From Condie to King House, the University of Montevallo houses a plethora of ghost stories. While normally passed down to students and faculty through word of mouth, one mother’s interest was piqued when visiting her daughter on campus.
“King house just looked so out of place in the middle of campus. Anytime we asked questions about it, we got funny reactions. I knew there was a story there, but had no idea there would be so many others,” said Shelly Miller, author of “Whispered Secrets of the South: Montevallo, Alabama.”
A native of Kentucky, Shelly Miller moved to Madison to raise her family. She said she ended up falling in love with Montevallo’s small town Southern charm during her trips here.
“With small towns, you never know what you’re going to get, but with Montevallo, you get it all—lions and crooks and ghosts, oh my,” she told the Madison Record.
Her visits inspired “Whispered Secrets of the South: Montevallo, Alabama,” her version of the locally famous tall tales. She admitted to writing a lot of the stories on the picnic table outside of King House.
Instead of serving as a collection of UM’s stories, Miller’s book is historical fiction. Miller says she chose the genre because of its combination of facts with familiarity.
“If I made the stories fiction, I could tell much more than I could if I had merely given a historical account,” Miller stated. “People might forget facts along the way, but they usually remember stories.” she added.
Her character, Jean Michelle, is brought back in time to the 1950s and experiences all of Montevallo’s haunted secrets first-hand.
Miller had a few experiences of her own. She examined Condie’s cursed door in Carmichael and even heard ghostly toilet flushing in Hanson.
The book is currently available at Barnes & Noble on Main Street as well as Amazon. Miller will also have a booth at Art Stalk on Oct. 26 for a meet and greet.
She will continue her “Whispered Secrets…” series with the college town of Sewanee, TN. Miller says the value of preserving these small town tales “comes from the connections you make with the info. A little info here and a little there-you never know how that can benefit someone today.”
For now, our little town has inspired her: ”I don’t know if any will be as interesting as Montevallo.”