The Bell Witch: The Tennessee Haunting of 1817

The Appalachian Mountains are a beautiful place. They’re full of forests and valleys that have inspired countless artists and musicians. But they’re also shrouded in myth, legend, and superstition. Everyone knows about Bigfoot and Mothman. The Squonk and “Not-Deer” are a little less popular. But the Bell Witch could be one of the most believable stories from the Appalachian Mountains.

The Bell Witch

The story of the Bell Witch haunting comes from Robertson County, Tennessee. John Bell Sr., a farmer, lived there with his family along the Red River in the 1800s. The area he lived in was Adams, Tennessee. While living there in 1817, his family was attacked by an invisible entity. The entity could speak, manipulate the environment, and shapeshift. At least, that was what the reports claimed.

In the late 1800s, Martin Ingram published an account of the Bell Witch haunting. He claimed the witch was a woman named Kate. But he came to this conclusion when the entity said it was the witch of Kate Batts. Calling the entity “Kate” seemed to appease the being. But appeasing it didn’t last long. The majority of the activity documented centered around John’s daughter, Betsy. “Kate” seemed particularly upset when Betsy announced her engagement to Joshua.

Reports of the haunting started in 1817 when John saw what he thought was a dog on his farm. He fired at it, worried that it would attack his livestock. Upon reaching where he saw the animal, he noticed it was gone. At the same time, John’s son noticed a massive bird perched on a fence that flew off when the shot was fired. Despite the chaos around her, Betsy saw a green dress hanging from the limb of a nearby tree. Other members of the household reported feeling like something was following them. As time went on, activity started to ramp up. The Bell family could hear knocking on the walls, dogs fighting, chains along the floor, and something gnawing on the beds. John even claimed his mouth was paralyzed. Sheets were ripped from the bed. Betsy even claimed to be slapped, pinched, and stabbed with pins. 

The family eventually turned to a family friend, John Johnston. He spent time with the family to document everything he experienced. The witch was a cunning creature, if that’s what it was. It could recite sermons being given miles apart at the same time. It claimed to be a result of the property being built on a Native American burial mound. It even sent John and his sons on a treasure hunt that was ultimately fruitless.

Johnston tried to test the witch. He asked the witch a question that only his family would have known the answer to. And the witch answered perfectly. No one ever learned what the witch was. No one could tell whether this was a hoax or a haunting.

Witch Masks for Halloween

The Bell Witch is an entity that remains shrouded in mystery. Since no one knows what it looks like, finding the perfect Halloween mask to recreate the look is easier than you think. Horror Dome has a selection of masks to choose from. Who knows? You might find the perfect inspiration on our website.

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