The Bell Witch

The Bell Witch or Bell Witch Haunting is a legend from Southern American folklore, centered on the 19th-century Bell family of northwest Robertson County, Tennessee. — Wikipedia

Who or What is it?

There’s much controversy about the Bell Witch Cave. Some say she is the daughter of an abusive father. Some say she is an outside entity that came to torment the Bell Family. There are even other reports that the Bell Witch was a male slave killed by Bell in the past.

The most common telling of it is that the Bell Witch was a neighbor girl whose name was Kate Batts. Often reports show the girl to quarrel with John Bell’s daughter Betsy who’s engagement was to Joshua Gardner—later broke up in 1821.

William Porter Burn The Bell Witch
William Porter Burn The Bell Witch

Though eventually John Bell died and Kate claimed to take credit for the death, her actions performed in the cave reportedly tied her to the Bell property forever.

A Witching Game

Though I have not experienced the Bell Witch directly, I have had a personal experience with her. I used to live in Pleasant View, TN—only a handful of miles away from Adams where the cave’s location is situated.

Kids used to play a game called “I love the Bell Witch.” You would look into a mirror and confidently say “I love the Bell Witch” or “I hate the Bell Witch” three times, much like the Bloody Mary game.

Except she would not appear in the mirror. If you said “I love the Bell Witch” you reportedly received a black rose on your pillow before you went to bed that night. If you said “I hate the Bell Witch” you would be scratched, slapped, and hit in retaliation.

565 Bell Home 1909
565 Bell Home 1909

I personally never played it. Even at such a young age, I held a healthy respect for the witch and refused to play the game. However, I saw the results. Over the weekend, many children who were known for playing the game would come to school with random scratches, welts, and other assorted wounds.

Witches Don’t Die

Abuse? You may think that however people knew their parents and knew what went on in those homes and there was no chance of abuse. When we asked, they would admit to playing the game at sleepovers over
the weekend.

They were not nearly so egotistical after those weekends, and I always wondered what went on. However, to this day I refuse to entertain playing that game.

565 Death of John Bell
565 Death of John Bell

Now here is the thing. No matter what form of the legend you believe, or if you believe the legend at all. There are little questions as to whether something happened or not.

Even if you view the Bell Witch as a tool to keep children in line, or as a real entity—there are enough eye witness accounts and experiences to give to the credence of the oral history.

C. Brady


4 thoughts on “The Bell Witch

    1. Thanks so much! It brought back so many childhood memories. You could almost TASTE the evil in the room when they were messing with her at a slumber party.

      Like

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