Friday, April 15, 2011
The Legend of the Bell Witch of Tennessee
In the early 1800s, John Bell moved his family from North Carolina to the Red River bottomland in Robertson County, Tennessee, settling in a community, Red River, which became Adams, Tennessee many years later. Bell purchased some land and a large house for his family.
Over the next several years, he acquired more land, increasing his holdings to 328 acres, and cleared a number of fields for planting. He was also made an Elder of Red River Baptist Church. The Bells also had three more children after moving to Tennessee. Elizabeth (Betsy) was born in 1806; Richard was born in 1811; Joel was born in 1813. John Bell house, home of the Bell Witch of Tennessee The Bell homestead. From Authenticated History of the Bell Witch, M.V. Ingram, 1894.
One day in 1817, John Bell was inspecting his corn field when he encountered a strange-looking animal sitting in the middle of a corn row. Shocked by the appearance of this animal, which had the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit, Bell shot several times. The animal vanished. Bell thought nothing more about the incident, at least not until after dinner. That evening, the Bells began hearing "beating" sounds on the outside walls of their log house.
The mysterious sounds continued with increased frequency and force each night.
Bell and his sons often hurried outside to catch the culprit but always returned empty-handed. In the weeks that followed, the Bell children began waking up frightened, complaining that rats were gnawing at their bedposts. Not long after that, the children began complaining of having having their bed covers pulled from them and their pillows tossed onto the floor by a seemingly invisible entity.
Posted by The Birmingham Free Press at 4:46 PM