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The Bell Witch Folklore

I'm not normally a fan of overly creepy folklore, however, as i was reading a story the other day about the "Bell Witch of Tennessee", i found the history to be not only entertaining but quite intriguing as well, this doesn't exactly follow my normal upbeat niche (and its not something i plan to do often), though, i like to change my routine up from time-to- time as well.. and for the past few days i've been yearning a bit for Autumn. So below i've included a video, the history of the Bell Witch.


The Witch Bell History

(The Bell Witch History Sign)

"The Bell Witch or Bell Witch Haunting is a legend from Southern folklore, centered on the 19th-century Bell family of Adams, Tennessee. John Bell Sr., who made his living as a farmer, resided with his family along the Red River in northwest Robertson County in an area currently within the town of Adams. According to legend, from 1817-1821, his family and the local area came under attack by an invisible entity subsequently described as a witch. The entity was able to speak, affect the physical environment and change forms. Some accounts record the spirit with the capability to be in more than one place at a time, cross distances with rapid speed and the power of prophecy." - Wikipedia

The Bell Witch Source

(Authenticated History of the Bell Witch, Rare Book Reprints, 1961. Also known as "The Red Book.")

The Bell Witch Cave

"The Bell Witch Cave is a karst cave located in Adams, Tennessee near where the Bell Farm once stood. The cave is approximately 490 feet (150 m) long. The cave is privately owned, and tours are given during the summer months and in October.This cave has been associated with the Bell Witch, a period during which the Bell Family was allegedly haunted by the Bell Witch. The cave is located on property once owned by the Bell family. Many believe that when the witch departed, she fled to the sanctuary of this the particular legend in which the cave is featured, young Betsy Bell and some of her friends had gone to explore the cave. While they were there, one of the boys crawled into a hole and became stuck. A voice cried out, "I'll get him out!". The boy felt hands grasping his feet, and he was pulled out of the hole. The Bell Witch (still invisible), then gave the young explorers a lecture on reckless cave exploring" .

(The Bell Witch Cave in Adams TN)

The Bell Witch Folklore Story

(The home of the "Bells"1894)

"In the early 1800s, John Bell moved his family from North Carolina to the Red River bottomland in Robertson County, Tennessee, settling in a community, Red River, which became Adams, Tennessee many years later. Bell purchased some land and a large house for his family. Over the next several years, he acquired more land, increasing his holdings to 328 acres, and cleared a number of fields for planting. He also was made an Elder of Red River Baptist Church. The Bells also had three more children after moving to Tennessee. Elizabeth (Betsy) was born in 1806, Richard in 1811, Joel in 1813.

One day in 1817, John Bell was inspecting his corn field when he encountered a strange-looking animal sitting in the middle of a corn row. Shocked by the appearance of this animal, which had the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit, Bell shot several times. The animal vanished. Bell thought nothing more about the incident, at least not until after dinner. That evening, the Bells began hearing "beating" sounds on the outside walls of their log house.The mysterious sounds continued with increased frequency and force each night. Bell and his sons often hurried outside to catch the culprit but always returned empty-handed. In the weeks that followed, the Bell children began waking up frightened, complaining that rats were gnawing at their bedposts. Not long after that, the children began complaining of having having their bed covers pulled from them and their pillows tossed onto the floor by a seemingly invisible entity.As time went on, the Bells began hearing faint, whispering voices, which too weak to understand but sounded like a feeble old woman singing hymns. The encounters escalated, and the Bells’ youngest daughter, Betsy, began experiencing brutal encounters with the invisible entity. It would pull her hair and slap her relentlessly, often leaving welts and hand prints on her face and body. The disturbances, which John Bell told his family to keep a secret, eventually escalated to such a point that he decided to share his "family trouble" with his closest friend and neighbor, James Johnston.Johnston and his wife spent the night at the Bell home, where they were subjected to the same terrifying disturbances that the Bells had experienced. After having his bedcovers removed and being slapped repeatedly, Johnston sprang out of bed, exclaiming, "In the name of the Lord, who are you and what do you want!" There was no response, but the remainder of the night was relatively peaceful.The entity's voice strengthened over time to the point that it was loud and unmistakable. It sang hymns, quoted scripture, carried on intelligent conversation, and once even quoted, word-for-word, two sermons that were preached at the same time on the same day, thirteen miles apart. Word of this supernatural phenomenon soon spread outside the settlement, even to Nashville, where then-Major General Andrew Jackson took a keen interest.John Bell, Jr., Drewry Bell, and Jesse Bell, John Bell's eldest sons, had fought under General Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans. In 1819, Jackson decided to visit the Bell farm and see what all the hoopla was about. Jackson's entourage consisted of several men, some well-groomed horses, and a wagon. As they approached the Bell property, the wagon stopped suddenly. The horses couldn't pull it.

