The Story of the Bell Witch

The Bell Witch Legend has been intriguing people since the early 19th century. It all starts with a man named John Bell settling in Robertson County, Tennessee near the Red River and close to Adams, Tennessee. John was a prosperous farmer, and life was good for the Bell family, until strange occurrences began.


In the early 1800s, John was inspecting his crops and noticed something bizarre. He saw a creature resembling a dog, and quickly fired at the beast. However, the strange creature vanished before his eyes. Terrifying events would soon follow. The actual haunting started as unexplained noises around the Bell House.

It began as scratching and knocking sounds and soon progressed to the sounds of dogs fighting and wings flapping around the house. These events greatly puzzled the Bell family and they kept the haunting a secret for some time.

In 1818, John Bell was afflicted with a strange disease that effected his tongue and jaw. It made chewing and swallowing difficult. Soon, the spirit haunting the Bells’ found her voice and made her presence known. She claimed that she was the witch of Kate Batts, a woman who detested John Bell because of a bad business deal, and began to threaten John’s life, plainly saying that she would kill him.

The Bell family decided they could keep their secret no longer and enlisted the aid of some of their closest friends. Those who stayed the night heard laughter and had the sheets pulled off of them. One man who had a reputation for being 'tough' came and stayed the night believing he could defeat the Bell Witch. However, she yanked off his sheets too, and hit him, screaming at him to give up because he couldn't win a fight with a spirit.

Future President, Andrew Jackson even visited the Bells' home. One of Bell’s sons had served under Jackson during the war, and Jackson wanted to help in anyway he could. As Jackson‘s party was approaching the Bell home, one of his companions began to boast how he could defeat the ghost. The wheels of the wagons suddenly locked up, and no matter what the drivers tried they could not get the wagons rolling. Then the men heard a voice say, "Go on, old General," and the wagons began to move once again. Jackson and his men were harassed the entire night of their stay, being slapped and pinched by the spirit until day break. They left as soon as they could.

John Bell was not the only focus of the Bell Witch’s scorn. Betsy Bell fell victim to the ghosts cruelty. ‘Kate’ would torture Betsy for days on end, pinching and slapping her, even pulling her hair. Although the Bell Witch tormented many people, including Bell's slaves, she often helped Lucy Bell, John‘s wife. She would sing to her and do her chores when she was sick.

In 1820, John was stricken with the same illness in his tongue and jaw, only this time it was much worse. At times, friends and family would believe he was getting better, but the Witch always insisted that she would kill him. On December 20, John Bell, bed-ridden, died. A small vial of a black liquid was found at his bed side. A small amount of this fluid was given to a cat. The cat immediately perished.





The Official Bell Witch Video received a Telly Award at the 24th Annual Telly Awards, honoring outstanding television commercials, video productions, and films.