The Bell Witch of Tennessee: 7 Fascinating Facts to Know

The Bell Witch of Tennessee is a well-known folklore and haunting that took place in Adams, Tennessee, in the early 19th century. The occurrences are thought to have occurred between 1817 and 1821, while historians and experts differ on the precise dates and specifics of the occurrences.

The Bell family was said to have been plagued for years by a malicious spirit or witch who spoke to them in strange voices, hurt them physically, and even predicted the future. The tale continues to be a well-liked subject of interest in the paranormal and supernatural despite having been the basis of numerous novels, movies, and television episodes.

The Bell Witch legend has been passed down through the years and is a frequently discussed subject in American mythology.

1. The Bell Family

The following is a list of the family members mentioned in the Bell Witch folklore:-

1. John Bell Sr.:

The Bell family’s ancestor, John Bell Sr., was a landowner and farmer in Adams, Tennessee. He had several children with Lucy Williams Bell, including Betsy Bell, who particularly caught the Bell Witch’s eye.

2. Lucy Williams Bell:

Lucy Bell, John Bell’s wife, was renowned for her religiosity and love of her family. She was reportedly greatly impacted by the Bell Witch’s actions and prayed nonstop for comfort.

3. Betsy Bell:

The son of John Bell Sr. was Richard Bell, a well-known local figure and former justice of the peace. He was also allegedly sceptical of the Bell Witch story.

4. Richard Williams Bell:

John Bell Sr.’s son, Richard, was a prominent figure in the community and served as a justice of the peace. He was also said to be a skeptic regarding the Bell Witch legend.

5. Joel Egbert Bell:

Joel was one of John Bell’s sons and also a farmer. He had a reputation for being pragmatic and cool-headed, which made him wary of the Bell Witch’s antics.

6. Drury Bell:

According to legend, Drury Bell, John Bell’s son, was the first member of the family to feel the Bell Witch’s presence. The covers felt like they were being pulled off of him when he heard unusual noises in the middle of the night.

7. John Bell Jr.:

John Jr. Bell, the son of John Bell, purportedly suffered a horrible death after being poisoned by the Bell Witch.

These are the Bell family members that are most prominently linked to the Bell Witch lore. But, a number of other family members as well as neighbors and guests at the Bell farm were believed to have witnessed the weird occurrences and to have felt the presence of the Bell Witch.

2. The Bell Home (Haunted House)

The Bell family farm, which was situated in Adams, Tennessee, in the early 19th century, is chiefly linked to the Bell Witch haunting.

The Bell residence was a sizable, two-story farmhouse constructed in the early nineteenth century. Several of the most well-known incidents of the Bell Witch haunting took place on the family’s farm, where they lived for many years. The Bell Witch Cave, which is supposed to have been the scene of some of the most dramatic ghostly activity during the haunting, is still visible to visitors to the region today.

The Bell family home, still, no longer stands and was destroyed in the early 20th century. Callers to the area can still visit the Bell family cemetery, where members of the family are buried, and see a monument to John Bell, the primogenitor of the family who was said to be the primary target of the Bell Witch’s wrath.

3. The Bell Witch Legend

Legend has it that the Bell Witch originally emerged in 1817, when farmer and landowner John Bell came upon an odd-looking animal in his fields. When John tried to approach the creature, which had a dog’s body and a rabbit’s head, it sprinted away.

The Bell family started to suffer a number of unexplained disruptions in their home after this bizarre incident. Their furniture was moved around mysteriously, and they heard knocking and scratching noises on the walls and floors. The family heard a woman’s voice singing hymns and reading Biblical texts as Betsy, John’s daughter, was slapped and squeezed by an ominous force.

Andrew Jackson also played a prominent part in The bell witch of Tennessee. At the time of the events, Jackson was a well- known politician and military leader who had lately been tagged President of the United States. He was also a particular friend of John Bell, the primogenitor of the Bell family.

