KP’s McMinnville Lanes and the unexplained: Sammy wants you to know he’s here

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

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McMINNVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Seventy-five miles from Nashville in Warren County sits McMinnville, Tennessee—a town established more than 200 years ago, full of history and stories.

Some of those stories are ghost stories, and many begin at KP’s McMinnville Lanes.

It’s a bowling alley for many, but to believers, it’s home to a member of the spirit world.

“There was one night he was really insistent about banging,” said owner Betty Perry.

Normally the banging sound comes from bowlers or the game room with its sounds and flashing lights, but when it slows down, people leave, and lights go low… strange things seem to happen.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

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“You know there’s nobody here but you, and there’s all this banging going on,” Perry said. “It’s creepy; I won’t’ lie to you.

Perry owns the alley and everything in it—aside from the spirit she calls “Sammy.”

She claims her granddaughter saw the ghost in a storage room.

She says the intercom goes of inexplicably when no one else is in the building.

And perhaps the most unnerving… late at night, long after the final frame, she’ll hear pins falling.

“If you spend much time here, and you stay here late at night, you will believe, I promise you,” Perry told News 2.

The story goes decades back. A tombstone was found underneath the floor in a back office.

The only thing legible was the name Sammy.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

Whoever Sammy is, he seems to spend most of time roaming the pit area behind the lanes.

“He said he felt like he walked through… something… almost like a melted plastic feeling or something,” Perry said of the previous owner.

Wiley Simmons has been bowling there since he was a kid. He showed News 2 around the building.

The mechanic room is where they believe Sammy hangs out.

“Seems his favorite dwelling obviously, just seems it’s where he’s comfortable with,” Simmons said.

News 2 lit the area up with our equipment, but to see how dark it really gets, we turned the lights off.

Anchor Eric Egan says, “So this is where we’re thinking the pins might get tossed about?”

“Right. Behind the lanes to the right,” answered Simmons.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

Our photographer then heard knocking.

“Okay, we might be hearing something. It’s sort of faint,” Eric says.

We pointed our cameras to where the noise came from.

A pin that wasn’t there before is now lying on the ground. But how did it get here?

“I think he wanted you to know he was here. I’ll be honest,” owner Perry says.

When the machines are off, the pins are held in two places—high up in the machine or deep inside of it. They should not move.

Eric notes there’s no way a pin is just going to come out and land on the floor; there’s a lot of machinery and it’s several feet higher.

Is that what our News 2 crew hear? Was Sammy behind the bowling lanes with us, warning us he was close by?

It felt like it.

“But never felt threatened,” said Simmons. “[Never felt] that I could get hurt. Never. None of that.”

These hallways belonged to Sammy long before any business owner. We were his guests for his game at his bowling alley.

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