Stormy Castle is located in Pleasant View, TN and is arguably the oldest home still standing in the area. The following story is from the CCHGA Archives. Be sure to check out the History of the Town of Pleasant View for more information about our town.
(This home is located on Private Property – Please do not visit without permission!)
The Legend of Stormy Castle
My cousin, Paul Hodges, recently sent me a memorandum prepared by grandfather, Dr. W. S. Fiztgerald, concerning “Stormy Castle”. I thought you might want this memorandum for your records concerning this landmark in your community. – Robert M. Hill, Jr. (2003)
Stormy Castle, built in 1798, is still there, still in excellent condition, and still occupied. I think it must look very much as it did when Aunt Genella and her family lived there except that a new wing has been added at the back. Ross and Rachel and I took our families out to see the old house twice. The first time, we had to ask our way several times, and learned that it was still haunted and still known as Stormy Castle. Because of getting lost we arrived about dusk and, after asking permission of the caretakers in the new wing, were allowed to look over the haunted wing. Since it was nearly dark we wandered around with cigarette lighters held high, but the ghosts did not manifest themselves. The house is on a rise overlooking the countryside, with a lovely little tree-shaded stream running past the barn at the foot of the hill. We talked about how nice it would be if we could buy the place for family vacations, but of course none of us had money for such a pipe dream. I wonder if I would have been afraid to sleep there. – W. S. Fitzgerald
From W. S. Fitzgerald:
I spent several summers at “Stormy Castle” the home of my sister Genella (Mrs. John H. Nye) and her husband. The farm was about twenty-five miles from Nashville, with which it was connected by a good “turn-pike”.* Stormy Castle was a big, square bring house, with enormous rooms, and walls two feet thick. It had been in the Nye family several generations, and had the reputation throughout the countryside of being haunted.
When I visited there I slept alone in a secnd-floor room about twenty-five feet square, in which, at various times, forty- seven people were said to have died. I must not have been a very superstitious boy, for I seem to have slept soundly o’nights-though I did on occasions imagine that “spirits” were walking about in the big garret that covered the whole house, and entrance to which was provided by an enclosed staircase which ascended from the corner of my room. The door at the bottom was fastened by a latch, and I was not reassured about the ghosts when I heard something come softly down these stairs in the middle of the night, and fumble at that latch.
My sister Genella and her husband, who slept downstairs on the other side of the house, were awakened several times by sharp raps on the head of their big, old-fashioned bed, just behind their heads. When this happened Genella would ask her husband if there were room for a man possibly to be between the bed and the wall, and when he said no, she said that was the only thing she was afraid of, and turned over and went back to sleep.
There was an enormous antique secretary in a lower hall, so high that one could not ordinarily see what was on its top – if anything. But one day when I was alone and looking for something to do I thought I saw something white barely peeping over the edge. I yielded to my curiosity, got a step-ladder, and was afflicted with cold chills to discover that there were a human skull and several bones up there. Nobody knew how they got there.
I really think that the explanation of all the supernatural manifestations was the host of chimney swallows that lived in the big chimneys, with the exception of the skull and crossbones – and that really couldn’t be classified as a ghost.
From Lillian F. Hodges:
One summer Uncle Oscar, Daddy’s older brother, brought an English friend with him to Stormy Castle for a weekend visit. The two young men arrived late in the afternoon and Aunt Genella asked the Englishman if he would like to freshen up before dinner. (She probably said supper. She told me once that she always served breakfast, lunch and supper, and that way she avoided dinner altogether. But this was not true. She served a bountiful table, as the Fitzeralds were famous for their appetites.) The guest said yes he would like to freshen up, and he was shown the stairs leading to the guest room. He started up and the rest of the group went outside to enjoy the country coolness. Only a moment or so later the guest almost tumbled down the stairs, and he appeared before them, red-faced and embarrassed.
“I know you will think me insane,” he said, and I can’t explain it. But I can’t go into that room. There is something evil that won’t let me enter.” And he never did. Enter, that is. My fallible memory says he and Uncle Oscar went back to town, but since they had ridden out on bicycles, and the distance was twenty-five miles, and it was dinnertime, I feel sure that the visitor was simply given another room.
*I might add that this road, unusually good for those times, had been built and was kept up by the Sycamore Powder Mills, which had a plant on the Sycamore Creek, three miles from Stormy Castle; and the powder manufactured was hauled by truck to Nashville for shipment. The president of the company was E. C. Lewis, of Nashville, a friend fo my father and my sister, Genella. His nephew, Lytle Brown, about my age, often visited his uncle at their summer house at Sycamore, and he and I had good times exploring the country, exchanging visits with each other, and swimming in Sycamore Creek. (He later went to West Point, and retired a few years ago, as a Brigadier General, I think.) WSF