Bell Witch – A True Ghost Story
by: DeWayne Strickland
The Bell Witch is based on true events that will send a cold chill down your spine and make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. When you try to sleep tonight, just remember that I warned you about the Bell Witch.
Just like in the movie “The Ring”, once you look into the darkness, it looks back at you. Your life will never be the same once you know about the Bell Witch and your thirst to know more is never quenched. Are you ready for a “True Ghost Story”?
According to the Legend, John Bell was the only person recognized by any state to have been killed by a spirit. The Legend dates back to the time of General Andrew Jackson, in the early 1800s. The story has a special interest for me, because I live in Tennessee. Nice to know the Bell Witch is not too far away!
How would you like to visit the Bell Witch location in Tennessee? Bring your camera, because you never know what you will see. You can even visit the hidden Bell Witch cave, which lies on the property of the ill-fated Bell family.
Imagine being home alone at night and the lights have been dimmed. Your relaxing and all of a sudden you hear a rapping noise. Next, you hear knocks and scratching sounds, and no one is there. Have you ever heard unusual noises while you where sleeping? Maybe some breathing in the corner of your room and no one was there?
You look into the darkness and see what you think is a human figure, or is it? It gets very cold and you feel this dark forceful presence upon you. You know your not alone; You begin to think your mind is playing tricks on you. Is it all in your head?
You see a shadow out of the corner of your eye, and you know not to be so curious. It realizes you are afraid and it can smell your fear. You want to run, but there is no where to run. You want to scream, but it is too late.
The Bell family knew what terror was and even Mr. Bell tried to keep it a secret. It was to be exposed by the Bell Witch! She had to make her voice heard and physically attacked a family to make her point!
According to the Bell Witch Legend, The spirit of Kate Batts terrorized the Bell family. Sticking the daughter with pins and pulling her hair. There were physical manifestations and bed sheets flying off the beds. Again, whats makes this chilling, is that it is not some fictional story or one of Stephen Kings best sellers, it is a “True Ghost Story”.
The Bell Witch legend is a part of history and if you are as curious as I am, you will seek more answers to this “True Ghost Story”. Perhaps a visit to Adams, Tennessee, why not see if you can touch the presence of the Bell Witch‘s eerie past, and if fate allows maybe more.
The activity reported in the home was similar to other poltergeist legends. It began with noises in the walls and grew to include unusual sounds, people being slapped and pinched, objects being thrown and animals spooking without visible cause. In his book, Ingram reported the claims of John Bell that the poltergeist’s name was Kate and that “she” frequently cursed the Bell family out loud. The activity centered around the Bells’ youngest daughter, Betsy, and worsened after she became engaged to one Joshua Gardner. Richard Powell, a local schoolteacher, was suspected of causing the strange happenings in the Bell home. It is theorized that Powell and several friends created the events to scare Gardner away so that he and Betsy could marry.
The earliest written account of the Bell Witch haunting is in Goodspeed’s History of Tennessee.
A reported account is recorded in the 1894 book An Authenticated History of the Bell Witch of Tennessee by Martin Van Buren Ingram. This book is considered by most historians as a work of fiction.
The Bell witch is the subject of 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.
The Guidebook for Tennessee (pgs: 392–393), published by the Works Project Administration in 1939, contains an account, but which differs from Ingram’s.
In the middle 1960s, a supposedly faithful reproduction of the book in paperback (with a reproduction of the white cover with gold printing) was sold by subscription to direct descendants of John Bell, Sr.
Thirteen Tennessee Ghosts and Jeffrey, by storyteller, Kathryn Tucker Windham, includes the story of the Bell Witch.