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Curse of the Bell Witch


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#1 Willow

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 10:56 AM

John Bell was an affluent settler in rural Robertson County, TN. He owned a farm and had several children and slaves. In 1817 the Bell Witch made her first appearance. Many people linked the Bell Witch to a local eccentric named Kate Batts, whom many in Adams believed to be a witch. She was very strange in her manner. John Bell had some business dealings with her in which he sold her a slave. She then accused him of overcharging her interest and he was tried for this offense. Shortly thereafter, he was excommunicated from the Red River Baptist Church, and she claimed to have placed a curse on him.

Shortly thereafter, the haunting began. It began when John Bell saw a bizarre animal in his garden. He fired a shot at it, but it disappeared. The Bell children were also seeing strange animals in the woods near their home. The Bell household began to experience loud noises such as the rattling of windows, and the house shook. At first they believed they were earthquakes, but when no one else reported these strange occurrences, this theory was put to rest.

John Bell was a private man, and so he decided to keep these occurrences a secret. He was also ostracized by some in the community stemming from his expulsion from church. Many people might think that God was "gunning for him," and thus make his situation in the community worse. However, about one year after the noises began, John Bell became ill. At this point he was forced to tell his friend James Johnson about the problem. Johnson and his wife agreed to stay at the Bell house for a night, and they too reported the same things the Bells had experienced.





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#2 Oiche

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 03:16 PM

A very intriguing read, Willow, thank you!

Okay, do you think there was something more going on between Miss Blatts and John Bell? I mean a curse that spanned for several generations seems to be kind of extreme for overcharging interest on a slave
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#3 Willow

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Posted 29 September 2009 - 09:29 PM

That is something i've always pondered too Oiche, you seem to read my mind as always;) What I found interesting as well and it may of been made up for the sake of cinematic sensationalism..in the movie the twist at the end was that John Bell had done wrong against his daughter in the most unmentionable way and as Miss Batts said to him as he asked her to take the curse off...."You've cursed yourself"

Who knows, she was said to be an odd, eccentric lady with a temper so maybe she really did hold onto a grudge that strongly.
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#4 Silvertongue

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 08:43 AM

So the curse was allegedly spread over several generations, yet this is the only part of the Bell family we've ever heard of... It would be interesting if some of their decendants would come forward and tell us if subsequent generations were truly affected by this curse.
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#5 Oiche

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Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:27 PM

Awwww, Willow my favorite browsing material^^ Interesting point and it ties in with John Bell's expulsion from the church but that's a hard one to prove since in that era anything like trafficking with spirits would have met with the same punishment

As in life so in death, Amiga, maybe she was that ornery

A very intriguing question, Silver, did cadet branches of the family change names to avoid the stigma of a Witch's curse or was that chapter of the family history blotted from the records
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