Monsters and Ghosts A to Z : The Ghosts of Hurricane Mills
Hurricane Mills, Tennessee is a small unincorporated community that is located on what is now better known as the Loretta Lynn Ranch. Many visit the location every year both as a musically historic location akin to Graceland and as a haunted hot spot.
There are various ghosts said to roam the ranch from civil war soldiers, to slaves, and even former owners of the original home located on the property.
Loretta Lynn moved to the property in 1966 and quickly realized that something was amiss. She claims to have noticed doors opening and closing by themselves as well as other strange occurrences.
A woman in white is said to haunt both the main house that Lynn originally lived in as well as the nearby Anderson Cemetery. Many believe this to be a woman by the name of Beula who lived in the home and died shortly after losing an infant. As the legend goes poor Beula died of a broken heart after losing her child.
Various occurrences of hearing footsteps and rattling chains on the front porch of the property have been noted. Upon inspection, Lynn discovered what they call a “slave pit” beneath the porch in which slaves were put as a form of punishment. The area is dark and dismal. It also has a heavy iron bar covering the door barring those inside from escaping.
Both Lynn and other family members report seeing Civil War soldiers on the property as well as hearing phantom marching. Research shows that there are indeed 19 Confederate soldiers buried on the property who fell in a battle that occurred in the area.
Following other disturbances that occurred in the home Lynn, who openly discusses her clairvoyant abilities and experiences with ghosts, decided to hold a seance in the home. During this, a table in the room was thrown across the room and contact was made with a spirit who called themselves “Anderson”. Lynn stated afterward that when pressed for information the spirit would become angry.
Lynn later found from neighbors that the original owner of the home was named James Anderson. Following this information, she decided to stop attempting to contact that particular spirit out of respect.
So was there an angry homeowner, a lost mother, and Confederate soldiers on the property?
According to the history of the location, it appears that there very well may have been.
A June 1924 obituary from Hickman County News discusses the death of a prominent man by the name of James T. Anderson who had passed in Humphreys ( the county in which Hurricane Mills is located ).
According to the newspaper clipping, Anderson passed in his home on Hurricane Creek of illness due to Tetanus received in an unfortunate accident in which he stepped on a nail.
The injury was inflicted when Mr. Anderson stepped on a board thru which the nail was driven and which had been left on the barn lot of his farm home. Tetanus, or lock-jaw, developed several days later as the victim was seated at the dinner table with members of his family. Local physicians and Nashville specialists have since had charge of the case and hopes had been held for a recovery. – Hickman County News, June 19, 1924
Find a grave shows James Thomas Anderson ( 1858-1924) buried in the Anderson Cemetery within Hurricane Mills. According to records, this is the same James Thomas Anderson who was the founder of Hurricane Mills. He both built and died in the home that now stands haunted on Lynn’s property.
Also located in the Anderson cemetery is a Beula McMurray Anderson who passed in 1918. According to her obituary found in The Gospel Advocate on February 20, 1920, Beula had died and was buried at the home of James T. Anderson.
…Brother T. B. Larimore officiating. The writer was called to the home of Brother James T. Anderson, Hurricane Mills, Tenn., to speak to the sorrowing relatives and friends at the burial. Of all the beautiful things that could be said of Sister Bula Anderson, and they are many, the best of all is, she was a Christian. Her life was one of sunshine. She loved home. She leaves a rich legacy of a life beautifully lived. “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.” She was buried in the family plot at Hurricane Mills. The Gospel Advocate February 20,1919, page 184
Also found in Anderson Cemetery is an infant who both was born and passed on December 8, 1918. This would mean that Beula died 12 days following the infant’s passing.
Although the legend states that she died of a broken heart I would wager with that amount of time between the deaths that it was more something along the lines of an infection or blood loss that occurred during or following the birth. It is important to remember that in the early 1800’s not as much was known regarding medicine. This is especially so when it comes to medicine based on women, such as complications to the infant and mother during childbirth.
Although the only major battle listed in Humphreys County is the battle of Johnsonville, there are other minor skirmishes and events listed in Franklin, Thompson Station, and Parkers Crossing which would put Hurricane Mills along the path most likely traveled.
Some believe that the house located on the property was used as a hospital following a battle in 1963. This would have been during the end of the Confederacy when the Union was pushing the South back. Although I am unable to find exact records of this I do find it likely for two reasons.
1.) It follows the path the Confederacy took back towards Johnsonville
2.) It is important to remember that battles and smaller skirmishes were fought in many areas that were filled with the homes of those living in Tennessee. As a nature of this type of fighting, homes and other buildings were often transformed into makeshift hospitals to care for the wounded and store the dead.
Looking for more ghosts from Tennessee? Check out the story of the Bell Witch!