The spirit was connected with Kate Batts, an eccentric neighbour with whom John Bell had had a quarrel. It quickly became known as “Kate.”
If you are a fan of horror stories, you might be interested to know about the Bell Witch. The Bell Witch or Bell Witch Haunting is a legend from Southern American folklore, based on a 19th century Bell family in northwest Robertson County, Tennessee.
In 1804, John Bell, a farmer from North Carolina, settled in Robertson County along with his wife and children. Their farm consisted of 320 acres of land laid along the Red River.
For more than a decade, they lived a peaceful life there. They were members of the Red River Baptist Church where John became a deacon. The family grew and acquired wealth.
In the late summer of 1817, peculiar things began to happen that changed their lives forever. Some members of the family began seeing strange looking animals around the property.
At night they started hearing knocking sounds on doors and outer walls of the house. Sounds were also heard inside the house. Such as rats gnawing on bed posts, chains being dragged across floors and stones dropped on floors, along with gulping and choking noises.
The family was terrified, but kept the problem to themselves for over a year. When things became intolerable, John confided in a neighbour, James Johnston.
He invited James and his wife to spend the night at his house. After witnessing the strange things, James suggested that more people should be told about them. Then a committee was formed and an investigation began.
The spirit was connected with Kate Batts, an eccentric neighbour with whom John Bell had had a quarrel. It quickly became known as "Kate."
It seemed that Kate had two main reasons for visiting the Bell home. The main one was to kill John Bell, but Kate never gave a reason why. The second reason was to stop John's youngest daughter Betsy from marrying a certain boy named Joshua Gardner.
Over the next three years, "Kate" tormented members of the Bell family almost daily. John and his daughter Betsy were the ones who received the worst of the physical abuse. Betsy had her hair pulled, she was pinched, scratched with pins and even beaten.
John Bell began suffering from spells of swollen throat and often had the feeling of a stick being stuck sideways in his throat. His facial muscles would also uncontrollably twitch and jerk. Kate would also curse and threaten him during these spells. As time went by, he became weaker and weaker.
Kate was becoming well known and drew large crowds of people. She seemed to be very intelligent in many things: the bible, people's past and their future. She could be in two places at the same time – but miles apart from each other.
On December 20, 1820, John Bell finally passed away. It was believed that he was poisoned by Kate, who took full credit for his death. In March of 1821, Betsy broke off her engagement with Joshua Gardner.
Kate then bid everyone farewell and promised to return in seven years. She did so in 1828, but only for a few weeks. During this visit, she came to the home of John Bell Jr and had long talks with him about the past, present and future.
She also mentioned that there was a reason for John Bell's death. However, she never said what it was. After the second visit, she said her next return would be in 107 years. That was in 1935.
But some believe that she never left the area due to strange things that occurred in and around the town of Adams and the Bell Witch Cave over many years.
There are many books written about the famous Bell Witch of Tennessee. The films "An American Haunting" and "The Blair Witch Project" are both based on it.