The Bell Witch

Tales of ghostly phenomena used to be saved for the campfire with nothing but a torch to pass around and the eerie sounds of nocturnal nature. Nowadays, almost everybody has some sort of ‘experience’ to share. Whether it’s poltergeists or vengeful spirits coming back to settle a score, famous yet inexplicable hauntings are often exposed through books and movies, but for those who enjoy a good old fashioned ghost story, below we have listed the ins and outs of The Bell Witch story.

The Bell Witch

Kate Batts was described as a malicious old woman who thought that John Bell cheated her out of a valuable land purchase and after her passing, showed that she would do anything to get revenge on him and his family. Her ghost seemed to favour tormenting John and his 12-year-old daughter Betsy, who both endured mental and physical suffering. Kate would often pinch their noses, throw objects around, screech at the family and harm them with needles. Strangely, Kate seemed to direct her anguish at these two; the rest of the family either got ignored or would hear her saying something pleasant.

Word quickly spread of the ghost and people were overwhelmed with fascination by the rumours they had been hearing; so much so that many travelled hundreds of miles just to see for themselves what all the fuss was about. While a few visitors were welcomed, others were greeted with shrieks and flying objects.

Interestingly, according to Your Ghost Stories, the future president of the United States at the time, General Andrew Jackson, was so intrigued by the rumours and ghost stories that he gathered a group of friends so he could visit the Bell family and investigate the matter. Apparently, he and his friends were going to either disprove the rumours or repel the spirit.

However, Jackson’s scheme didn’t quite go to plan; as he approached the residence, the men’s wagons stuck to the ground and wouldn’t budge. Even after whipping the horses, cursing and pushing the wagon, it still wouldn’t move. It was rumoured that Jackson became frustrated and declared, “By the eternal boys, it is the witch.” To the men’s amazement, the familiar shriek could be heard from a nearby bush. The voice was said to reply, “All right General, let the wagon move on, I’ll see you again tonight.”

To their surprise, the wagons were freed and they continued on their journey, however, it may have just been the worst mistake they have ever made. The Bell Witch spared no thought for the men and they suffered the same torment the family had been dealing with; Jackson’s bedcovers were said to have been repeatedly whipped off his body. First thing in the morning, the men abandoned their quest to repel the ghost and returned home.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the story of the Bell Witch is the death of John Bell who was rumoured to have fallen ill following a stroke. During his time being bedridden, his family apparently found him in an appalling state and his son quickly fetched the medicine from the cabinet. After the son had administrated the medicine, the family were said to have heard the witch say that she had poisoned John the night before. Reportedly, the contents of the medicine vile were later examined and it was found to be poisonous.

This story is just one amongst the masses of famous hauntings from all across the world. If you’d like to hear more stories like the one mentioned in this article, why not join us on one of our London ghost tours! For more details, please get in touch today through our website.