The Grand Old Lady Inn

You can listen to this episode by clicking here.

Hey, y’all, and welcome to Southern Macabre! I’m Aeryn and I’m so glad y’all could join me today. I apologize if I sound a bit off – our internet went out at midnight, and I stayed up until 2am hoping it would come back on. I was still looking for a story for today! There was a place that I researched extensively, but I want to do a couple of interviews so I’m going to tell y’all that story next week. 

Today we’re going to head into the mountains of North Carolina to a grand inn that sits at 3,500 feet. Y’all out west may not think that’s much, but on this side that’s really high and some of us can barely tolerate that! Maybe we’ve just been in the lowlands too long, I don’t know, but we tried to do a gondola ride up to Anakeesta in Gatlinburg and that was a major NOPE! 

Anyway, we aren’t here to talk about my phobias today. We’re here to talk about Balsam Mountain Inn just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. The inn was built in 1908 to serve the east’s highest railroad station, which served the Murphy Branch of the Western North Carolina Railroad. It was later renamed the Southern Railway. The depot has been moved and is now a house. Which is really cool, but I would have loved to have seen pictures. 

The Balsam Mountain Inn, also known as The Grand Old Lady Inn, boasts 100 feet of porches and was originally 100 rooms. In 1980, they added private bathrooms decreasing that number to fifty. It is best known for its restaurant, which requires reservations, and its wine.  

There were deaths associated with the railroad being built along with accidents on the railway after completion. It seems that the inn is close to the railroad tracks so some of the ghosts may have come from there. Why haunt the railroad tracks when there is a beautiful old inn on a mountaintop nearby? 

After rail travel began to decline, the Balsam Mountain Inn changed hands several times and its use. It was a private residence for a while and even a clinic used to treat smallpox. 

The inn was beginning to decay in the 1980s until Merrily Teasley spotted it by chance and purchased the old inn. She lovingly restored it to its original grandeur and opened it to the public once again. All of the wood used for the inn was milled from the property, making it a stunning piece of artwork in its own right. 

The hallways were made extra wide to accommodate steam trunks, but now you will find local artwork and rocking chairs lining both sides. I included a video where you can see this, and it really is a beautiful idea that adds something to the place. I would love to go there and do an episode of Southern Macabre, to be honest, and I didn’t even know that it existed until last night. 

Now I know y’all aren’t here to learn about architecture and the area, you want to know about the ghosts. Well, Merrily Townsley said that she’s never seen or heard anything herself, but there have been reports from guests. She has embraced the spirits, though, and has hung a “Welcome” sign above every room that has reported activity. There are also paranormal investigators on staff if you want to converse with the spirits. 

One night, seven guests heard a little girl laughing going down the third floor hallway, but there weren’t any little girls staying at the inn that night. I also read a guest’s account of smelling apple cinnamon in the third floor south tower and their guide explained that there aren’t any candles or plug-ins anywhere in the inn. Which makes sense when you have a century old building constructed of wood. 

Several guests have also reported to be woke up by someone giving them the best back rub they have ever had in their lives. That scares me. I may not want to leave if that’s the case!  

It is said that the most activity occurs in rooms 205 and 207. Claude Green was a sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed in 1928 and his body was brought to room 205. It is believed that he’s the one haunting it. 

The third-floor hallway is known as Henry’s Hallway and guests report hearing footsteps and disembodied voices throughout the day and night. The kitchen is said to be haunted by Lizzie, a former cook. 

None of the spirits seem to be mean or anything, they just want to be acknowledged. Some may be residual and don’t know they’re dead or that you’re even there. They’re just doing what they did when they were alive. Soul Sisters Paranormal visited the inn a little over a year ago and I think they caught some good evidence, so I included that in the credits on today’s blog post if you’re interested. 

So would y’all spend the night? Let me know on our Facebook page, it’s linked in the description or you can tell me on Twitter. Honestly, I would love to stay here for a week. I don’t have a problem with nice ghosts who seem to be enjoying their stay at this secluded mountaintop retreat. After seeing videos and pictures, I can understand why someone would want to spend their afterlife here. 

Thank y’all so much for listening today – y’all are awesome! If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review and share it with your friends. Also, Monday is going to be our 25th episode so I would like to do something fun. So, email your questions to or ask them on our Facebook page, Twitter, or the comment section on our blog. 

I hope y’all have a wonderful day and I will talk to y’all again Friday! God bless, y’all! 


Balsam Mountain Inn | NC Weekend | UNC-TV

Balsam and The Grand Old Lady – Soul Sisters Paranormal 

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