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Haints, Witches, and Boogers: Tales from Upper East Tennessee

Charles Edwin Price

John F. Blair, Publisher
$14.95 hardcover
6 x 9
104 pages
Published in 1992

At East Tennessee State University, the ghost of the university’s first president roams Gilbreath Hall like a fussy custodian, closing windows and doors at the first sign of an approaching thunderstorm.

At Rotherwood Mansion near Kingsport, a terrifying “Hound of Hell” wanders the grounds on stormy nights.

In Jonesborough, the ghost of Andy Jackson can sometimes be seen walking along Main Street, heading in the direction of the old courthouse where he once served as a judge.

In Bristol, a little, grandmotherly woman once felled an apple tree with the power of prayer alone.
Upper East Tennessee is a rugged place with a rich history. It is also a place with more than its share of ghosts and unexplained happenings. In Haints, Witches, and Boogers: Tales from Upper East Tennessee, Charles Edwin Price has collected twenty stories from Sullivan, Washington, Greene, Carter, Unicoi, and Johnson counties. The stories run the gamut of the supernatural, from troublesome poltergeists and magical animals to evil witches and ghost lights. They span the years from a historic contact between whites and Native Americans in 1673 to a tragic fire in Johnson City in 1989.

As Price notes, “Upper Tennesseans are neither fearful of nor cowed by the supernatural.” But they do have an active, longstanding interest in their native ghosts, witches, and poltergeists, which they describe with colorful terms like “haints,” “boogers,” and “manabees.” Most local people have heard tales of the supernatural since they were in swaddling clothes. Their attitude is one of enjoying their rich ghostly heritage and passing it along to future generations, often in traditional oral form. With this collection, Price seeks to preserve some of the best tales from the upper East Tennessee tradition.