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the Bell Witch

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the Bell Witch
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« on: August 29, 2009, 07:11:02 pm »

the Bell Witch



An illustration of the ninteenth century home of the Bell family of Red River (now Adams), TN. From the novel by M. V. Ingram, "The Authenticated History of the Bell Witch" published in 1894.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2009, 07:11:39 pm by the Bell Witch » Report Spam   Logged

the Bell Witch
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2009, 07:12:10 pm »

The Bell Witch or Bell Witch Haunting is a poltergeist legend from Southern United States folklore, involving the Bell family of Adams, Tennessee. The legend is the basis of the films An American Haunting (2006) and The Bell Witch Haunting (2004), and may have influenced the production of The Blair Witch Project (1999).

John Bell Jr. also wrote a book presenting the story as history.
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2009, 07:15:19 pm »

According to the legend, the first manifestation of the haunting occurred in 1817 when John William Bell, Sr. encountered a strange animal in a cornfield on his large farm in Robertson County, on the Red River, near Adams, Tennessee. The animal, described as having the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit, vanished when Bell shot at it. This incident was quickly followed by a series of strange beating and gnawing noises manifesting outside and eventually inside the Bell residence. Betsy Bell, the family's younger daughter and the only daughter still living at home (Bell's oldest daughter Esther married Alexander Bennett Porter July 24, 1817), claimed to have been assaulted by an invisible force.
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2009, 07:16:16 pm »



An artist's drawing of Betsy Bell, done around 1894 and published in M. V. Ingram's book about the Bell Witch.
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2009, 07:16:52 pm »

Bell Sr., later in life, suffered frequent facial seizures, often rendering him speechless. He died on December 20, 1820. A small vial containing an unidentified liquid he allegedly ingested was found near his body. When some of the contents were force-fed to the family cat, the animal died. The vial was then disposed of in the fireplace.

Pat Fitzhugh's retelling of the Bell Witch legend concludes with a statement to the effect that some people believe that the spirit returned in 1935, the year when the witch claimed it would return ("one hundred years and seven" past 1828), and took up residence on the former Bell property. Other sources say that 1935 brought nothing out of the ordinary to the Bell descendants or the surrounding community.
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« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2009, 07:18:35 pm »



The death of John Bell, of Adams, TN. Occurred December of 1820. Illustration first published in 1894.
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« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2009, 07:18:59 pm »

Andrew Jackson, later to be President of the United States, is alleged to have visited the Bell Family and to have witnessed the phenomena. According to legend and the diary of Dr. James Killian, Jackson arrived prepared to spend the night in mid 1817, but was so overwhelmed with fright by what he witnessed that Jackson fled. Killian, a devoted abnormalist and cryptid hunter was originally at a loss to explain the phenomena.[1]
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« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2009, 07:19:32 pm »

Published accounts

The earliest written account is at page 833 in the Goodspeed History of Tennessee, published in 1887 by Goodspeed Publishing.

The most famous account is recorded in what has come to be called the Red Book, the 1894 An Authenticated History of the Bell Witch of Tennessee by Martin Van Buren Ingram, which cites the earlier Richard William Bell's Diary: Our Family Trouble. Richard Williams Bell lists several witnesses, including General (later President) Andrew Jackson. However, no mention of the Bell Witch was ever made by Jackson in any of his letters, journals or papers.[2]

The Black Book was written much later, and published in 1934 by Dr. Charles Bailey Bell, great-grandson of John Bell.

Thirteen Tennessee Ghosts and Jeffrey by Kathryn Tucker Windham includes the story of the Bell Witch.

The Guidebook for Tennessee, published by the Works Project Administration in 1939, also contains an account that differs from Ingram's on pages 392–393.

A Pennsylvania woman named Jacquito also saw the ghost once, and then died of a fatal heart tumor.
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« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2009, 07:19:51 pm »

    * Other Worlds, a book published under the name of Barbara Michaels (a pen name of Barbara Mertz) in 1999, includes a detailed version of the Bell Witch events.
    * Bell Witch: The Movie starring Betsy Palmer was shot in 2002 in Tennessee and released to video in September 2007.
    * The Bell Witch Haunting is a 2004 film made by Willing Hearts Productions. Filmed near the original location, the director claims to have encountered production difficulties such as fires and expresses the opinion that the Bell Witch might have been responsible.
    * On May 5, 2006 a film based on the Bell Witch legend, titled An American Haunting, was released. An American Haunting is a thriller written and directed by Courtney Solomon. It is closely based on the narrative presented by author Brent Monahan in his novel, The Bell Witch: An American Haunting. This movie's explanation of the phenomena, derived from the novel, was that John Bell sexually assaulted his daughter, and her repressed memories of the event were transferred to the "hauntings of the witch". Despite being based on a work of fiction, the film was marketed as a true story.[2]

    * In October 2003, the Nashville Ballet and Nashville Chamber Orchestra premiered The Bell Witch, a one-act story ballet with an original score by Conni Ellisor, choreography by Ann Marie De Angelo, and 3-D effects by artist Gerald Marks.
    * The Bell Witch - promotional EP released by Mercyful Fate to herald the band's reunion album. It features two tracks off In the Shadows, of which one is based on the American legend of The Bell Witch, plus four live tracks. The EP was released in 1994.
    * The T.E.D. Klein novella The Events at Poroth Farm begins with a strange animal sighting similar to the one experienced by John Bell.
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« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2009, 07:24:01 pm »



No supernatural story in American history is more famous than that of the Bell Witch. In fact, tales of the spirit were so widespread that they caught the attention of a General and future President, Andrew Jackson.

