Spooky Hank Williams Ghost Encounters and How One Inspired ‘The Ride’

Spooky Hank Williams Ghost Encounters and How One Inspired ‘The Ride’


The ghost of legendary country music singer-songwriter Hank Williams has been said to haunt many locations, and the songwriter of David Allen Coe’s “The Ride” claims Hank appeared when he was crafting the song.

The ghost of Hank Williams at the Grand Ole Opry

Located on Fifth Avenue, just a few steps north of Broadway, the Ryman Auditorium was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 until 1974. During that time, a number of people have reported hauntings, with several employees claiming to have seen the ghost of Hank Williams in the building.

One said they saw him walking around backstage, while another said a white mist appeared on stage that looked like Williams singing. Another employee even claims to have spotted Williams ghost walking in the alley behind the venue.

Legendary singer Bill Anderson also has a Hank Williams ghost story. While warming up backstage, Anderson was playing his guitar, strumming a song that was a favorite of Hank’s. Suddenly, all the electricity in the building went out. The lights went off, sound equipment went out, and even the emergency exit lights that were on a backup system failed to come on. No explanation for the cause of the incident was ever found. Anderson believes the “eerie” experience was directly related to him playing that song and the ghost of Williams, Saving Country Music reports.

Songwriter of David Allen Coe’s “The Ride” got help from Hank Williams’ ghost

Gary Gentry is the songwriter of “the ride,” performed by David Allen Coe, which is a song about riding with the ghost of Hank Williams.

Frustrated after finishing co-writing a song earlier that was intended to be a tribute to Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, Gentry went home feeling he hadn’t quite hit the mark and wanted to come up with something better, Wide Open Country reported. Gentry went home, did a little drinking, and was determined to craft an ultimate song about Hank.

“I lit candles in the living room, and I wanted Hank to show himself,” Gentry says. “I wanted to write a masterpiece about Hank. And I was mad, and I was drunk.”

Gentry then tried to stir up Hank’s ghost.

“Hank!” Gentry says he yelled. “Why were you so big? Just because you died young? Show yourself!”

According to Gentry, Williams did just that. He claimed Hank’s ghost appeared, sitting on his couch, shirtless.

“Help me write this song,” Gentry pleaded.

“And I said, ‘Hank, we’re gonna take a ride,'” Gentry explained. “I wanna write about you. I think you’re the greatest songwriter and entertainer that ever lived.”

“Thus, ‘The Ride,’ at 4 o’clock in the morning,” was written, Gentry says.

In an interview with Billboard in 1983, gentry told the magazine: “There’s a mysterious magic connected with this song that spells cold chills, leading me to believe that it was meant to be and that David Allan Coe was meant to record it.”

Gentry went on to say that while he was writing the song, he opened up Hank Williams’s biography to check the date of his death, and when he flipped open the book, he landed on the exact page where it was located.

Hank haunts performance of “The Ride” at the new Grand Ole Opry House

The Grand Ole Opry House off of Briley Parkway in Nashville became the new venue for the Opry. Shortly after “The Ride” was released in 1983 by David Allen Coe, Gary Gentry was performing it at the Opry for a television show. When he got to the word “Hank” in the big payoff line, the lights at the entire Opryland complex went out. The incident was reported by numerous news outlets at the time.

Hank Williams haunts grandson Hank III’s ranch

Hank Williams III is the son of Hank Williams Jr. and the grandson of Hank Williams Sr. Hank3 was living in a rented ranch outside Nashville. The location serves as a recording studio and general headquarters for his entire music operation from publicity to merchandising. Hank3 calls it “The Haunted Ranch,” and is convinced it’s inhabited by ghosts – most definitely by the spirit of his grandfather Hank Sr., the Democrat & Chronicle reported.