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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Bell Witch

The story of the Bell Witch is one of America's greatest ghost stories ever told. The Bell family was tormented by this unseen intruder over a period of four years ending shortly after the death of John Bell.

Word spread quickly about the strange happenings in Adams, Tennessee and soon people from all over were traveling to the the family's home. One of the most famous visits documented was by General Andrew Jackson and a number of his men. He was determined to either reveal the occurrences as a hoax or put an end to the evil spirit that was attacking the family. As Jackson and his men neared the property their wagon suddenly stopped as if being held back and could go no further. The road under the wheels was smooth and nothing could be seen keeping the wagon from moving forward.
"The driver popped his whip, whooped and shouted to the team, and the horses pulled with all of their might, but could not move the wagon an inch. It was dead stuck as if welded to the earth. Gen. Jackson commanded all men to dismount and put their shoulders to the wheels and give the wagon a push, but all in vain; it was no go. The wheels were then taken off, one at a time, and examined and found to be all right, revolving easily on the axles. Gen. Jackson after a few moments thought, realizing that they were in a fix, threw up his hands exclaiming, "By the eternal, boys, it is the witch." Then came the sound of a sharp metallic voice from the bushes, saying, "All right General, let the wagon move on, I will see you again to-night." The men in bewildered astonishment looked in every direction to see if they could discover from whence came the strange voice, but could find no explanation to the mystery. The horses then started unexpectedly of their own accord, and the wagon rolled along as light and smoothly as ever." Stephen Wagner

The exact events that then took place while Jackson was in the home differ from source to source. A chapter in "An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch", written by M. V. Ingram, is by many the most accurate account to date of Jackson's visit.

Some 200 years later, the exact cause for the torment on the Bell family remains a mystery. Over time, a number of stories to explain what took place have been told. One thing remains certain... something very strange and terrifying happened at the Bell farm between 1817-1821.

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