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13 of the trippiest places in Tennessee

Voodoo Village 

Built in the 1950s, the compound, which is endearingly called Saint Paul’s Spiritual Temple, is known for voodoo, witchcraft, disappearing buses, folk art depicting Freemasonry symbols, brightly colored houses enclosed in an iron fence, and dead animals swinging from trees — typical neighborhood stuff. Villagers have a reputation for being less than friendly towards visitors, so exploring the area may be a little uncomfortable. But nevertheless, if you find yourself driving by, snap a picture. You may discover that the developed photos show the Villagers as corpses or reveal the ghosts of all the people who have been killed by its residents.

Or you could just go to Graceland, which is arguably just as creepy.

Rugby

A failed experimental utopian town founded in 1880 and lost to typhoid fever and abandonment by 1887? It’s practically begging for its own horror movie.

The Hermitage Hotel’s men’s restroom

Voted America’s best restroom, this art deco-themed bathroom at the Hermitage Hotel glimmers with lime-green-and-black glass tiles and fixtures, terrazzo floor, a Sultan telephone, and a shoeshine station. So thanks to Nashville, flushing has never been so luxurious.

The Mindfield

Started in 1989 by Billy Tripp, Tennessee’s largest outdoor sculpture is a collection of steel pieces representing different parts and moods of Billy’s life. He plans on building the structure until his death when he intends to be laid to rest within the acre-large and 125-foot-tall work of art, which is pretty much a mansion from the Iron Giant’s wet dreams.

The Parthenon

…sexually awakening Nashville adolescents with its 42-foot-tall shimmering Athena statue since 1990.

The Body Farm 

The University of Tennessee Knoxville is home to a place where students observe the different ways bodies decompose in various settings and elements — with actual decomposing corpses. Which, of course, can explain how investigators on those crime scene shows look at a four-month-old rotting body and instantly recognize it as a 28-year-old male who choked on a Cool Ranch Dorito while pelican watching.

The Crystal Shrine Grotto

Completed in 1938 by artist Dionicio Rodriguez, the Crystal Shrine Grotto in Memphis pulls you on a religious voyage down a man-made cave dug sixty feet into the ground. It’s decorated with quartz crystals and a pool dyed bright blue. On one hand, it serves as an illustration of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection while here on Earth. On the other, it’s a really intense flashback of watching Pan’s Labyrinth muted to Dark Side of the Moon while playing with a glow stick for three and a half hours.

The Salt & Pepper Shaker Museum

Here, you can surround yourself with more than 20,000 sets of shakers from around the world. Because who says dinner shouldn’t be a time to reflect on the historical background of the two most beloved spices? And who says Gatlinburg is just a tourist trap?

Spaceship House

This house looks as if a white UFO checked out of Roswell in the 70s and settled on Signal Mountain in Chattanooga. It’s more retro than your mom’s floral bell bottoms and has a drop-down airplane door stretching into the interior of a place you’d imagine Rosie to be tidying up. Rumor has it that at one point, the original owners even had a stuffed panther coffee table, but considering new residents live there and it’s private property, the speculation continues.

The Peabody Memphis

Who cares about complimentary toiletries and a marble-columned lobby when there are ducks splashing in the flippin’ fountain?

Paris

Ah, Paris – the city of love, lights, Eiffel Tower replicas, and the World’s Biggest Fish Fry.

Rock City Fairytale Caverns

While technically in Georgia, it’s a hop over the line where visitors to Chattanooga are met with blacklight depictions of grim and grisly fairytales in a damp cave with mountain gnomes stalking your every move. In other words, ignore those painted barns strung along the highways and don’t see Rock City because it’s actually really freakin’ creepy.

Yellow Deli

You say controversial cult, I say turkey, swiss, provolone, onions, tomato, and sprouts, smeared with pesto spread on a Kaiser roll with a side of daily Israeli folk dances and Joy’s Special Chili.

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