The Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Mountain Home, Johnson City, Tennessee, was built in the early part of the twentieth century as a hospital and domiciliary for those veterans from the South who had fought in the Northern army during the Civil War. Of course, there were many. Upper East Tennessee, especially, was an abolitionist stronghold. In fact, when Tennessee took their vote on whether or not to secede from the Union, East Tennessee overwhelmingly elected to stay. Buildings on the post are constructed in the Spanish Revival style and, because of this, many resemble gothic structures right out of a horror movie. In addition to the old hospital and domiciliary buildings, there is a large Nation cemetery behind the post, a creaky old theater, and over 100 acres of open land that is partially wooded. Needless to say, a number of ghostly legends surround the site, although a person seldom hears first-hand accounts of specific instances. From the information I have gathered, these are the ghosts of Mountain Home.
There is a belief that Memorial Hall (the theater) is haunted. Every once in a while a shadow, in human shape, can be seen flitting across the stage. Although I have never met anyone personally who has seen the apparition, I have had some personal experiences with mysterious noises connected with the building. Raps, loud popping, and squeaks, are heard often. This, of course, can be easily attributed to the fact that the building is very old and constructed primarily of wood. But who knows for sure? It is also said that that if you sit under the stage and listen very quietly, you can hear footsteps breading the boards over your head--even though there is no one else in the theater but yourself.
Some of the long-term members of the domiciliary say that, sometimes at night, the figure of a World War I doughboy in full dress uniform can be seen walking down the street in front of Building Five. The figure, I'm told, looks very misty and trods about six inches above the pavement.
The gallery of the library building, next to Building Five, is said to be haunted by a ghostly browser. In life the man, an avid reader, was supposed to have suffered a fatal heart attack and died on the gallery. Another version of this story relates that the ghost is of a man who committed suicide by jumping over the railing the encircles the gallery of the library.
The duck pond, situated below the new domiciliary building, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a man who drowned there. Occasionally his ghost emerges from the water, looks around, then sinks back again. Building Three of the domiciliary is said to be haunted by the ghost of a man who committed suicide in Ward A about ten years ago. He stabbed himself with a pair of scissors.
Finally there is the tale of an abandoned pond and the ghost of a small child. To the left of the administration building of the Quillen Medical School there is a distinct depression in the earth of an open field. A person can't miss it. At one time the depression held a shallow pond, filled with fish, and available as a center of recreation for hospital residents as well as visitors from Johnson City. One frequent fisherman was the small son of the hospital administrator. Tragically, on a late night fishing expedition, the child fell into the pond and drowned. His grief-stricken father ordered the pond drained. But, to this day, childish cries of help are still heard coming from the old pond area.