On Saturday, August 5th, 2006, our group toured the Bell Witch Cave. We
got some amazing pictures. First the Bell Witch Story. Pictures below.
Orb next to place where bones were
once buried. Photo by Christi Messer
Orb above empty grave, photo by Sarah Harrison
Photo by Sarah Harrison
Photo by Sarah Harrison
"Witch face" on ceiling of cave,
photo by Sarah Harrison
More Bell Witch Pictures
Orb, photo by Christi Messer
|Of particular interest was the fact that the body of a Native American girl
was buried in the cave. A number of years ago, someone broke into the
cave and stole the bones. We photographed orbs near the spot where the
girl was once buried.
Empty Grave where bones were buried
Photo by Sarah Harrison
Including a picture of John Bell's grave
plagued by a mysterious and violent spirit. The haunting involved strange
creatures, disembodied voices, violence and even allegedly resulted in the
death of John Bell at the hands of the infamous Bell Witch. The haunting
began in 1817 when the Bell family began experiencing strange phenomena
in their home. First, the house was plagued with knocking and rapping
noises and scratching sounds. Blankets were pulled from beds, family
members were kicked and scratched and their hair pulled. Particularly
tormented was young Betsy Bell, who was slapped, pinched, bruised and
stuck with pins. At first, John Bell was determined to keep the events secret,
but soon confided in a friend, who then formed an investigative committee.
John Bell's friends soon learned that the strange force in the house had an
eerie intelligence. It soon found a voice and from that day on was seldom
The spirit identified itself as the "witch" of Kate Batts, a neighbor of the Bell's,
with whom John had experienced bad business dealings. John had lent Kate
Batts some money and the use of a slave. His interest rate on the loan was so
outrageous that John was convicted in court of usury. "Ole Kate" as the
local people began calling the spirit, made daily appearances in the Bell
learned of the witch and she made appearances, in sounds and voices, all
over Robertson County. Even singing along with the hymns in church.
The ghost became so famous that even General Andrew Jackson decided to
visit. He too experienced the antics of the witch and his carriage wheels
refused to turn until the witch decided to let them.
John Bell fell victim to bouts of strange illness, for which Kate claimed
responsibility. While he was sick in bed, the spirit cursed and prodded him,
never allowing him to rest. One day, he went to bed and never recovered. He
was found dead in his bed one morning and a strange bottle was found
nearby. A drop of it was given to a cat and the animal dropped dead. Kate
screamed in triumph over the death of John Bell. She even made her
presence known at his funeral, laughing, cursing and singing as the poor
man was buried.
Kate didn't vanish immediately after the death of her victim, though. She
stayed around, harassing Betsy Bell to not marry the man that she truly
loved, Joshua Gardner. Betsy finally called off the engagement because the
witch constantly harassed her and Joshua when they were together. The
witch would never say why, but she did allow the girl to later marry the local
schoolteacher, Richard Powell. Joshua Gardner later became a wealthy and
successful man. Betsy's life with Richard Powell was a hard one. He moved
from job to job and got involved with get rich schemes that never panned out.
After Richard Powell died, Betsy was left penniless and had to move in with
relatives. Did the witch manipulate Betsy's life so she would not have a
happy life with Joshua Gardner, but instead had a miserable one with
Kate soon left the family but promised to return in seven years. She did come
back and plagued the family again for two weeks. She soon departed, but
many believe that she may not have left the area. While she was there, it is
said she gave predictions of the future, including predicting World War I.
Who was the Bell Witch? Was she really a ghost who claimed to be
connected to Kate Batts due to her resentment and the hatred of John Bell?
Or could the haunting have been poltergeist activity linked to Betsy Bell?
There has been much speculation that John Bell molested Betsy and she
unknowingly created the Bell Witch. This was reason given in the movie, An
American Haunting. But the true nature of the Bell Witch will never be known.
Near the Red River, on the former Bell farm, is a cave that has been called the
"Bell Witch Cave". Thanks to local legend and lore, many people have come
to believe that when the spirit of the witch departed she went to live in the
cave. The cave has never figured into the Bell Witch legend until recent
times, but it's a creepy place. Pictures from the Cave and Adams, TN are