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Blog Discussion Folklore

The Bell Witch of Adams, Tennessee

There is the remnants of a farm near Adams, Tennessee. The Bell Farm was home to John Bell in family in the early 1800s, and that’s where the story begins.

In recent years, the movie titled, “An American Haunting,” was supposed to offer a speculative account of what happened with the Bell family during that time. While there was much dramatization and fantasy involved in the plot, it did make the general public aware of this haunting.

The Bell Witch is a common legend in my part of the country and the topic of many books. Most authored pre-movie give the same accounts.

Andrew Jackson, the President, was so intrigued by the rumors of the Bell Witch that he visited the home. He was said to have experienced an episode of the witch’s activities and swore at it. John Bell’s death is the only one in Tennessee history to be formally attributed to supernatural forces.

There are two main legends cited when discussions turn to the witch, or “Kate,” as she came to be called. Kate was a vindictive spirit with two possible origins. One legend states she was a spurned lover, jealous of John and his family. The other states she was a vengeful ghost that came from a land deal which had gone sour.

The Bell home became known for many activities. There were voices, sounds, objects moved, and a host of other paranormal activities. Unlike the fictional story portrayed in the movie, the entire family experienced Kate’s wrath, but it was targeted at John. He apparently died of poisoning, but no living person poisoned him.

When John died, the violent activities ended, and many believed Kate finally got what she wanted from the Bell family.

Complete analysis of the haunting can be found here. For even more information, try these links:

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