The Story Of The Bell Witch

“During the day I don’t believe in ghosts. At night, I’m a little more open minded”

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story at Halloween? I can’t believe I’ve never shared this one before! The Story of The Bell Witch and very obviously, the inspiration for my blog name.

Like most legends, The story of the Bell Witch and who or what it was, varies from one account to the next. However, the characters in the story always remain the same.


Deep in the Red River region is a place called Adams, Tennessee. During the 1800’s, the Bell family lived on a farm there. They were John & Lucy Bell and their children including their daughter Betsy Bell. John Bell was a deacon at the local Baptist Church so the family were seen attending every Sunday. They were a quiet, close family that people in town respected.

One of the many versions of this story goes that a neighbour, Kate Batts had sold a portion of her land to the Bell family and had become very upset as she felt she had been tricked into doing so and had not been paid what she deserved.

Although the family had lived on the farm for over 10 years, it was only in 1817 (and after buying the land from Kate) that strange things began to occur . The Bell family started experiencing strange phenomenon after sunset; scratching, knocking and even the sound of chains being dragged throughout the home. At first whatever this was seemed keen on keeping them up all night but soon the events took a violent turn.

The entity seemed to be able to move in the physical world by making noises and shapeshifting into animals. These manifestations continued for over a year with John and daughter Betsy seeming to be the target of the attacks. They’d be kicked and choked and pricked with needles. At times it seemed the entity could posses John and he’d become violent.

Asking for help from the local parish, an investigation was open but when the Pastor tried to communicate with the entity, it didn’t seem interested in revealing it’s identity. The only time it said anything was when it was asked if it had been conjured by the Bell’s neighbour Kate Batts, in which case it said only “Yes”.

Kate Batts was known in the area to have been a witch and from that day forward the entity would only reply when called by the name Kate.

When the story broke out about the Bell family haunting people started to arrive at the home in hopes of assisting the family in ridding them of the “witch”. Among the visitors was a man who would become President, Andrew Jackson. He is said to have been so spooked by the activity at the home that he did not return.

At one point however the entity admitted it had 2 reasons to be there. The first was to kill John Bell and the second was to put a stop to the upcoming wedding of Betsy Bell to Joshua Gardner, a man who was held in great disapproval by Kate Batts. Afraid of the wrath from the entity, Betsy called off her engagement and sadly John was found in his bead one morning in 1820 with a bottle of poison by his side.

After John Bell’s death it seemed the entity who everyone now called The Bell Witch, had accomplished it’s task and retreated, living in a cave nearby which to this day is called The Bell Witch Cave.

Some say that to this day strange things happen at the Bell Witch Cave although they no longer seem to be violent. A group of boys claim they came face to face with the Witch when one of their friends fell into a hole in the cave. The boy was apparently saved and carried out of the cave after which they were told by the entity to not go exploring in that cave as it wasn’t safe.

Today, the site of the Bell Witch Cave is one of the most famous haunted locations in Tennessee and you can visit HERE.

So there you have it, The legend of The Bell Witch. I hope you enjoyed it and thank you for reading. Happy Halloween! Have fun and stay safe.

Until next time.



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