Hurricane Mills, TN
Most of us who have seen The Coal Miner's Daughter were fond of Sissy Spacek's performance. We have our favorite quotes, we felt we bonded with the Queen of Country, we resepect Loretta Lynn for the adversities she faced and her strength for overcoming her hardships. While the movie explores her road to success and some troubling times in her life, there is a whole other piece of Loretta Lynn that few are aware of -- her psychic abilities.
In the past, she's experienced premonitions, especially regarding her family. A gift, and a curse, according to daughter Peggy, passed from Loretta's mother. During one visit to Loretta's Hurricane Mills plantation, her mother experienced an overwhelming vision about the river on the property, that it would be the site of a great tragedy to the family. Years later, the prediction came true in perhaps the most heart-wrenching loss of Loretta's life. The river claimed the life of her oldest son, Jack Benny, at thirty years old.
At the time of his death, Loretta was on tour and suffered an episode that came in the form of a seizure. For days she couldn't remember anything, and when her son's body was found, she came out of it. Her husband, lovingly called Doo, began to tell her, and she interrupted him. She just knew, and told Doo, "It's Jack Benny, isn't it."
A short time after Loretta married at only thirteen years old, her husband moved her across the country from the home and family in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Even at this lengthy distance, Loretta shared more of a bond with her mother than just a mother-daughter relationship. One seemed to know when the other was saddened almost to the point of depression and a few days later, a letter arrived to cheer whichever one was feeling down.
Loretta also had a premonition of her father's death, her vision showing him at peace in his casket, and the next day the phone rang to notify her of his passing. At one point, when she went home for a visit, she even saw his ghost sitting on the porch of her childhood home.
Her real adventure with ghosts started over thirty years ago, when she and husband Doo bought the Hurricane Mills plantation.
Loretta's daughter Peggy remembers being two or three years old, laying in bed one night. She felt someone watching her and looked up to see a lady in white emerge from the bathroom adjoining the twins' room. She briefly wondered if there was someone visiting as a guest, until the lady took two steps backwards and vanished.
The lady in white has been seen by others, too. Loretta herself recalls coming home from a tour and seeing her on the second floor balcony, wringing her hands and crying. Again, the lady was mistaken as a guest and Loretta asked Gloria, a woman who tended to the twins, who was upstairs. Gloria said no one was there, so Loretta went back outside and the lady was then walking through the cemetary on the property.
After some research, they learned that a woman by the name of Beula Anderson once lived in the house, and had given birth to a stillborn infant. Mother Beula passed twelve days later, and they're buried in the cemetary side by side. Loretta believes she's still grief-stricken and searching for her lost child.
Other strange happenings have occurred on the property, as well. Gaye Crowell, the assistant manager of the ranch went out on a balcony shortly after September 11th, to hang red, white, and blue banners, and was locked out with two other women. No one locked the door. They were stuck until getting someone's attention on the ground below. She feels one of the ghosts locked her out there just for the sakes of mischief.
Another time, a tour guide was leading a tour and accidentally bumped a framed album cover hanging along the staircase wall. One of the people in the group asked who the man behind her was, just as she was pushed off the last couple of stairs! The tour guide is much more careful now.
Loretta believes the ghost in that incident was "ol' man Anderson," the origional owner of the plantation, now buried in the cemetary on the property. She says that when she first realized the house was haunted, she told the ghosts she would take care of the house and "fix it up real nice." She feels a certain amount of mutual respect was formed and that Anderson's ghost doesn't like the albums touched. "Mostly, he shows up just to aggravate people," Loretta commented during Loretta Lynn's Haunted Plantation, a show aired on the Travel Channel. He looks out for her because he knows she won't let anything happen to the house.
Tim Cobb, Loretta's personal assistant had a sighting of Anderson, too, but it wasn't nearly as chilling as other encounters he's had. One day, he discovered a misty frost on a door during a warm day, but even stranger was that the frost was on the inside of the glass. Tim also heard noises upstairs, another time, after the plantation tours had closed for the day and immediately thought of intruders. From below the stairs, he saw a shadow of someone as they entered the Brown Room, a bedroom at the top of the stairs. He investigated and found no one, nothing, except for an eerie coldness in the room. "He come a-flyin' outta there," Loretta recalled.
The Brown Room is a room no one is comfortable in. Many strange events have happened there. It's always the coldest room in the house by several degrees and there's always dead flies in the window, the only room in the house in which they're found. One of the staff believe something horrible happened in that room. When Jack Benny was a young man, the room was his bedroom, and he once awakened to find a Confederate soldier tugging on his boot, which he had fallen asleep wearing.
The family discovered the plantation was the site of a Civil War skirmish in July 1863. Many soldiers were taken to the old church on the property that served as a temporary hospital. At least nineteen soldiers died that day.
Others have witnessed the soldiers, too, often in broad daylight. A fisherman looked up from the river one day to a soldier's spirit strolling across the bridge, only to vanish in front of his eyes. Another day, someone saw two soldiers sitting beside a ghostly fire. And in 1967, Ernest, another of Loretta's sons, awoke to a very cold temperature in the Brown Room, and saw two Civil War soldiers staring at him. He ran from the room and refused to ever sleep there again.
During the 1800's, slaves lived and worked on the plantation. On the porch of the plantation is a grill about the size of a large doormat. Beneath that is a dungeon-like pit with chains hanging from the ceiling of the space. The family believes it was used as punishment when the slave owners deemed it necessary. On a night when Loretta was watching television with a friend, they heard footsteps cross the porch, followed by the rattling chains from the pit.
In spite of all the ghostly anomalies at Hurricane Mills, Loretta loves her home. She said the ghosts have never tried to hurt them. "They just let us know they were there."
The area has given her plenty of inspiration through the years. One day, while she was out looking for her husband, she wrote You're Lookin' At Country and I Wanna Be Free, both of which became #1 hits.
Perhaps the most interesting fact, and a true testament of Loretta's psychic ability, is that she wrote This Haunted House in 1964, a full two years before she purchased Hurricane Mills.