One of the nicest spirits in Nashville lingers at Fisk Memorial Chapel. Most of the time, she is more noticed in her absence than her presence. You’ll walk into the empty chapel and the air will still be humming, as if someone has just finished playing the organ. Or you will shuffle into your spot in the choir loft and there will be the faint smell of rose water, as if a woman was standing there just seconds before you.
The reason she is one of Nashville’s most beloved ghosts has everything to do with the women’s restroom. You see, to get into the women’s restroom, you open a door on the north side of the vestibule and immediately, you must step down a set of stairs. These stairs are incredibly steep, each step so shallow you think your whole foot might not fit on it, and then the whole thing takes a sharp turn to the left at the bottom, into the actual restroom itself.
No matter how sure-footed you are, if you are in heels, taking those stairs is taking your life into your own hands. And yet, if you are at the chapel for any length of time, you will have to take those stairs.
And, often, as you have your right hand stretched down the wall to steady yourself and your left hand is out behind you, tightly wrapped around the banister, and you are half-leaning forward to see if anyone will need to squeeze by you on the way up, just at the moment you feel like you are about to tip forward and end up sprawled in a broken heap at the bottom of the stairs, you will feel a firm but gentle grip on your arm, a kind fellow visitor setting you right again.
But, of course, when you turn to look, to thank your rescuer, the steep stairway is empty.
Some people have been known to leave gifts of appreciation for her on those steps, but I must implore you not to make them any more dangerous to traverse than they already are.