America’s Haunted Roadtrip, “Murfreesboro Pulse” and Only In Your State — their ghostly presence haunts the eerie gravesite and those who visit. There have even been reports of the witches touching cemetery-goers, which supposedly feels rough and scratchy as if a piece of golden straw brushed your arm, and fireballs being thrown at the tree that hanged them.

Would the witches haunt me, though?

I was anxious to find out; nonetheless I cautiously proceeded toward the gate, which alone is notoriously known for mysteriously opening itself. To my relieved satisfaction, I, alone, unlatched the gate.

Each step I took as I neared the Dyer Cemetery headstones, my black sneakers caused a crunch-like noise on the dew-filled grass. A collective bark coming from distanced neighborhood dogs only added to the night’s creepy setting.

I strolled each row of headstones, and at one point I even forgot I was lurking in a haunted cemetery because of my fascination toward the Dyer and Leathers families. But by the time I reached the middle row, I was quickly reminded that I was in the presence of three witches.

Under the Cedar sat three broken, unidentifiable headstones.

Three mysterious headstones, three witches to be known to haunt the grounds I was walking on. I found them, but would they find me?

It was 9:46 when the yelping of the hounds faded. The night was growing old, but I still hadn’t been haunted.

The clock kept ticking, but nothing was happening. I waited.

It was 10:47 when I called it a night.

Who am I to say the place isn’t haunted? Maybe the witches chose to give me a break that night; all I know is that the most frightening thing I saw that night was a spider the size of a quarter, so there you go.

For a cemetery that is known for its haunting witches, they completely ghosted me that September night.

This story originally ran in MTSU Sidelines’ September 2017 print edition. For more information, contact Editor-in-Chief Brinley Hineman at editor@mtsusidelines.com.

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  1. MageGills
    Oct 25, 2017 - 12:11 PM

    Cool post on a place I used to spend A LOT of time at. Actually even named my old band after the cemetery. The way you describe the drive up the road was perfect. I still get the same feelings driving up Dyer Road today, even though I’ve been countless times.

    That said, I believe the tree they were actually hanged on was a very large tree just outside the front main gate. Sadly the tree was torn down by a tornado a few years back. After the tree fell, the “happenings” out there almost entirely stopped. But in the past, I most certainly experienced A LOT. I’ve seen fireballs. Ive seen apparitions. Once I was sitting in the car with my window down and heard footsteps on the cement go from a light walk to a full blown sprint up to my window. On two separate occasions with two separate people who I brought out there, we were sitting in the car when they started screaming and crying and begging to leave and said they saw someone in my window..
    Since the tree came down, everything has seemed to stop. The vibe is much different now. I really don’t go anymore just because I’ve been stopped by police twice out there..

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