An upcoming haunted history book series will include a Gallatin woman’s book detailing some of the county’s history through its ghost stories.
Donna Hartley Lucas’ main interest is history. So, she and her husband, a Civil War historian, were drawn to Gallatin, “fascinated and captivated by the history of the area.”
Settling into the city, the two ran across many supernatural, paranormal stories connected to local history. The couple started the Gallatin Ghost Walk, an annual tradition of 15 years, to “tell the history of Sumner County through its ghost stories,” dubbing it an “entertaining and informative way” to learn about the county’s history.
Though she hadn’t considered writing a book before, her experience telling history through the paranormal sightings landed her a contract with The History Press and Arcadia Publishing to chronicle the haunted tales of Sumner County’s history.
Hartley Lucas “immediately” agreed to submit a proposal to the publishers to “expand awareness of our area’s diverse and colorful history beyond the limits of our own geographical parameters,” she explained in a news release.
The series will include stories from other areas of the country, including Savannah, Georgia, and Long Island, New York. Hartley Lucas’ book, “Haunted Sumner County,” is slated for mid-2020, she said.
‘Rich and full’ of hauntings and history
Hartley Lucas has started writing, essentially an expansion of the Gallatin Ghost Walk’s stories and others; however, “there’s things I don’t know about out there.” So, she’s asking anyone who has any ghost stories or information about a historic site or home in the county to let her know. Particularly, she’s looking for more paranormal experiences from northern Sumner.
“There’s just so much, we can’t tell it all on the Ghost Walk,” Hartley Lucas said, “but maybe we can in this book.
“(Sumner County is) pretty rich and full of hauntings, and also history,” she said. “This area just has so much history.”
Hartley Lucas also hopes Gallatin and Sumner County will benefit from tourism spurred by “Haunted Sumner County” readers interested in visiting historic sites and learning more about the local supernatural experiences.
“History and heritage tourism is very popular right now and I hope that this book will draw attention to all that we have to offer in terms of showcasing Sumner County’s glorious part in our nation’s story,” she said in the release. “All these years we have told our history in an entertaining way through the many ghost stories and tales of the supernatural and unexplained.
“Sumner County is one of the most haunted and mysterious places in the South and I look forward to being able to share that with a wider audience.”
Goal to ’emphasize our unique history’
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More than 3,500 have taken the Gallatin Ghost Walk tour — complete with costuming appropriate to the time period — in the last 15 years. “Our main goal is to be authentic and tell the history,” Hartley Lucas said, referencing some experiences of people seeing supernatural beings.
She also highlighted Cragfont, “one of the most astonishing” historic sites in the county, settled in Castalian Springs.
Local paranormal team the Tennessee Wraith Chasers investigated the mansion — completed in 1802 by Gen. James Winchester — for the first time in late September, live on Travel Channel. They have also held non-televised investigations in the county, including The Palace Theater in Downtown Gallatin and Historic Rose Mont.
“Our focus in the Ghost Walk has always been to emphasize our unique history here,” Hartley Lucas said. “I don’t know of an area that has more paranormal activity per square mile than Sumner County… It’s rich and its unique and its diverse.”
Have a ghost story to share? Reach Hartley Lucas at 615-512-5299 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read or Share this story: https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/sumner/2019/03/12/historian-gallatin-ghost-walk-organizer-publish-haunted-sumner-county/3131570002/