Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Bell Witch - Adams, Tennessee

One of the best known ghost stories in American history surrounds an old farm place near the Kentucky line northwest of Nashville, Tennessee.

The story of the Bell Witch has been loosely popularized in modern movies and literature (the movies "An American Haunting" and "The Blair Witch Project," for example). But the real story is much more interesting.

According to tradition in the Bell family, the haunting began in 1817 when strange incidents began to take place on the farm of John Bell. His family lived near the modern community of Adams, Tennessee, having settled there in 1804. As the story goes, the strange events started when Mr. Bell spotted a strange animal on the farm. It had the body of a dog and head of a rabbit, but escaped when he tried to kill it. Almost immediately, the family began to experience a series of strange and terrifying things.

As was the case with the Edgefield Ghost in South Carolina a few years later, the spirit terrorized the family with strange noises and voices and seemed to focus on John Bell and his young daughter, Betsy (Elizabeth). Unlike the Edgefield story, which was reported at the time of the events, the Bell Witch story does not seem to have appeared in print before the latter part of the 19th century, long after the alleged events.

To learn more about this unique Southern ghost story, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/bellwitch1.

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