Haunts Around The US: Gatlinburg, TN

HHNU writer Scott has recently returned from a week long road trip with friends and other writers. Stops included various roadside attractions and amusement parks, but along the way they made it a point to stop while passing through Gatlinburg to visit the two year round haunted houses there: Mysterious Mansion and Ripley’s Haunted Adventure.

Mysterious Mansion

The day we chose to go here was perfect, as it was a rainy, ominous day. The attraction itself was eerily lit with purple and blue lights and there was creepy music playing, as to be expected.

Rainy, cold, wet, and spooky. A perfect night for a good scare!

Unfortunately, cameras and video recording devices were not allowed within the house so we can’t share any photos of the interior and the experience, but this was DEFINITELY worth every penny, take our word for it. Incredibly, the place is only operated by as little as three people, but they’re so effective at their job it would seem like there are more. The scareactors themselves are practically acrobats, as they are constantly behind you AND in front of you at all times. They climb the walls and roofs above you like spiders, bang on the walls, and are constantly everywhere. There was even a point where we looked over a ledge within the mansion and saw one of them across the way pounding his fist on the banister in front of him, waiting for us to move along, even though he was JUST BEHIND US.

The backstage areas that the actors use is practically a jungle gym, and they use it to full advantage to quickly go everywhere inside the attraction. There were only two of them, but they were SO GOOD at what they were doing that it seemed like there were 8.

We went through the haunted house with 5 people in our group, and it was just us 5, not a conga line like HHN houses. We were free to take the walk through as fast or as slow as we wanted, in fact the attraction only has one group go through at a time. Altogether the experience took 18 minutes.


The first scene was more like an escape room where we had to find the secret passageway to proceed after listening to a message on the old fashioned radio by the fireplace. There was a well established ominous, creepy atmosphere throughout thanks to smells and music, although some scenes were in complete, piercing silence.

It was indeed quite scary as we walked through various creepy rooms, attics, bedrooms, studies, dark hallways, libraries, etc throughout the mansion. There were about two or three pitch black hallways that made you have to feel your way through and hold onto the shoulders of those in front of you so your group doesn’t split up. Of course, our group did eventually split up, though we did find each other again.

Our entire group, including the two haunted house first timers we entered with, all had an incredible time and not one of us wasn’t terrified by the end. This year round haunt gets a well deserved rating of five stars!

Daytime shot for good measure!

Ripley’s Haunted Adventure

Built by the company behind Ripley’s Believe It or Not, this one was a bit iffy, we were unsure about it from the get go after reading lots of reviews online. It begins with a short inclined train ride up to the first few scenes. There weren’t many actors, and when there were it was apparent that they had set spots to be at and scare in. Similar to Mysterious Mansion, there was one completely dark hallway that you had to feel your way through.


This house had lots of static mannequins (both dead and alive, some covered in blood) and some pretty generic creepy music throughout. The scarcity of actors was a bit of a let down, but some of the set decorations were pretty decent. There’s a constant threat of a man with a chainsaw who you see on some screens throughout the attraction that were made to look like windows into rooms. When he finally chased us at the end that was fun and exciting. The surprise in the elevator was also a highlight.

Overall this haunted attraction would be for those who aren’t too used to the haunted house experience. We could basically say this was designed with kids in mind, so it lacked extremely intense scares and jumps. Being used to quite scary haunted attractions, this felt pretty cheesy and lame, but that’s due our experience, you may have a different experience with your friends, the potential is there! We could safely rate this at 3 stars.

Keep following us here and on our Facebook page for more articles on year round haunts as we get the chances to visit them during our travels!