Monday, August 15, 2016

BUCKET LIST UPDATE No. 292: Spend the night on Nancy Mountain

View from atop 'Nancy Mountain' at Franklin, Ala.
One of Monroe County, Alabama’s most enduring ghost stories is the story of “Crazy Nancy,” which is set on Nancy Mountain at Haine’s Island, just off Monroe County Road 17 at Franklin. I’ve been to this area many times during the day and night, but I’ve never actually spent the entire night there, which is why I put an overnighter at Nancy Mountain on my “bucket list” several years ago. Over the weekend, I finally got the chance to spend the night there, and it was an interesting experience.

On Friday afternoon, my young son and I loaded up our tent and traveled to Nancy Mountain, where we set up camp. We did the normal camping thing, relaxing in our camp chairs and nibbling on camp food while listening to the sounds of the darkening woods before finally turning in for the night. We spent the night in our tent and got up in time to watch the sun rise from the overlook parking area near our campsite.

I’ve wanted to spend the night on Nancy Mountain for years, mostly because of the ghost story that involves this remote location in northwest Monroe County. Variations of the story exist, but the most common version says that the ghost of a woman, “Crazy Nancy” or “Aunt Nancy,” can be seen walking up and down the hill to Davis Ferry in hopes of meeting her son and husband who were claimed by the Civil War, never to return. Witnesses say that this female phantom is seen walking with a lantern (or long walking stick) in one hand and with a bucket of water in the other.

According to paranormal investigator George B. Singleton’s book, “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” you’ll know this spirit by her long, gingham dress, her old bonnet and the long, white hair that hangs out the back of her bonnet and all the way down to her waist. In addition to his book, Singleton wrote about Nancy Mountain numerous times in his weekly Monroe Journal column, “Somewhere in Time.” I grew up reading his column as a kid, and there is no doubt that he inspired a number of Nancy Mountain camping trips for myself and others.

If you decide to spend the night on Nancy Mountain, take a few words of advice. In addition to a tent, also be sure to pack a good sleeping bag and some good bug spray. When we got there Friday afternoon, I figured that the mosquitoes were going to carry us off once the sun went down, but they weren’t so bad. However, that can’t be said for the red bugs (or chiggers), which feasted on us while we slept.

Also be sure to pack a good flashlight or two, because when I say that it gets dark at Haines Island in the middle of the night, it gets dark. Around 3:30 a.m., it got so dark that I literally could not see my hand in front of my face. Thankfully, we had a good light, but very little in the way of a backup.

In the end, how many of you have been to Nancy Mountain? How many of you have spent the night there? What did you think about it? Let us know in the comments section below.

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