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Driving through old tunnels can be spooky. They’re often cold, damp, and dark — like a tomb. But there’s creepy, and then there’s terrifying. One tunnel in Church Hill, Tennessee — the Sensabaugh Tunnel — belongs in the latter category. Indeed, many motorists believe it’s one of the most haunted tunnels in America. 

Did a family murder lead to the haunting of this Tennessee tunnel?

A car passes through a tunnel
A car passes through a tunnel | Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Dangerous Roads explains that the Sensabaugh Tunnel gets its name from the Sensabaugh family, whose tragedy ultimately led to the tunnel’s supposedly haunted state. 

Legend has it that the patriarch of the Sensabaugh family built the tunnel in the early 20th century. Soon after it was constructed, he murdered his family and threw their bodies into the creek that runs through the tunnel. 

Though the tunnel is now abandoned, thrill-seekers still show up because of the ghost stories that have flourished since the tragic event.

Rumor has it that drivers who enter the tunnel and turn off their vehicles will discover they’re unable to start them again. To make matters worse, as they struggle to get their cars going, they spot a creepy apparition in their rearview mirror: the ghost of Mr. Sensabaugh himself. 

Though this situation is enough to make most drivers’ hearts race, there’s apparently one benefit to the murderer’s approach. When he nears, the cars’ ignitions suddenly start again, allowing those inside to escape the tunnel.  

Tennessee has other haunted roads as well

For those wanting to expand their experiences of Tennessee’s haunted roads, Auto Simple put together a roundup of some of the most famous.  

Number one on the list is Road Fork Motor Trail, nestled in Smoky Mountains National Park. On this road, you might be lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you look at it) enough to spot the ghost of Lucy, who died alongside the rest of her family in a cabin fire in the early 20th century. 

Another haunted roadway spot is at Drummond’s Bridge in the small town of Briceville, Tennessee. Visitors have been known to spot the ghost of Dick Drummond hanging from the railway trestle. Drummond was one of many revolting coal miners killed by the governor’s militiamen on October 31, 1891. 

Not far from the bridge, Circle Cemetery Road, a rural by that runs through an old graveyard, might give you the chills. Auto Simple says it can strike fear in motorists even in broad daylight. 

Check out these other haunted tunnels in the U.S. 

Another structure that makes it onto a Travel Channel list of America’s haunted roadways is known by the ghoulish name of Satan’s Tunnel. Located in Hawk Point, Missouri, the tunnel has been known to inspire ghost sightings by residents who say the apparition of a man haunts the overgrown structure. 

Then there’s the Nada Tunnel in Powell County, Kentucky. According to Dangerous Roads, it’s supposedly haunted by the ghost of a climber killed in a fall nearby. Residents have even reported spotting a glowing green light in the tunnel after dark. 

And finally, if you ever find yourself traveling to the Keystone State, you might want to check out the Twin Tunnels in Downingtown, not far from Philadelphia. Residents tell of hearing the ghostly cries of a baby emanating from the tunnels. 

Certainly, if you ever find yourself in or near one of these haunted roads, you’ll want to keep your eyes and ears peeled. You never know what sort of spookiness might catch you off-guard. 


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