Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia & Western North Carolina
Called Click Tunnel by local thrill seekers and often confused with nearby Sensabaugh Culvert located on Sensabaugh Hollow Road, this culvert in Mount Carmel is said to be haunted by the spirit of an infant who was supposedly murdered inside by a drifter.
Author Charles Edwin Price popularized the most commonly cited story in his 1999 book More Haunted Tennessee: A New Collection of Spine-chilling Ghost and Monster Tales from the Volunteer State:
One day, while travelling through the area, [a hobo] stopped at a local house to ask for work in exchange for a meal. The
family obliged him.
After chopping some wood, the hobo was invited into the house to eat. Although not rich, the family did had some
valuable items scattered around the house. When the hobo attempted to steal a silver cup – an heirloom that had been in the
family for years – the husband ran for a pistol.
Not wanting to be shot by the angry man, the hobo grabbed the nearest shield – the couple’s baby who was sleeping in a
nearby cradle – and ran out the door. The hobo easily outdistanced the father, and when he finally took a breather, he looked at
the infant in his arms and decided that the baby would be excess baggage. So he drown it in the little creek that flows through
I know nothing more of the story nor the circumstances surrounding the murder, but the eerie memory of the deed lingers
on. The sounds of that ghostly baby are often heard today inside of the tunnel. (Price, p. 77)
There are other variations of this story. A website titled “Sensabaugh Tunnel” from Ghosts & Spirits presents some others:
The other two versions do not involve a hobo. According to one, Mr. Sensabaugh lived with his family in a house near the
entrance to the tunnel. One day he went crazy, and murdered them all, including his newborn baby, and threw their bodies into
the creek in the tunnel. Other account says a young pregnant woman was kidnapped and murdered in the tunnel. (Ghosts &
Yet another version of the story alleges that at some point in the remote past, an unnamed woman and her infant were driving along when a cloudburst forced her to park her car in the tunnel for cover. At this point, the story is told two ways. One tale purposes a vagrant, also using the culvert for protection from the storm, murdered the infant by drowning it in the quickly-rising creek. The other tale recounts incorrectly that both mother and child drown when there was a flashflood that washed through the culvert.
These stories have even made it into Jerry D. Coleman’s 2003 book Strange Highways: a Guidebook to American Mysteries & the Unexplained and Weird U.S.: the Odyssey Continues: Your Travel Guide to America's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by Mark Sceurman, Mark Moran and Matthew Lake, published in 2008.
Unfortunately, all of the stories are completely wrong. In an exclusive for Kingsport Times-News on 10/29/1995, resident Ed Sensabaugh admitted he was the one who gave the culvert a spooky reputation. He reminisced that in the 1950s, he got so fed up with the drunken teenagers waking him and his wife that he decided to scare them off once and for all.
“Ed’s the one that got that started,” Jack Sensabaugh said. “Back in the 50s and 60s, these kids would go out to the
tunnel hollering and screaming and waking his wife and kids up, so he decided he’d get them back.”
Ed Sensabaugh had a skill for replicating various sounds, something Jack Sensabaugh shares. To this day, Jack con
pick up a goose feather and, cut it with his knife, and then make it sound like a panther’s scream.
“Ed, he could cry just like a baby,” Jack said. “Those kids would get in the tunnel hollering and screaming, so he’d just
ease off into the meadow and do his thing. The sound would carry right down into the hollow. Up into the 60s he’d do it
occasionally, and he’d scare the hell out of those kids.”
Since those days, the legend has lived without Ed Sensabaugh’s help. (Kingsport Times-News)
It seems some people want to believe in ghosts even when there is a rational explanation behind seemingly paranormal encounters. Every Halloween night, people drive from miles around to walk through Click Tunnel in Mount Carmel, hoping to experience something supernatural.