BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Old Deery Inn is a staple in the Blountville community. In a region rich with history, this piece of property contains tales of the Civil War, Presidential visits, and even a few spooks along the way.
According to Ed Bush, the Chairman of the Sullivan County Historical Preservation Association, the property has passed through only a few hands over the past 220 years. He said they estimate there were about six to eight owners before the association obtained the building in 2003 and restored it to what resembles its 1830’s glory. However, the most memorable owner was the first, William Deery.
“They think the Old Deery Inn was built in 1795 originally as a three-story log cabin,” said Bush. “It was purchased in 1801 by William Deery who was an Irish peddler who went through the region selling pins and needles and thread and so forth.”
Around nine years after purchasing the property, Deery expanded the building, then in 1820 he completed another expansion adding a grand dining room, second kitchen, and dorm rooms for his family upstairs. The Deery’s lived in the home until 1835 when the patriarch passed, later leading to the building passing hands. Following the change of ownership and into the early years of the Civil War, the building served as an Inn, opening its doors to those passing through.
“Who knows how many people stayed here,” said Bush. “From Presidents to basically any kind of traveler. Thousands and thousands of people traveled here.”
However, some of those passing through may have returned for a second stay, but this time in the afterlife. The property is said to be haunted and a local paranormal group strongly backs those claims.
Southern Research Society Paranormal, commonly known as SRS Paranormal, was founded by Matthew Sorge who referred to himself as a skeptic of paranormal happenings until he had an experience of his own in 2005. From that point on, it sparked an interest, then a passion, and fueled the fire for creating a paranormal team.
Sorge said the 11 members that make up his team come from all walks of life, and they’ve been traveling the country investigating haunted places since the team was formally formed in 2007. He said they’ve led upwards of 300 investigations but their favorites are right here in the region they call home.
He said they’ve been coming to the Old Deery Inn since 2017 and have conducted over 20 investigations in that building. Sorge said more times than not, there’s an abundance of paranormal activity.
“We immediately had disembodied voices, shadow figures are routinely seen, and not just seen by the team but when we bring groups of people through here, we’ve probably done more than 20 investigations here with the public and every single time, the people that come, experience these things on their own without us telling them any of those stories or history,” said Sorge.
SRS Paranormal’s motto is ‘to seek the truth of who or what still haunts our world’ while investigating claims and validating them with history. While they don’t necessarily know who the spirits are in the Old Deery Inn, they know spirits are there. Could one even be William Deery himself?
“This was his life, this was his life’s work. In our experience traveling all over the country and doing these types of investigations, a lot of times people linger because there’s something that keeps them there,” said Sorge.
With thousands of people passing through, paranormal investigators said they’ve picked up a number of readings. One of the stronger signals is from the spirit of a woman, wandering the upstairs hall. However, when they open the investigations to the public, people have tales of their own encounters with the paranormal.
The property has a rich history and also features a number of cabins on the back lawn that were all relocated to the grounds in the 1940s, all with their own stories. However, the most spooky tales lie within the halls and walls of the Inn and it’s a mystery still waiting to be solved with tales still waiting to be told.
The Inn is usually open to the public during parades and events but can also be toured by appointment. If you’re interested in visiting the Old Deery Inn, click here.