By the time I came along Loretta Lynn was already an icon. That little gal from Butcher Holler sang her way into American history. In her twilight years, Loretta has added another chapter to her mythology, her home finding itself on all kinds of “Most Haunted Locations” lists.
In 1964 Loretta released “This Haunted House” about the ‘ghost’ of a lost love. A couple years later she and her husband Doolittle were taking a country drive when a huge house caught her eye. She told Doolittle that was going to be her house. At the time they didn’t even know who owned the property, but they soon bought it. The Hurricane Mills Plantation included the mansion, several other houses, a church; years ago it had been its own little town. A bloody Civil War battle had been fought on the property, the mansion having been used as a hospital.
|The Hurricane Mills Plantation Mansion|
Soon after settling into Hurricane Mills Loretta’s family began experiencing frightening encounters with apparitions. Her twin daughters, Peggy and Patsy, told her about repeatedly waking up in the night to find a woman watching them. Curious, Loretta attempted to contact the restless spirits. She believed one of them was a man she came to call Ol’ Man Anderson.
It was found that the home’s original owner was named James Anderson. Loretta felt that he and his wife lingered in her house. She had a little talk with them, promising to take care of the house and ‘fix it up real nice.’ After that she thought of the occurrences as just Ol’ Man Anderson letting them know he was still around.
One day Loretta arrived home from being on tour. She looked up and saw a woman standing on the second story balcony crying and wringing her hands. When she asked who was in the house, she was told no one. She went upstairs and out onto the balcony. No one was there, but she looked out onto her property, which included a cemetery, and saw the woman walking there, and then she seemed to vanish. Buela Anderson was James’ wife, who had died only days after the death of their infant child. They are buried in the cemetery.
Loretta Lynn has had paranormal experiences her whole life. She has talked about seeing people who had passed away as a child. It wasn’t until years later that she realized that everyone didn’t see them. She awoke one night from a vivid dream in which she had seen her father lying in a coffin. That night she received a telephone call from home telling her that her father had passed away. She returned home for the funeral. She found her father laid out in the same suit and in the same coffin that she had seen in her dream. Years later she returned to Butcher Holler and saw her dad’s ghost sitting on the front porch of the house she had grown up in.
Perhaps she inherited some of her abilities from her mother, who was half Cherokee Indian and foretold her very specific details about the man she would marry years before she met Doolittle Lynn. Loretta said she and her mother shared a strong connection. Even on opposite sides of the country, her mother would know when she was feeling sad or depressed, and a letter from her would arrive to cheer her up. Once while visiting Hurricane Mills, her mother gave her a startling warning. She told her she needed to move away from there, because there was a lot of water on the property and one of Loretta’s children would drown there.
Years later while on tour Loretta experienced a seizure and was hospitalized. At the same time one of her sons couldn’t be accounted for back home. He was soon found dead in a creek on the property. Once his body was found, Loretta came out of the coma-like state she had been in.
Both of her sons encountered apparitions at Hurricane Mills. One of them fell asleep fully dressed one night. He woke to find a Civil War soldier tugging on his boot and his dog barking at it. The other son has woken up to find a soldier staring at him. While fishing in the river, they saw a soldier walk across a bridge then vanish.
The family moved out of the mansion and into another house on the property in the 1980s. The mansion is now a museum. Visitors often report being touched, and tour guides have walked away from the job because of the paranormal occurrences. No matter how often they’re straightened, Loretta’s album covers that hang on the walls are said to be found crooked on a regular basis. One visitor saw someone in period clothing standing behind a tour guide. When they asked who it was the person disappeared and the tour guide was mysteriously pushed down the stairs.
While many were unnerved by the incidents, Loretta came to regard the spirits in her home as part of the family. She has said she feels a connection to them, and a responsibility to take care of the house. Hurricane Mills is on the top of my list of dream places to ghost hunt. Loretta, if you’re reading this, give me a call!