Nestled in the rolling hills of Hurricane Mills, Loretta Lynn’s Ranch is far more than the iconic homestead of a country music legend. This popular Tennessee tourist destination welcomed 350,000 visitors last year and draws the attention of not only music enthusiasts but also those intrigued by the paranormal.
Join us as we explore the hidden, haunting histories of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, where the echoes of both music and ghostly whispers fill the air.
“We Bought the Whole Town”
In 1960, a cross country trek led Loretta Lynn and her husband “Doolittle” from Washington state all the way to Nashville, Tennessee, where the Coal Miner’s Daughter went from rags to riches after she caught a break at Ernest Tubbs Record Shop.
Once Loretta was making enough money to buy a place of her own, she decided big city living was not what she wanted, so she and her husband started looking for a place outside Nashville’s city limits.
The story goes that the two were driving to check out a piece of property, got lost, and country roads led them to a beautiful white house situated above a waterfall and old gristmill.
“It was abandoned, so they stayed on the porch that night, and Loretta said she wanted to buy it,” said Anthony Brutto, general manager of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and grandson of the country music legend.
The one catch to buying the white house on the hill was that it came with the whole town. That’s when the Lynn family became the proud owners of Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
“One wrong road led to another wrong road, which led to the right place, and here we are, 60 years later,” said Brutto.
The Hauntings of Loretta Lynn’s Ranch
Shortly after the Lynn family moved into their new home, they started experiencing unexplainable sights and sounds.
One day, Loretta came home from tour, and as they were pulling the bus into the driveway, she claimed she saw a woman in white on the balcony crying. The star came inside and asked her live-in-nanny who the woman was so that she could check on her, but the nanny reported no one else was home.
“Whether you’re a believer or not, when the words come from Loretta Lynn, it’s hard not to believe them,” said Brutto.
After multiple strange sightings, the family did some research and discovered that the ranch was once the site of a Civil War battle. It’s been said that there are nearly 20 Confederate soldiers buried on the grounds.
“Whether you’re a believer or not, when the words come from Loretta Lynn, it’s hard not to believe them.”
The “brown room” upstairs is considered to be one of the most chilling spots in the house. One day, Loretta’s son Jack awoke from a nap to someone tugging at his boots that he forgot to take off. He looked at the foot of the bed and saw Confederate soldiers trying to remove his boots.
“A common thing in the Civil War was they would strip the dead of their uniforms, weapons or boots because there was such a shortage of these materials,” said Brutto. “He got out of bed and ran.”
Despite the common ghostly appearances, Loretta never felt like her family was in danger.
“It was more of just, when weird stuff happens in the house, it’s the spirits playing with us,” explained Brutto.
In fact, Jack claimed he never knew how to pray until he met a funny dressed man down by the creek below the house.
“After talking to Loretta about it, Jack came to the conclusion that it was a Civil War solider that taught him how to pray, so that’s kind of the opposite of a malevolent soldier or spirit,” said Brutto.
Members of the Lynn family aren’t the only ones who have experienced ghost sightings in the house. The ranch has been open for tours since 1988, and during one particular tour, the guide was standing on the staircase in the foyer explaining to the guests that Loretta claims the spirits don’t like it when you mess with the picture frames. The guide, however, was not a believer in ghosts, so she adjusted a crooked frame.
“She started getting these looks on the people’s faces, and there was a shadowy kind of thing that appeared behind her,” described Brutto. “Then she said she was pushed off the second step onto the floor. Of course, all the tourists ran out of the house and the tour guide followed them.”
Brutto’s dad was the general manager at the time and not a believer, so he decided to take the same tour group back and prove that there were no spirits in the house. He moved the frames around and said, “See, nothing happened.” Right then a big black snake slithered out from underneath the steps. All the tourists ran out the front door again.
“He was like, ‘Well, I give up,’” said Brutto. “It’s just kind of one of those things, unexplainable, and could be coincidental, but you know, makes for a really great story.”
Loretta Lynn, AKA Meemaw
October 2023 marks one year since the world lost Loretta Lynn and Brutto lost his “meemaw.”
“She accomplished many, many things throughout her life, but there were two sides of Loretta, and they were both amazing,” said Brutto. “There was Loretta Lynn, my meemaw, and there was Loretta Lynn, the superstar, and they were both the same, but also uniquely different.”
Brutto explained that it wasn’t until he was older that he truly realized the gravity behind his meemaw’s name. He gushed about how in love Loretta was with her fans. Wholeheartedly. Devoutly. She wanted to make sure everybody got the best version of her they possibly could.
“Something I love leaving with people is she was just a person, just like you, just like your mom,” said Brutto. “She loved having people come here. She loved spreading love and the word of God and making sure everybody was accepted and felt safe.”
Despite the ranch losing its matriarch, Brutto hopes to keep the business up and running for the next 50 years and beyond.
“Ultimately, at the end of the day this is my home, and this is where my family’s business is,” said Brutto. “I do this for my grandmother and for our family. I love that this place is ours, and I never want to turn off Highway 13 on to Hurricane Mills Road and it not be Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.”
“I never want to turn off Highway 13 on to Hurricane Mills Road and it not be Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.”
Whether you’re interested in history, camping, horseback riding, motorcycles, dirt bikes or musical events, Brutto encourages everyone to head west of Nashville and experience all the ranch has to offer.
“We love to have everybody from every race, religion, creed, doesn’t matter,” said Brutto. “You’re welcome here because when you come here, you’re a part of the Lynn family.”
To learn more about Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, visit lorettalynnranch.net.