It’s hard to say how long this has been going on and people just didn’t know it was a ghost. Until the rise of cell phones, I don’t know how you’d know for sure. I first heard about it from some Vandy grad students who lived over on Marlborough, just next to Love Hill. They regularly walked up to the top of it. At night, even in the city, they found it a wonderful spot for star-gazing.
But, one evening, at dusk, they were up on top of Love Hill with a friend, who was something of a Civil War buff. He was pointing out to them why Love Hill was such a strategic spot, showing them how you could see clear across town, from the Centennial Park dog park hill to the old reservoir that marks where Fort Casino was to Fort Negley.
And, as he pointed at Fort Negley, they all saw a faint, blinking light. At first, they thought it was nothing more than maybe a car or, they speculated, kids with flashlights up in the park.
But then the friend said, “I think that’s Morse code.”
“What’s it say?”
“I don’t know.”
“Maybe they’re doing some kind of reenactment at the fort?”
So, they went to see. But the fort was locked and dark.
The couple didn’t think anything of it until they saw the light again, this time in the middle of the afternoon.
“Okay, that is something,” they said to each other. “Let’s go see.” They grabbed their binoculars, got in the car and cut over by Rose Park and stopped there to see if they could still see it. And there, in the woods below Fort Negley was a shiny spot of some sort.
“You stay here,” the one said to the other. “Just keep watching it while I try to get closer.” And so the one took the car over to Fort Negley, staying on the cell phone with the other the whole way.
“Yes, I can still see it,” the other said. “Go more to your left.”
“I can’t go any farther left.”
“Well, it should be right there.”
“Can you see me?”
“Yes, it’s right there, right in front of you.”
“There’s nothing… Oh, excuse me, sir.”
And then long silence.
“Honey, are you there?”
The other searched the hillside through the binoculars and was just about to dial 911 when the one ran into the Fort Negley parking lot at full speed.
“I thought I saw a man, in a uniform, but he… I don’t know… I saw him, but I didn’t. His face. It was like he had no face, just nothing where his face should have been.”