To the right you will see the very famous picture of Betsy Bell, John Bell's daughter. Betsy was tortured by the Witch for several years of her childhood.

What was the Bell Witch? Like most supernatural stories, certain details vary from version to version. But the prevailing account is that the Bell Witch claimed to be the spirit of Kate Batts, a mean old neighbor of John Bell who believed she was cheated by him in a land purchase. On her deathbed, she swore that she would haunt John Bell and his descendents. The story is picked up by the Guidebook for Tennessee, published in 1933 by the Federal Government's Works Project Administration.

We invite you to come take a tour of the old Bell farm. Visit the Historic Bell Witch Cave and canoe down the Red River. For a truly haunting experience, schedule a Special Night Time Candlelight Tour. Come and learn the details of one of the most famous mysteries in American history.

http://www.bellwitchcave.com/
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« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2009, 07:26:49 pm »

The Legend of the Bell Witch

John Bell, a farmer from North Carolina,along with his wife and children settled in northern Robertson County Tennessee in 1804. Their farm consisted of 320 acres of rich farm land that laid along the Red River. They lived a quite peaceful life here for the first 13 years. They were members of the Red River Baptist Church where John became a deacon. The family grew and became somewhat prosperous.

In the late summer of 1817 something would happen that would change their lives forever. Some members of the family began seeing strange looking animals around the property. Then late at night they started hearing knocking sounds on the doors and outer walls of the house. Later sounds were being heard in the house. Sounds of a rat gnawing on the bed post, chains being drug through the house, stones being dropped on the wooden floors, then gulping and choking sounds.

The family was terrified but kept the problem to themselves for over a year. When things became intolerable John confided in a neighbor, James Johnson. He invited Mr and Mrs Johnson to spend the night. After several nights of witnessing these strange things, Mr. Johnson suggested that more people should be told. And a committee was formed and an investigation started.

It was not long before people were coming from miles around to hear and witness this unseen force that was terrorizing the Bell home. Before long this unseen force had gained enough strength that it now had a voice. When asked who and what it was, it gave different identities. It once stated that it was the witch of a neighbor woman named Kate Batts. This is what many people believed, and from then on, this unseen force was called "Kate" the "Bell's Witch".

It seemed that Kate had two main reasons for visiting the Bell home. The main one was to kill John Bell. For what reason no one knows because Kate never gave a reason why. The second reason was to stop John's youngest daughter Betsy from marrying a certain neighbor boy named Joshua Gardner.

Over the next three years "Kate" tormented members of the Bell family almost daily. John and his daughter Betsy was the ones who received the worst of the physical abuse. Betsy had her hair pulled, she was pinched, scratched stuck with pins and even beaten. While John Bell began suffering from spells of swelling of the throat and often had the feeling of a stick being stuck sideways in his throat. Then came the twitching and jerking of the facial muscles. Kate would blast him with curses and hideous threats during these spells. As time went on John Bell became weaker and weaker.

Kate was becoming well known and drew large crowds of people. She seemed to be very intelligent in many things: the bible, people's past and the future. She could be in two places at the same time - miles apart from each other.

She(Kate) finally accomplished her mission for coming to the Bell farm. On December 20,1820 John Bell had died. It was believed that he was poisoned by Kate, and Kate took full credit for his death. And then in March of 1821 young Betsy broke off her engagement with Joshua Gardner.

Kate then bid everyone farewell and promised to return in seven years. She did return in 1828 for a few short weeks. During this visit she came to the home of John Bell Jr and had long talks with him about the past, the present and the future. She made some predictions for the future. Kate also said there was a reason for John Bells death. However she never said what the reason was. After the second visit, she said her next return would be in One Hundred and Seven years. That would have been in 1935. But some believe that she (Kate) never left the area at all due to the strange things that has occurred in and around the town of Adams and the Bell Witch Cave over these many years.

There are many books written about the famous Bell Witch of Tennessee. The legend of the Bell Witch is part of Tennessee history and is still taught in schools today.

http://www.bellwitchcave.com/bell_witch_legend.htm
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« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2009, 07:31:11 pm »





Betsy Bell's grave
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the Bell Witch
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« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2009, 07:35:46 pm »





John Bell, Jr.
Born Nov. 17th 1793
Died April 18th 1862
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the Bell Witch
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« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2009, 07:37:33 pm »





Site where John Bell's
home set
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the Bell Witch
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« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2009, 08:11:13 pm »





Bellwood Cemetery
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