Former hotel, brothel, Civil War hospital: The Bijou Theatre a haunted venue

Haunted Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – We want to take you to the third-oldest building in Knoxville and what some say may possibly be the most haunted in the city – The Bijou Theatre.

Thousands of people have walked the floors of The Bijou Theatre building for more than 200 years.

If walls could talk, you would hear stories of people who lived and died here when it was a hotel, a brothel, even a Civil War hospital.

“It did treat both sides of the war,” Courtney Bergmeier with the Bijou told us. “So sadly, a lot of people took their last breaths in this building, on this floor and in these walls.”

Bergmeier says one of the most famous people to die here was General William Sanders.

His story is commemorated on a plaque outside the theatre’s main entrance, but some might say his story is far from over.

(Photo: WATE)

“People say that they catch glimpses of a soldier and the glimmer of buttons and around the corner of his eyes…so we have to assume that is General Sanders keeping an eye on things,” Bergmeier explained to us.

And it seems like General Sanders may not be alone.

A paranormal investigative team deemed the women’s restroom off the gallery on the second floor is the most haunted place in the building.

Some workers here tend to agree, sharing stories of feeling someone tugging on the hem of their clothes in the bathroom.

Bergmeier has felt it too.

“We have a theory maybe it was a child or someone trying to get our attention,” she said.

The stage area at The Bijou is apparently not off-limits either.

An overnight security guard told workers here the spirits seem especially active at night.

Bijou Assistant General Manager Ash Goodwin described what they say they heard.

“He heard footsteps all night long walking along the rafters and catwalk above the stage.”

Goodwin told us even performers have left The Bijou with some questions about movement in a closed-off balcony….that hasn’t been used in decades.

And for those that don’t believe, Goodwin said of the supposed hauntings could be linked to something more.

“I think it is only natural that there is an energy that exists here and that people are drawn back to this place.”

(Photo: WATE)

MORE ONLINE | Top 10 Ghost Hunting Apps

HISTORY | Bijou Theatre history page

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