(Jackson's entourage. From Authenticated History of the Bell Witch, M.V. Ingram, 1894.)

After several minutes of cursing and trying to coax the horses into pulling the wagon, Jackson proclaimed, "By the eternal, boys! That must be the Bell Witch!" Then, a disembodied female voice told Jackson that they could proceed and that she would see them again later that evening. They were then able to proceed across the property, up the lane, and to the Bell home where Jackson and John Bell had a long discussion about the Indians and other topics while Jackson’s entourage waited to see if the entity was going to manifest.One of the men claimed to be a "witch tamer." After several uneventful hours, he pulled out a shiny pistol and proclaimed that its silver bullet would kill any evil spirit that it came into contact with. He went on to say that the reason nothing had happened to them was because whatever had been disturbing the Bells was "scared" of his silver bullet.

Immediately, the man screamed and began jerking his body in different directions, complaining that he was being stuck with pins and beaten severely. A strong, swift kick to the man's posterior region, from an invisible foot, sent him out the front door. Angry, the entity them spoke up and announced that there was yet another "fraud" in Jackson’s party, and that he would be identified and tormented the following evening.

Now terrified, Jackson’s men begged to leave the Bell farm. But Jackson, on the other hand, insisted on staying so that he could ascertain who the other "fraud" was. The men eventually went outside to sleep in their tents, but continued begging Jackson to leave. What happened next is not clear, but Jackson and his entourage were spotted in nearby Springfield early the next morning, presumably enroute to Nashville. Over time, Betsy Bell became interested in Joshua Gardner, a young man who lived not far from her. With the blessing of their parents, they decided to marry. Everyone was happy about their engagement. Well, almost everyone. The entity, for reasons unknown to this day, repeatedly told Betsy not to marry Joshua Gardner.Betsy and Joshua's former schoolteacher, Richard Powell, had been noticeably interested in Betsy for some time and had expressed interest in marrying her when she became older. By some accounts, Powell, who was eleven years Betsy's senior, was a student of the occult, although it has not been proved. He was secretly married to a woman in nearby Nashville, Esther Scott, during the time he spent at Red River expressing his fondness for Betsy. According to old accounts, Powell politely expressed his disappointment with Betsy's engagement and wished her a long and prosperous marriage with Joshua Gardner.Betsy and Joshua could not go to the river, the field, or the cave to play without the entity taunting them persistently. Their patience finally reached critical mass, and on Easter Monday of 1821, Betsy met Joshua at the river and broke off their engagement. The disturbances decreased after Betsy ended the engagement, but the entity continued to express its dislike for John Bell and vowed relentlessly to kill him.Bell had been experiencing episodes of twitching in his face and difficulty swallowing for almost a year, and the malady seemed to grow worse with time. By the fall of 1820, his declining health had confined him to the house, where the entity commenced removing his shoes when he tried to walk and slapping his face when he experienced seizures.

Her loud, shrill voice could be heard all over the farm, cursing and chastising "Old Jack Bell," as she often referred to him.In April of 1821, the entity visited John Bell's widow, Lucy, and told her that it would return for a visit in seven years. The entity returned in 1828, as promised. Most of its visit centered around John Bell, Jr., with whom the entity discussed such things as the origin of life, civilizations, Christianity, and the need for a mass spiritual reawakening. Of particular significance were its nearly accurate predictions of the Civil War and other events.The entity said farewell after three weeks, promising to visit John Bell’s most direct descendant in 107 years. The year would have been 1935, and the closest living direct descendant of John Bell at that time was Nashville physician, Dr. Charles Bailey Bell. Dr. Bell himself wrote a book about the "Bell Witch," published in 1934. No follow-up was published, and Dr. Bell died in 1945.The cause of the Bells’ torment almost 200 years ago, as well as today's horrid, unexplainable manifestations, remains a mystery. Numerous theories abound, but there is no one theory that is universally agreed upon by Bell Witch enthusiasts and researchers -- and there probably never will be. Different people have different standards of proof. Most do agree that there was "something" very wrong at the Red River Settlement in the early 1800s, and that there may very well be "something" wrong there today."

(Grave Stones in Bell Witch, Adams Tn)

Would you explore Adams tennessee?

The Cave, Cabins and Farmland is open for visitors during late summer months through October.

If you're daring enough, Reserve yourself a spot to explore the Bell Witch Caves, In Adams TN

(Cabins in Adams TN)


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Check out for more! Until Next time, Best Wishes - Psychic Jane.

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