When growing up, we hear all manner of scary stories based on all kinds of fiction and scary tales. From the monster under the bed to the boogieman, we’ve heard them all over the years. One of the most terrifying, though, is that of the Bell Witch; and trust us, it blows away anything that might have freaked you out when you were a kid!
In 1817 down in Adams, Tennessee, a shocking story unfolded. It had to do with a local family, the Bells. The owners of a massive 300+ acre farm, the father of the family, John, was out in the fields when he witnessed something odd in the corn fields. Described by John as “a dog with a rabbits’ head,” he shot it down in the yard and then went back inside, as one does of course.
That night, weird noises were heard – rattling chains, knocking noises and other haunting sounds. As the nights went on, the sounds got louder and eerier; rats gnawing on bed posts, a voice slowly chanting a terrifying hymn over and over. Through fear of being deemed nuts, the family agreed to keep the madness a secret. However, when young Betsy woke up with hand prints and welts all over her face, John told his good friend James Johnstone what was going on in a cry for help.
James stayed for a night, confirming he had heard weird sounds as well. Now, the story became public and everyone wanted to come and stay in the ‘haunted house’ to confirm he story. Andrew Jackson even wanted to visit it during his army days – he couldn’t get out, though, as the wheels of his carriage mysteriously locked up…
According to legend, it was an old neighbour who was known as Kate Batts, who was now haunting the family after John had pulled a fast one during a land deal. She also wanted to ruin Bettsy by stopping her intended marriage to a boy called Josh Gardner
John fell into a coma in late 1820 and died on December 20th. They found a vial of poison in his room which the Bell Witch – Kate – claimed to have produced, forcing him to drink the poison. A few months later, the Witch won as Bettsy broke off her marriage to Josh – meaning that the Bell Witch had won.
In 1828, after many years of freedom from the torment, John Bell Jr. claimed that she’d returned and made all manner of secret revelations to him – including a predication of the soon-to-arrive Civil War. While some claim it was nothing more than a nefarious evil-doer in town looking to ruin a marriage, others believe the occult and nefarious deeds carried out were legitimately done by a ghost.
If you ever find yourself in town, the haunted house and the supposed Bell Witch Cave where she ‘rested’ are minor tourist attractions in the area and well worth your time if you are a believer or interested party in the occult.