December 13, 2012

Legend Of The Bell Witch

As far as hauntings go, the legend of the Bell Witch is claimed to be the most recognized. It has incited such movies as The Blair Witch Project, Bell Witch Haunting, An American Haunting, and Bell Witch: The Movie. The legend revolves around the “Bell” family. The Bell Witch is believed to be “Kate Batts,” a neighbor who believed she was cheated in a land deal and vowed she would haunt John Bell and his decedents.

The Legend:

John Bell and his wife Lucy had six children. Jesse, born 1790; John Jr., born 1793; Drewry, born 1796; Betsy, born 1806; Richard, born 1811; and Joel, born 1813. They lived on a 320 acre farm in Adams, Tennessee. The hauntings began in1817 and it is said there are still accounts today.

Late summer of 1817 John Sr. was in his corn field and noticed a strange animal sitting amongst the corn. He fired at the creature, but it vanished. That evening after they had finished their dinner, strange banging on the side of their cabin startled them. Each night, but with more intensity, the sounds resumed. Eventually, the frightening noises were also heard inside. Chains being dragged, stones dropping on the floor, scratching and gnawing in the bedrooms. Soon after, sounds of choking and gasping accompanied them. The children had their blankets and pillows pulled from their beds and thrown to the floor.

As the months went by, faint voices and singing was heard. Betsy began to experience ruthless physical attacks. Her face and body would be left bruised and scarred. It was agreed by the family to keep the incidents quiet, but they became too numerous and severe. So John’s closest friend “James Johnston” was informed of the hauntings. He and his wife offered to spend the night. They experienced the same encounters as the Bell’s.

Word of this spread and “Major General Andrew Jackson” took an interest in their situation. John’s three oldest sons served under Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans. In 1819 General Jackson and several other men visited the Bell’s. As his wagon approached it suddenly stopped and the horses were unable to move it. Jackson shouted, “That must be the Bell Witch!” Then a female voice told him they could proceed and she would see them later.

That evening John and General Jackson were having a discussion about the war. As the night progressed, no experiences occurred. One of the men that accompanied Jackson was a self proclaimed “witch tamer.” The man stood holding a pistol, stating that it contained a silver bullet and it would kill the spirit. He continued that the spirit was scared of the silver bullet. The man began to scream, his body jerked, appearing to be kicked, he flew out the front door. All the men wanted to leave immediately, but Jackson insisted they stay.

Betsy fell for a young man, “Joshua Gardiner.” As time went on they decided to marry. The family was excited from the news, but the entity was unhappy about this and told Betsy not to marry him. Anytime they were together, they were tormented. Finally Betsy ended the engagement. After the relationship ended between Betsy and Joshua, the hauntings decreased. But, the entity still vowed to kill John.

John’s health began to fail. His face would twitch uncontrollably and he had trouble swallowing. This continued for almost a year. In the fall of 1820 he was confined to his house. On December 19th of that year he slipped into a coma and died the next day. During the funeral the entity laughed and sang, and did not stop until all who attended had left.

It was almost 200 years ago this haunting occurred. To this day there are voices heard, sounds of children playing, and faint laughter. Photos of orbs, misty figures, and other strange objects have been taken in and around the area of the Bells home. Take a trip to Adams, Tennessee and see if you have an encounter with “Kate” ‘The Bell witch.”

This was just a brief summery of the Bell Witch hauntings.


Image Credit: Slava Gerj / Shutterstock

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