Author and historian Donna Lyn Hartley explores the spooky side of Sumner County in her new book, Historic Haunts of Sumner County, telling tales of hauntings in the cities historic homes, modern subdivisions and more.
Readers can learn all about supernatural tales of flying cryptids, unsettled spirits of the bloody conflict between settlers and Native Americans and the oppressive days of Civil War occupation by a brutal Union army commanding officer.
“I wanted to tell the history of Sumner County in an interesting and entertaining way,” Hartley said.
“This is about history more than it is about ghosts, but the ghosts just naturally seem to come along for the ride. Our paranormal occurrences here seem to be woven into the fabric of Sumner County, and I think more and more stories will surface.”
“The more I tell, the more I seem to learn.”
Historic Haunts of Sumner County joins hundreds of other books in Arcadia Publishing’s series Haunted America, which explores local lore and an area’s most notorious haunts.
One of the places explored in the book includes the Cragfont State Historic Site in Castalian Springs. It’s an 18th century frontier home.
“Cragfont is notorious nationwide,” Hartley said. “People call Cragfont all the time and want to come do investigations. Its reputation precedes itself.”
Though ghosts and hauntings play a key role in the book, the history behind those stories and places are highlighted as well.
“There’s nothing in the book, ghost wise, that does not also have a strong historical point of reference,” she said.
“Everything I talk about on the (Gallatin Ghost Walk) tour and everything I talk about in the book ties into history, or it has a historical basis for the haunting.”
Another chapter of the book examines the state’s caves.
With close to 10,000 caves, Tennessee has the most caves of any state in the U.S., according to whatstates.org.
“And a lot of them are around here,” Hartley said, noting some may have held stolen goods and plunder from American outlaws like Jesse James.
Prior to the release of her new book, Hartley, a fifth-generation Texan, transplanted to Tennessee in the early 1990s and worked as a newspaper reporter.
She founded the Gallatin Ghost Walk 17 years ago.
The Ghost Walk of Gallatin will return this October, though ghost enthusiasts can attend Hartley’s Full Moon Friday tours this summer.
The next Full Moon Friday tour falls on Friday, May 13.
Katie Nixon can be reached at email@example.com or (615) 517-1285.
Want a copy of Historic Haunts?
It can be found in major bookstores and other national chains like Barnes and Noble, Target and Walmart.
A book signing will be held at The Artisan Hatchery during Gallatin’s annual Square Fest on April 30.
For more information, visit https://sumnercountyhistoryandhaunts.com.