The Hauntings of Hurricane Mills

Posted on October 26, 2022 by Lisa Thomas under Uncategorized
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She didn’t understand why the woman was on her second floor balcony.  Granted, she’d been away from home for a while, but no one had mentioned any unexpected guests, and this woman was obviously distraught, pacing back and forth, wringing her hands and silently sobbing.  She hurried inside to find the sitter, asking her about the stranger upstairs . . . at which point the sitter assured her there was no one upstairs.  Rushing to the second floor, she opened the door to the balcony—only to find it empty.  Her mysterious stranger clothed completely in white had seemingly made her way down the stairs without being seen and was now wandering about the cemetery that was on the property.

It was not the last time Loretta Lynn would see The Lady in White.

Delving into the house’s past, she found the name of Beula Anderson, wife of John Anderson, the son of James Anderson, the builder of the home.  Beula had given birth to a stillborn son in 1918—a child named for his father and buried in Anderson Cemetery—the same cemetery frequented by the sorrowful spirit.  Beula grieved herself to death, following her son twelve days after his birth, and was laid to rest beside him.  Loretta believed this was her visitor, still searching for her child, still trapped in her grief as she mourned her loss from so many years before.  Later, when she and her family moved from their antebellum home into a newer one on the property, one of her sons joked “the house wasn’t big enough for two women”, and it seemed as though The Lady in White wasn’t leaving anytime soon.

Beula was not the only spirit to walk the grounds of the Lynn abode at Hurricane Mills, nor was Loretta the only person to witness the comings and goings of the ghostly apparitions.  Her family often had encounters of the other-worldly kind as did those who worked in the home over the years.  Take, for instance, the tale told by her son Jack Benny who once fell asleep still wearing his boots; the feeling of someone tugging on them drug him from his slumbers—and the sight of the Civil War soldier who seemed intent upon removing them sent Jack running from the room.  Perhaps the soldier wanted the boots for himself.  Perhaps he simply wanted to be sure Jack was comfortable.  Whatever the reason, Jack didn’t stay to find out.

Anthony Brutto, Loretta’s grandson, had his own introduction to the spirit world one night when the power went out, plunging the house into total darkness.  Total that is, but for one chandelier that continued to glow.  Despite the fact that everything in the room was on the same breaker, and nothing else seemed inclined to work, the chandelier still burned.

Loretta often spoke of her own psychic abilities, powers she inherited from her mother who foresaw a family tragedy involving the river that flowed through the property years before Loretta’s son Jack lost his life there.  In an effort to contact someone from the home’s past, Loretta invited several close friends to assist her in holding a séance.  Their communication with the spirit world was successful, if you could call it that, given that the entity identifying himself as “Anderson” seemed quite angry at being disturbed.  His response was to violently shake the table around which they had gathered, finally slamming it against the floor and breaking it into pieces.

No matter how you may feel about the ghostly goings on that seem to frequently happen at the Lynn home, you will never convince those who have been unwilling participants that they are anything other than truth.  That’s why the tour guides will never take you to the second floor.  No visitor is allowed to enter the “Brown Room”, the most haunted place in the house.  That was the room where Jack encountered the soldier who so desperately wanted his boots . . . the room where he and his brother Ernest refused to stay after Ernest awoke one night to find two Civil War soldiers watching him as he slept.  It is always the coldest room in the house and those who are brave enough to enter may find themselves confronted with unexplained noises . . . rappings that seem to come from the closet . . . a closet filled with Christmas decorations . . . and supposedly nothing more.

It has been over 30 years since Loretta and her family vacated the house, opting for a newer one with fewer previous inhabitants.  But that didn’t stop the stories from growing since the spirits continued to make their presence known.  Despite their pranks, no one has ever been physically harmed, although one tour guide was pushed off the bottom steps when they accidently brushed against the album covers that lined the stairway wall.  Loretta always believed the ghosts tolerated the presence of the living because, when she first learned the house was haunted, she had announced to all of them she would take care of it and “fix it up real nice.”  And so she did.  Perhaps that’s why she believed ol’ man Anderson was watching over her as she made good on her promise to care for his home. And who knows, with Loretta now buried close by, perhaps she and Mr. Anderson will keep watch over it together.



About the author:  Lisa Shackelford Thomas is a fourth generation member of a family that’s been in funeral service since 1926.  She has been employed at Shackelford Funeral Directors in Savannah, Tennessee for over 40 years and currently serves as the manager there.  Any opinions expressed here are hers and hers alone, and may or may not reflect the opinions of other Shackelford family members or staff.

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