Legends abound around a 19th century family and their farm in northwest Robertson County, Tennessee. Now located near the town of Adams. According to the legend the Bell family who resided on the property, and the town itself were victimized by an unseen entity from 1817 to 1821. Here’s the tale of the Bell Witch.
The haunting began in 1817. John Bell witnessed an apparition of a strange creature that resembled a dog. He fired at the animal but it disappeared. John’s son Drew, approached an unknown bird perched on a fence that flew off and was of extraordinary size. John’s daughter, Betsy, observed a girl in a green dress swinging from the limbs of an oak tree. Others have reported that large dogs followed them while on the property.
Activity inside the home progressed from knocking heard on the door and walls, the sound of gnawing on the beds, invisible dogs fighting, chains being pulled along the floor. John also began to experience paralysis of the mouth. Soon the activity grew to physical interactions such as, slapping, pinching, and being stuck with pins.
The family didn’t know what to do. They reached out to a family friend, James Johnston, for assistance. He stayed at the home, and the first night, was awoken by the same phenomena that was being reported.
The apparition began to speak when asked “Who are you and what do you want?” it feebly replied, “I am a spirit; I was once very happy but have been disturbed.” Then the spirit offered diverse explanations of why it appeared. It’s origin was tied to the disturbance of a Native American burial mound located on the property.
With the emergence of full conversations the spirit enjoyed religious arguments, and sharing gossip about other households and would leave briefly to visit other homes after an inquiry. The Bell family all had interactions with the entity, but the spirit seemed to like Lucy Bell, the matriarch, the most. John Bell Sr, was not liked by the spirit and ultimately was poisoned by the entity.
The spirit was deemed a witch at some point after it claimed it was ‘Old Kate Batt’s witch.”
Was there really a haunting, or was it simply the mischief of a child that caused the events? Some suspect that the events were elaborated on by Betsy as an example of “the poltergeist faking syndrome”.
Today you can visit the Bell Witch Cave in Adams, Tennessee. This is located near where the original Bell Farm stood. Tours are offered during summer months and in October. The cave is privately owned, so be respectful of the property and hours available.
If you have visited the Bell Witch Cave and surrounding areas, did you encounter anything exciting? Please share!
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