The Bell Witch Haunting is one of the most famous cases of paranormal activity in history. The legend of the Bell Witch has been written about in books, inspired horror films such as “An American Haunting”, and been a fascination with historians. The story is very old and is widely known in the state of Tennessee. The events that occurred on the Bell farm have been whispered about by locals and beyond for nearly two hundred years.
The tale begins in the year of 1817, when John Bell had one of the earliest recorded paranormal experiences in America. John Bell had moved his family from North Carolina to Adams, TN. Bell was working in his corn fields one day when he stumbled across a creature like none he had ever seen. Bell described the large creature as having the body of a dog, but the head of a rabbit. Startled by what he had seen, Bell fired his gun at the creature and it slipped away into the field, disappearing. Bell was disturbed by the incident. He made his way back home, thinking that he was rid of whatever beast he had seen in his field. He was wrong. What would eventually be known as The Legend of The Bell Witch had only just begun.
That evening The Bell family was startled by beating sounds on the outside of their house. The beating and knocking sounds continued each night and began to torment the Bell family. Soon there were gnawing sounds along with the banging. And all too soon..the noises made their way inside of the Bell home.
With all the classic signs of a poltergeist, the entity began to wreak havok on the Bell family home. The children began to speak of rats gnawing at their bed posts, and one of the bell daughters was assaulted by the unseen force. Objects would be thrown and moved. The bangs and gnawing only grew worse. It is even said that members of the Bell family were “slapped” by unseen forces. The Haunting seemed to gain strength as time passed by. It wasn’t long before whatever was causing the paranormal activity began to speak to the family.
The voices began as whispers, that would often torment and harass the Bell children. The voice grew louder and began speaking regularly to the family, even quoting scripture and singing Biblical hymns. Some say the entity soon identified itself as Kate Batts, a neighbor that had been upset by John bell and had sworn to haunt him before she had died. John Bell had apparently argued with her over land.
News of the frightening activity at the Bell home spread fast and it is legend that Andrew Jackson visited the property to see for himself, what the fuss was all about. The legend states that Jackson may have gotten more than he bargained for. His coach was reported to have been stopped by the Bell Witch, when approaching the farm. A disembodied voice warned Jackson that it would see him later that evening and the coach was allowed to pass. It is said that Jackson’s men were begging him to leave the Bell farm before sunrise of the next morning. One of his men was even attacked according to some reports, and the entity made itself very available during his visit.
The Bell Witch Haunting continued for many years until the day of John Bell’s death, which some say the entity claimed to have caused. John had slipped into a coma one December night in 1820, never to awake. There was a very large funeral held for Bell and the voice of the entity could be heard laughing in the graveyard as friends and family departed the cemetery.
The entity is blamed for reports of haunted activity near the Bell property even today, and was said to have visited John Bell Jr. and John Sr.’s widow in 1821. The entity was even said to have made predictions of the future for John Jr, including the coming Civil War. For the most part however, the Bell Witch seemed to vanish upon the death of John Bell.
Bell Witch Cave is a popular tourist attraction that sits on the land formerly owned by John Bell, where the haunting occurred. The cave itself, was at the center of some stories and is believed to be the place where the entity went upon the death of Bell. Many say that the force responsible for the famous haunting still inhabits the cave, even today.
Part of the reason for the undying legend of the Bell Witch is how widely reported the case was, along with countless witnesses to the paranormal activity. John Bell was a respected member of the local church, where he served as elder and was known to be a devout christian. His judgement was not questioned by locals and even it it was, the strange happenings spoke for themselves. The case of The Bell Witch is a true haunting that has fascinated the minds of many for nearly two centuries.
Was The Bell Witch Real? If so, was it a ghost? A demon? Or a form of what the name implies..A Witch?
There is much more to learn about the case of the Bell Witch. Being one of the most famous paranormal events in history, the case has a few great sites (see below) that are totally dedicated to The Bell Witch Haunting. You can learn more by visiting them.