Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Bell Witch Haunting Of 1817

Never heard of the infamous Bell Witch haunting? I'm related to many of the Bell family of Tennessee and have heard this story before. There's even a historical marker and a recent movie made of this supposed event. I don't believe in curses nor ghosts but it's a pretty interesting story, at any rate. Hey, it's Hallowe'en!! Time to have fun, place dress up and pretend to be scared.

For now, this the story published in LJWorld.Com.

This takes place in 1817 Adams, Robertson County, Tennessee.

By David W. Myers

The Bell Witch haunting is notorious because it may be the best-documented case of murder by the supernatural in U.S. history. The alleged victim was John Bell, a Tennessee farmer and father of a large family.

Bell’s troubles began in 1817, when he claimed to have seen a demonlike beast in his cornfield. He shot at the creature several times before it disappeared into thin air. Later that evening, the Bells heard frightening “beating” sounds on their walls. They rushed outside with their shotguns and found nothing, but the sounds grew louder and more violent as the weeks progressed.

Soon, a quiet voice, described as that of a feeble old woman who would either sing hymns or sob, started emanating from inside the house. The disembodied voice also grew louder as time went by, and the Bells’ small daughter started to complain of being beaten by unseen hands — with cuts and bruises to prove it. John Bell finally asked his nearest neighbor to spend the night, but he, too, was awakened and then beaten by the invisible spirit.

After the violence spread to other household members, the Bells were visited by longtime family friend Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson — the great war hero who would later become the nation’s seventh president. Jackson brought a small contingent of troops with him but left after a single night of terrifying encounters that included one of his own men being violently attacked by the malevolent ghost. “I’d rather fight the entire British Army than deal with the Bell Witch,” Jackson later said.

John Bell grew ill and finally died on Dec. 20, 1820. His family found a small vial of unidentifiable liquid near the corpse and gave it to the family cat, which died minutes later. Family and friends say a bodiless voice then filled the room: “I gave Ol’ Jack a big dose of that last night, and that fixed him!”

As mourners left Bell’s funeral a few days later, some said they heard the ghostly voice bellow with laughter and sing a little ditty about a bottle of brandy. Their accounts, as well as those of Jackson and others, are perhaps the best evidence to suggest that at least one human life has been claimed by the undead.

Want more? There's an awful lot of info about it on the 'net. Here's a few websites I found concerning this event:

Bell Witch Haunting (2004) ~ The Movie
Hallow Hill
America's Most Haunted Places ~ The Bell Witch Cave
The Examiner ~ The Bell Witch Haunting


Anonymous said...

Oh, great post for Halloween! Hoping you two have a great weekend and lots of treats!

steviewren said...

I think I'd have tried to move if I were the Bell family. I guess it wouldn't have been very easy to pack up and move down the street in those days though. Creepy Halloween story!

GrandmaK said...

What an eerily interesting story! Thank you!! Cathy