Story Tellers

Story Tellers


Hauntings at the Hermitage will feature 3 storytelling stations this year with 2-3 storytellers at each location sure to bring you hours of Halloween & ghost story fun! Joining us for 2012 are Debbie Dunn and Marcia Donovan with ghostly storytelling in the Cabin-by-the-Spring, Myers Brown with stories about the Bell Witch and The Traveling Caudells with scary music from the 19th century at the "Smokehouse", and Janie Carder and our own Director of Education James Yasko at the Hermitage storytelling tent with stories about the ghosts that you might encounter as you walk about the Hermitage property during Hauntings!

Read more about our featured storytellers below!


Marcia Donovan

Marcia has been a professional storyteller since 1984 and Putnam County Library Storyteller in Cookeville, TN. since 1988. With voice, guitar and unique percussion instruments Marcia blends music and story for a fresh look at the world. Audiences sing along and help in the telling.  She has been Storytelling Artist in Residence with Putnam Pacesetters developmentally disabled adults since 2000, with whom she presents an annual dramatization of a multicultural folktale.  Marcia has performed at Rugby’s Ghostly Gathering, Crossville’s Boo Bash, Cookeville’s History Museum, and numerous Middle Tennessee classrooms, teacher in-services and community groups. 

Marcia is a member of the Tennessee Storytelling Association (TSA) and the National Storytelling network (NSN). She has been a Tennessee Arts Commission Roster Artist since 1993 and was an Artist in Residence in Putnam County fourth grades 1993-99.

Marcia holds Tennessee K-3 certification, has a Masters in Early Childhood Education and has 15 years pre-school and remedial teaching experience. Marcia has presented storytelling workshops in Middle Tennessee classrooms, at TSA conferences, Governor's Academy for Teachers of Writing, local teacher in-services and community groups.  


Debbie Dunn

Debbie Dunn aka DJ Lyons has been a professional storyteller and author since 1989. That is the year she earned her M.A. at ETSU in Elementary Education with a specialization in Storytelling. Debbie tells age-appropriate stories. She encourages lots of audience participation as she performs. She has been a member of the National Storytelling Network and the Tennessee Storytelling Association since 1990. Using her pen name of DJ Lyons, she is the author of “The Bell Witch Unveiled At Last! The True Story Of A Poltergeist” and “White Reindeer, Kudzu Monster, & Other Tales Of Wonder.” For more information about her storytelling performances and workshops, please visit


Myers Brown

A native of Nashville, Myers Brown holds a B.A. in History from Oglethorpe University and an M.A. in Public History from Middle Tennessee State University. Myers served as the curator of military history at the Atlanta History Center and as the curator of Pond Spring, the General Joe Wheeler Home in Courtland, Alabama. He joined the staff of the Tennessee State Museum as curator of extension services in 2005.

He serves as a Governor of the Company of Military Historians and was elected as a Fellow in May 2008. He also serves on the advisory committee for the American Association of State and Local History’s Military History group. He has wide ranging interests in military history, but is particularly interested in Civil War cavalry, the Mexican War and the War of 1812. He has published articles or book reviews in Military Collector & Historian, Blue and Gray, History News, Tennessee Historical Quarterly, The Georgia Historical Quarterly, Atlanta History, Civil War: A Journal of the Middle Period, and The Historian. He authored Tennessee’s Union Cavalrymen from Arcadia press in 2008. His most recent work is Images of Tennessee’s Confederates published in April 2011.

The Traveling Caudell's

Paul and Kim Caudell specialize in performing 18th and 19th Century period music and will be performing the scariest of tunes from the days of General Andrew Jackson.


James Yasko

James Yasko has been the Director of Education at The Hermitage since March 2009, after spending three years in the Education Department at the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum. He has a degree in history from Abilene Christian University, and a Master's in Museum Studies from the University of Oklahoma. As the Director of Education, James has delivered hundreds of programs for children and adults, and wrote and developed The Hermitage's Hermitage by Lantern Ghost Tours.


Janie Carder

Janie Carder Winfree grew up in Hartsville, TN. She graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a BS degree in Psychology, Sociology, and Secondary Education. She acquired her Elementary teaching certificate from Cumberland University twenty-two years later. Janie worked for The Hermitage: Home of President Andrew Jackson as Director of Education for approximately fifteen years. She enjoyed participating in the storytelling events during her tenure, and will occassionally do storytelling events for special friends.