The Bell family lived in a farm house in Tennessee, close to the Kentucky border. The residents were John Bell, his wife Lucy, their daughter Betsy and their two sons. At the time their other two children did not live there because they had married and moved out. The start of the paranormal activity started in 1817 when John Bell saw an apparition that looked like a dog in his cornfield. Not knowing it was an apparition he shot at it and watched it vanish before his eyes. He also saw another ghostly creature and is also vanished when it was shot at.
Not long after the creepy apparitions, the Bell house endured continues rapping's and scrapings on the outside of the doors, walls and windows like it was attempting to get inside. Eventually it succeeded. It chewed on the bedposts, kicked the ceiling, knocked over some furniture, and pulled ghostly, invisible chains across the floor. After a year the home was filled with strange, unwanted noises. Soon the ghostly visitor became violent, hitting and slapping visitors of the Bell home for no good reason. The Bell children were also struck by the entity and it pulled their hair when they tried to sleep at night. The ghostly entity also hailed rocks and sticks like typical poltergeists do.
The only daughter Betsy Bell began to have convulsions and would pass out at times as the intensity of the poltergeist activity grew. At first it could not talk. Then it was able to make whistling noises. Then it became able to whisper until after awhile it found the ability to talk clearly. Eventually the evil witch's' voice could be heard through the whole house. In time the ghostly visitor referred to itself as a witch and said it would plague John Bell forever. The witch would beat John and once she beat him so bad he could not talk because his jaw and tongue was too swollen. The actual identity of the spirit was never made clear but the family started to refer to it as Kate after hearing it say " I am nothing more or less than old Kate Batts, witch."
Before John Bell married Lucy, He was in love with a Kate Batts when he lived in Halifax, North Carolina. John once proposed to her but never went through with marrying her. In the end of the 1770's Kates' lifeless corpse was found next to a well near her home. The cause of death was never discovered. John Bell tied the knot with Lucy right after Kates' funeral, getting over her death unusually easy. Some people believe that Mr.Bell had murdered Batts because he realized he could not spend the rest of his life with such a crazy, moody, and unpleasant woman. Perhaps she just sought revenge against John because he ruined her happiness by not marrying her.
The word got around about the Bell witch and soon, people began making visits to the Bell home to see if the rumors were true. What the received when the got there was a lot of punches and kicks by the ghostly witch. The Bells family minister, James Johnson, performed an exorcism on the home but it did little good. Members of the parish would stay at the Bell home to record any paranormal activity but this only intensified the poltergeists efforts. After awhile most members of the parish refused to set foot in the ghostly dwelling. Once President Andrew Jackson(actually General at the time) went to the Bell house with an exorcist to face the crazy spirit. They took off when the poltergeist threw the family dishes and furniture at him.
After about three years of torture and abuse dished out by the heartless spirit, John was so messed up and unhealthy that he could not leave his bed for months. He was even twitching uncontrollably. The ghostly witch grew from abuse and hatred, to attempted murderer when it replaced Johns Tonic with poison. This attempt had failed. However, on December 19, 1820 the poor, abused John Bell was discovered in a coma. One of his sons rushed to check the medicine cabinet (probably because of the previous incident) and saw only a vial of dark liquid which was only a third full. The twisted poltergeist admitted she gave him a good amount of it when John was sleeping and said he will never awaken again. John Bell died the next day. The dark liquid was indeed poison because it was tested on a cat and the animal died instantly.
A month after Bells funeral the Bell witch left and did not return until 1828. It did its usual stuff for a couple of weeks to Lucy Bell and two of her boys that still lived there. Before it left this time it said it would return every 107 years. It's not surprising that the ghostly lier never showed up in 1935. It actually appeared a couple of different times earlier. Even though the Bell home was burnt down, the area is still full of paranormal activity. There is even a Bell Witch cave that the vicious spirit might dwell.
There are many different versions of the Bell Witch story. I also have read that Kate Batts was angry with John Bell over a business deal she had made with him. I have also read somewhere that John Bell was cursed by the poltergeist because he shot an employee of his to death. Despite the different variations of the story, the fact that the poltergeist was unusually powerful, could not be forced out of the home, and hated and destroyed John Bell seems to be universal. Just to know that a poltergeist or a ghost can obtain that much power, even on just rare occasions is a scary thought. That's one of the reasons why I believe that this story should be read by anyone who is interested in poltergeists.
The Bell Witch cave is on the property where the Bell farm used to be. It is almost 500 ft long. Tours are given during the summer and October and is now privately owned. The Bell Witch is believed to have fled to the cave after the Bell home was destroyed. I don't find it too hard to believe because many ghosts(assuming that it was a ghost and not a poltergeist)stick to a certain area for centuries. Another reason is because she claims to return again and the cave is a good place she can scare the heck out of people. The Bell Witch cave is located off of Highway 41 and is North in Adams Tennessee. I read that admission is 7 bucks and that you should call ahead before heading out there.