OF LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN
book filled with area apparitions
ARTICLE AND AUDIO INTERVIEW (mp3)
Chattanooga Times-Free Press
is at the southern end of the Great Smoky Mountains. It extends
for nearly a hundred miles from the southeastern edge of Tennessee
down into Georgia and Alabama. A Parkway winds along its length,
passing parks, lakes, caverns, waterfalls, and such, making it a
popular tourist attraction. Near Chattanooga is a spot from where
one can peer into seven different states. It also is home to a stretch
of the famous Appalachian Trail, one of the country’s longest
hiking trails. Historically it has seen early explorers encroaching
upon its natural beauty, the Native Americans rounded up and forced
to march to Oklahoma (the infamous Trail of Tears), some of the
bloodiest battles of the Civil War, and various family feuds and
moonshine disagreements. As such, the mountain has been visited
by many people over the years, in both peaceful and violent circumstances,
and apparently there are many who refused to leave it, even after
death. This book is about those spirits who chose, or were forced,
to remain. Some of them are a little creepy, some mischievous, and
some seem totally oblivious to their surroundings, but they all
have an interesting story!
with Larry Hillhouse, author of the new book, Ghosts of Lookout
Mountain, published by Quixote Press.
What in your background makes you a good choice to write
about Lookout Mountain?
I was raised in Middle Tennessee, living in Lawrenceburg, Tullahoma,
Manchester, and Estill Springs. I grew up seeing all of these barns
painted with “SEE ROCK CITY, Atop Lookout Mountain,”
so I’ve been familiar with Lookout Mountain for most of my
life. Then a sister and her husband moved to Fort Payne, Alabama,
and have lived on the brow of the mountain for a number of years,
giving me the opportunity to visit much of the area.
Why ghost stories?
The publisher contacted me and asked if I would be interested
in writing ghost stories set in the Great Smoky Mountains. You don’t
turn down such opportunities. Then when I began my research, I kept
finding numerous items centered around Lookout Mountain. I convinced
the publisher that the mountain could sustain a book all its own.
What is it about Lookout Mountain that makes it ghostly?
There has been much history made on Lookout Mountain, and
violence is a key word. From early settlers clashing with the Indians,
the forced Trail of Tears march, and many Civil War battles resulting
in cruel, early deaths and heartbreak have provided an excellent
spawning ground for many ghosts or restless spirits. Ghosts seem
to appear most often at spots of mayhem and tragedy, as if the spirits
were caught unaware and don’t know how to move on to their
So you believe all of these stories?
Ghost stories, by their very nature, are virtually impossible to
prove or disprove. They frequently rely on legends, folklore, and
tales related by people who heard it third or fourth hand. Some
of the people involved, however, are very reliable witnesses. It
is difficult to discount all of the stories, especially when many
people witness the same event, either singularly or as a group.
Was it easy to find stories?
Once you start investigating, it seems as though every town or community
has at least one unexplained occurrence that is common knowledge
to the inhabitants. Everyone has had a strange experience or knows
someone who has. Most are eager to talk about it, as long as their
real names aren’t used. There is a stigma about having seen
ghosts, much like that of having witnessed UFOs. Some people don’t
want to believe, and their defense is to ridicule those who have
seen or felt something from the “other side.” I have
frequently heard people describe something that “a friend”
witnessed, when I’m pretty certain that the friend is them.
Is there anything else you’d like to say about the
More information, including excerpts from the book can
be found on my website: www.larryhillhouse.com
Did you ever get back to the book on the Smoky Mountains?
Oh yes, it is completed and should be released soon.
Where is “Ghosts of Lookout Mountain” available?
Right now from the publisher, Quixote Press (1-800-571-2665), but
hopefully the book will soon be in gift shops all around Lookout