Day 2 - As the Bell Tolls
Welcome to day 2 of #31DaysOfOctober!
Today's witchy legend comes from good o' Tennessee. Ever heard of the Bell Witch?
We typically think of folklore and mythology as originating in ancient, far-off places, but some of it is recent enough that it’s considered urban legend. The story of the Bell Witch, for instance, takes place during the 1800s in Tennessee.
According to author Pat Fitzhugh of the Bell Witch website, there was “a sinister entity that tormented a pioneer family on Tennessee’s early frontier between 1817 and 1821.” Fitzhugh explains that settler John Bell and his family relocated to Tennessee from North Carolina in the early 1800s, and purchased a large homestead. It wasn’t long before some weird stuff began to happen, including sightings of a strange animal with “the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit” out in the cornfields.
To make matters even worse, young Betsy Bell started to experience physical encounters with a specter, claiming it had slapped her and pulled her hair. Although he originally told the family to keep things quiet, Bell finally confided in a neighbor, who brought in a party led by none other than local general Andrew Jackson. Another member of the group claimed to be a “witch tamer,” and was armed with a pistol and a silver bullet. Unfortunately, the entity wasn’t impressed with the silver bullet—or, apparently, the witch tamer—because the man was forcefully ejected from the house. Jackson’s men begged to leave the homestead and, although Jackson insisted on staying to investigate further, the next morning the entire group was spotted heading away from the farm.
Troy Taylor of PrairieGhosts says, “The spirit identified itself as the 'witch' of Kate Batts, a neighbor of the Bells’, with whom John had experienced bad business dealings over some purchased slaves. 'Kate' as the local people began calling the spirit, made daily appearances in the Bell home, wreaking havoc on everyone there.” Once John Bell died, though, Kate stuck around and haunted Betsy well into adulthood.
Find out even more about the Bell Witch here.
Be sure to check out the Secret, Spells and Tales series by Liz Rau! Available in paperback on Amazon and in eBook format where all eBooks are sold!