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A Visit With a Witch; if You Dare

Updated on August 4, 2018
Gerry Glenn Jones profile image

Gerry Glenn Jones is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. This article is about a real event in his life as a police officer in Mississippi.

 Signs at the entrance to the Bell Witch cave promote ghost tourism in Adams, Tennessee.
Signs at the entrance to the Bell Witch cave promote ghost tourism in Adams, Tennessee. | Source

An Introduction to the Supernatural

A hauntingly horrific phenomenon occurred in Tennessee in the early part of the 19th century. This phenomenon has not been disproven, even to this day. The location was in Robertson County, Tenn., where a legendary witch laid claim to John Bell and his family. The movie, "An American Haunting," which starred Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland, is based on this well known haunting. Our host, who is waiting for us there, is the "Bell Witch."

An artist's drawing of Betsy Bell, done around 1894 and published in M. V. Inram's book about the Bell Witch.
An artist's drawing of Betsy Bell, done around 1894 and published in M. V. Inram's book about the Bell Witch. | Source

Life Appears Normal in Robertson County

Adams, Tenn. is a small town in Robertson County, which is located north of Nashville, near the Kentucky State line. The town was originally named Red River and later changed to Adams. Before it was even incorporated as Red River, John Bell and his family moved there in 1804, where he acquired 300 acres of farmland along the river.

Bell began farming the land, and for several years everything went along as planned, and he and his family became members of The Red River Baptist Church, where John served as a deacon.

A Cabin which was once located on the farm of John Bell, now adjacent to the Bell School building, in Adams, Tennessee, United States.
A Cabin which was once located on the farm of John Bell, now adjacent to the Bell School building, in Adams, Tennessee, United States. | Source

There's Something Strange in the Neighborhood

Things changed for the worst in the summer of 1817, when John Bell was out in one of his field areas. He was carrying his rifle. As he was looking his crops over, he saw a strange looking animal that appeared to have the head of a rabbit and the body of a dog. According to legend, he shot the animal, and it just vanished. This episode was evidently the beginning of the Bell Witch Haunting.

After dinner on this particular date, it started! The Bell Family heard beating sounds as if someone was striking the outside of their house with something, but upon going outside, John could not determine what was causing the sounds. Different family members supposedly observed more odd-looking animals on the farm in the next few weeks, and the beating sounds continued.

Bell Witch Cave, 430 Keysburg Rd.,Adams, Tenn.
Bell Witch Cave, 430 Keysburg Rd.,Adams, Tenn. | Source

Betsy Bell is Tormented by the Witch

As time passed, the noises continued, and to their terror, were accompanied by assaults on the Bell Family and others who spent the night with them. According to accounts, covers would be pulled off people while they slept, and they would be slapped and pinched by unseen hands. One person seemed to be more of a target for these assaults than others. Betsy Bell, one of the daughters, was attacked to the point that she had welts on her body from what appeared to be a hand, and when she was engaged to be married, the entity caused so much chaos that she broke off the engagement. It has been reported that after this happened, her attacks were not as frequent.

Collection of relocated old buildings across the street from the Bell School building in Adams, Tennessee, United States. The Bell cabin is located on the left side of the photo.
Collection of relocated old buildings across the street from the Bell School building in Adams, Tennessee, United States. The Bell cabin is located on the left side of the photo. | Source

John Bell Becomes the Next Victim

For some unknown reason, according to legend, the spirit turned its attention to John Bell, who suffered assaults that led to seizures, and John Bell finally died in 1820. After his death, the family found a strange looking bottle, containing a liquid. Believing that Bell may have been poisoned by the witch, they fed the cat some of it, and the cat died. It has been reported that the witch even spoke to the family, telling them that she had poisoned John Bell.

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.
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. | Source

Is the Bell Witch Still Haunting Robertson County, Tennessee

After Bell's death, the hauntings became fewer and fewer, but some people still report strange sounds and strange beings on and around the old Bell farm, and also in a cave on the property, aptly named the Bell Cave. According to other reports, General Andrew Jackson, who was to later become President of the United States, visited the farm with an entourage but left early the next morning because one of his men had been beaten by the entity during the night.

If you have the nerve and steadfastness to take on the Bell Witch, visit Adams and Robertson County, and see if you can find her yourself. If not, she'll possibly find you! Also, watch the video in this article that was made by the University of Tennessee.

Video about the Bell Witch

References

  • The Bell Witch by Stephen Wagner www.thoughtco.com/the-bell-witch-2596741
  • Bell Witch Cave - Official Site - bellwitchcave.com/
  • Bell Witch - The Official Site - www.bellwitch.org/





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