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Ghostly Tales

THE CURSE OF THE BELL WITCH

When John Bell and his family moved to the secluded, little town of Adams, Tennessee in 1804, little did they realize that years later, in 1817, their lives would become a nightmare of excruciating terror from a malevolent, ghostly entity out for revenge. The family settled on one thousand acres of prime, fertile land next to the Red River in a nice, one-and-a-half-story log house and owned a dozen black slaves to work the prosperous farm. Trouble began when John Bell sold Kate Batts, a peculiar local woman many believed to be a witch, a slave and charged her excessive interest. Bell was charged and convicted of usury in the Robertson County Circuit Court and consequently excommunicated from the Red River Baptist Church, but Kate was not satisfied. Kate, angry and resentful, confronted Bell and cursed him saying, "Oh yes, old John Bell, you have your broad acres and your comfortable home. The future may look bright to you now. But just wait and see what sad changes are soon coming to you and a certain member of your family." Strange and terrifying developments would soon begin as the Bell Witch, as the entity came to be known, caused horrifying events to occur to the Bell property, the Bell family and the people of Adams, Tennessee.

Everyone forgot all about the curse until strange, unexplainable occurrences began and caused the Bell family and many people to believe in a supernatural being that was called the Bell Witch. Ghostly apparitions attributed to the Witch began appearing about the grounds of the Bell farm causing apprehension among the family members and slaves living there. John saw a "peculiar" appearing animal resembling a dog among the rows of corn, but it "vanished" when he shot at it. On another occasion, John and two of his sons spotted a unusual bird larger than a turkey, but unlike any other bird they had ever seen, sitting in an old oak tree. John shot at the bird and it fell to the ground, but when his sons went to look at it, nothing was there. John's twelve-year-old daughter Betsy saw a girl about her own age dressed in green and sitting in a swing fastened to the same oak tree, but when Betsy ran toward the tree, the girl in the swing vanished. Another incident occurred when Betsy was walking in the orchard and suddenly noticed an old woman walking beside her, but as Betsy turned to speak to her, the woman disappeared. A large, black, snarling dog was sighted many times by Dean, one of the Bell slaves, who said the vicious appearing canine would vanish when he approached it with a stick. Before long disturbances began occurring inside the Bell house. There were rappings on the doors of the house when no one was there and windows were rattled on windless nights. Sounds of choking, gurgling, gulping and lips smacking were heard throughout the house. The sounds of furniture moving across the floors and chains being dragged terrified the household. An unseen dog clawed at the floor, an invisible rat chewed savagely on the bed posts, and there were sounds of fighting dogs chained together. These noises spread from room to room, growing more horrifying with each passing day, and when the family looked for the source, the noises always stopped. No one could offer any "reasonable" explanation for the disturbances, but many believed in the ghostly force that may have caused these events.

It wasn't long before the Witch became bolder in its offensive on the Bell family. The spirit began to get physical and started speaking in a distinct, audible voice. Covers were jerked from the beds at night and if anyone struggled with the force removing the bedding, an invisible hand would slap his or her face. The Witch brutally yanked the hair of the children, attacked Betsy unmercifully sucking the breath out of her body, which caused her to have fainting spells and on one occasion caused Betsy to appear to vomit pins and needles. The Witch's main target was John Bell and one night the entity, whose voice had grown louder and clearer, said "I am determined to haunt and torment old John Bell as long as he lives." At times John's tongue swelled to the point that his entire face was distorted and he could not talk or eat. The Witch beat John relentlessly, and occasionally his face would begin to jerk violently, then his whole body, and his tightly laced shoes would be flung from his feet, while the Witch's voice could be heard triumphantly rejoicing. Worn down by the constant attack of the supernatural intruder, John's strength declined rapidly and soon he took to his bed never to arise. John Bell was found comatose in his bed on the morning of December 19, 1820 and a vial of dark-colored liquid, which turned out to be highly poisonous, was found in his medicine cupboard. The Witch shouted out to the doctor and family who had gathered around old John, "I put it there and gave old John a big dose out of it last night while he was asleep, which fixed him." John died the following morning and this tragic event convinced many skeptics that "spirits" were real.

The people of Adams, Tennessee and the surrounding area were terrified by the things the "force" did and said. Many believed that Kate Batts may have put the "whammy on her neighbors as well." One woman who lived close to Kate was busy churning, but could get no butter to appear. She became frustrated believing that Kate had "bewitched" her milk and decided to "burn Kate out" by plunging a red hot poker into the milk. Later that day the woman had reason to visit Kate's house and found Kate doctoring a seriously burned hand that she had injured when she accidentally picked up the wrong end of a red hot poker. It was a remarkable "coincidence" and other similar occurrences took place which made many people certain about the power of the "other side." The Witch made horrifying predictions of what the future would hold, causing numerous people to firmly believe in the supernatural when many of the Witch's prophecies came true. The Witch accurately predicted the Civil War, the end of slavery in the United States, the rise of the US to a world power, World War I and World War II. The Bell Witch also made another prediction which has not occurred as yet. That was the complete destruction of our civilization, with the Witch hinting at a nuclear holocaust by mentioning rapidly increasing heat followed by a monstrous explosion. Many people believed that because the Witch's predictions were so accurate there had to be something to the supernatural forces on the other side of the "veil."

No one can say with certainty what the entity actually was, but many people did believe in a supernatural force that came to be called the Bell Witch. The Bell Witch phenomena was witnessed by many reliable people, including future president General Andrew Jackson, who said he would rather fight the whole British army than to deal with the Bell Witch. Many believe the Witch is still active today and causing havoc in Robertson County. There is an unearthly ambiance around Adams, Tennessee and curious souls can visit the Bell Witch Cave where the Witch is said to dwell, at the "haunted" site that was once known as John Bell's farm.


Written by: DarkPhantom © by DarkPhantom

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