The strange tale of the Bell Witch is one of America’s most famous ghost stories. The spooky legend has terrified thousands and even helped inspire The Blair Witch Project. But is it true?
Legend has it that between 1817 and 1821 a malevolent spirit terrorized the prosperous Bell family in Adams, Tennessee. The incidents reportedly started when family members noticed unnatural animals on their property. In one version, a creature with the head of a rabbit and the body of a dog scratched at the Bell’s door. When someone went to investigate, the creature scurried off into the night.
Not long after the sighting, the Bells began hearing eerie sounds in their cabin, sounds that resembled choking, gasping, chains dragging across the floor, and rats gnawing on the bedpost. The sounds quickly escalated to physical violence, with John Bell, Sr. and daughter Betsy suffering most of the abuse. Betsy claimed she was slapped by an unseen entity, while John felt something poking the side of his throat. The witch also yelled, cursed, and threatened the family.