Laura Spain // Contributing writer
Where do ghosts go canoeing?
The fun answer to this question is Lake Eerie. For locals; however, it’s Caney Fork River.
This year Canoe the Caney has revamped and remodeled its historic ghost tour, complete with old trolley rides down to a ’60s military base and a canoe trip over sunken cemeteries.
“None of it is staged,” said tour guide Billie Davis, who has been running the tour since 2012. “But you’re out there on the water and it’s dark and there’s so much history in the area that it’s just creepy.”
In the ’40s, the area surrounding Caney Fork River kept flooding, which forced an entire town to move their homes and cemeteries. This old town now exists beneath “Cemetary Cove,” submerged in water, along with the many souls that were buried there.
In 1947, archeologists from the Smithsonian Institution found two mass mounds – or Indian burial grounds – on salvageable land, but the flooding continued and soon submerged those as well. Before the floods took over, the archeologists found remains dating back to A.D. 500 alongside 15,000-year-old artifacts in close proximity to one another.
Participants in Canoe the Caney paddle around the cove’s original sunken cemetery before exploring “The Narrow” where the Indian mounds were discovered.
“When you’re out there and stop paddling, you’re pulled in,” Davis said. “It’s like the cove is pulling you in and the narrow is pushing you away.”
Will Underland, an MTSU graduate student, took the tour in 2012.
“It’s kind of terrifying, but in a fun way. It’s like a haunted house on water,” Underland said.
Even Davis hasn’t gone too deep into the cove herself.
“I don’t wanna say that I don’t believe in that kind of stuff, but it gives me the heebie-jeebies, so I just won’t go in there,” she said.
Some slots for “Canoe the Caney” are still available for Halloween weekend, and the tour has been extended through Nov. 6 and 7. For more information, visit Canoe the Caney’s website.
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