Outside, it looks anything but ghostly.

The stately, three-story, stone, brick and wooden complex - the Netherland Inn on the South Fork of the Holston River - is a historical treasure that once boarded Presidents Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson and James K. Polk.Inside, the aura changes.

"It gets eerie," says Kathy McMurray, the Netherland's innkeeper. "You have this feeling you're being watched."

Maybe it's the life-size dolls with haunting eyes dressed in 19th century clothes, or maybe the penetrating stare of Andrew Jackson from a portrait in the room where he slept.

Or could it be the age-old, well-known ghost stories that are still talked about? Tales abound about ghostly figures and objects that people say mysteriously appear and disappear near the Netherland Inn.

Take the story of Hugh Hamblen.

It is told by Nancy Acuff, a professor at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City and author of books about the supernatural. She is the daughter of Hamblen's second cousin:

On a foggy night in 1922, Hamblen went to a hospital near the Netherland Inn to visit his son, who had been in an automobile accident.

After his visit, Hamblen left the hospital with his brother-in-law. As he started to get into the passenger's side of a car, another car crashed into him. Hamblen was thrown on top of the hood of the other car as it plunged off a 20-foot embankment. The car then rolled over him.

Three days later, Hamblen died in the same hospital to which his son had been taken. At the moment he died, his son, who had been released from the hospital, began to bleed from his ears.

Since then, witnesses have reported seeing a man - dressed in an overcoat, Stetson hat and a long, white scarf - waving to them along Netherland Inn Road. Acuff says she has interviewed 21 people who claim to have seen the ghost of Hugh Hamblen, warning them to drive carefully on foggy nights.

"But I think it is strictly a physical phenomenon," she says.

The Netherland Inn, established in 1818 by an early settler named Richard Netherland, is open for tours. In 1969 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is currently owned by its restorer, the Netherland Inn Association.