According to legend, Jackson came involved in the Bell Witch haunting after hearing about the strange events that were being at the Bell family ranch. He’s said to have traveled to the ranch to probe the situation and encountered the Bell Witch herself.

In some performances of the story, Jackson was reportedly so alarmed by the hassle that he fled the property and refused to ever return.


While there’s no definitive substantiation to support the claim that Jackson was involved in the Bell Witch haunting, it’s clear that he’d a particular relationship with the Bell family and was familiar with the legend. Some chroniclers believe that the story of Jackson’s involvement may have been stretched or constructed over time, but it remains a popular part of the Bell Witch legend.

The disturbances continued to escalate, and the Bell family came convinced that they were being visited by a witch. They consulted with a original dominie, who conducted an exorcism on the house. The exorcism sounded to have worked, and the disturbances desisted for a time.

But, the Bell Witch came back with a vengeance, intensifying her attacks on the family. She asserted to be the ghost of Kate Batts, a woman with a vendetta against John Bell. John reportedly died shortly after being poisoned, according to the witch, and undetermined causes.

The Bell Witch continued to harass the family after John passed away, but she gradually stopped. Some claim that she is still active in the neighborhood of Adams, Tennessee.

The story of the Bell Witch has been the subject of multitudinous books, pictures, and TV shows. Some believe that it’s simply a legend, while others claim that it’s grounded on a true story. Anyhow of its origins, the story of the Bell Witch has come a chief of American myth, and it continues to fascinate and scarify people to this day.

4. Is The Story of The Bell Witch True?

Several trials and investigations had occurred to know the real truth of The Bell Witch. Some of them were-

1. Clinard and Burgess Trial, 1868-

A trial was held in 1868, more than 40 years after the purported haunting, to look into the Bell Witch’s history. Judge John M. Fleming presided over the trial, which took place in Springfield, Tennessee. James C. Kerr and Jesse H. Ingram, publishers of a book about the Bell Witch, were the plaintiffs in the case. Former Bell family servant Richard Williams and his wife Lucy Williams were the defendants.

The trial started on February 11 and went on for a few days. The Bell family, neighbors, and other locals were called as witnesses to provide testimony regarding their encounters with the Bell Witch. Several witnesses claimed that the events were supernatural in character, while others argued that they could be explained by natural phenomena. This led to a lot of conflicting and confused testimony.

Richard and Lucy Williams, the defendants, were charged with spreading untrue and malicious rumors about the Bell family and their purported haunting. They disputed the charges, saying that they were simply retelling tales that they had heard from others.

Judge Fleming ultimately threw out the lawsuit, claiming that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the Williamses had knowingly propagated false information concerning the Bell Witch. The Bell Witch’s enigma was only partially clarified by the trial, and to this day, people are still fascinated by and speculate about the mythology.

It should be emphasized that historians and paranormal enthusiasts continue to disagree on the precise nature and reality of the Bell Witch narrative. Some contend that the account is proof of supernatural activity, while others say that the events depicted in the folklore may have been the result of mental illness or another natural phenomena.

Regardless of one’s interpretation of the legend, the story of the Bell Witch remains a fascinating and enduring piece of American folklore.

2. Long-Bell Expedition, 1820

A group of men made the Long-Bell Expedition of 1820 in an effort to look into the paranormal activities connected to the Bell Witch near Adams, Tennessee. The Bell family had supposedly been the target of the Bell Witch for several years, who also purportedly attacked the Bell family physically and verbally.

Richard Bell, a Bell family member, served as the expedition’s leader and was joined by a number of well-known locals. A doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, a farmer, and several other men made comprised the group. In order to look into the weird happenings and try to expel the spirit, they made their way to the Bell farm.

Upon arriving at the ranch, the group set up a new camp and began conducting their disquisition. They snappily began to witness the same supernatural marvels that the Bell family had been reporting for times. They heard unexplained noises, saw objects move on their own, and indeed felt physical attacks from an unseen force.

As the disquisition continued, the group came decreasingly alarmed and convinced that they were dealing with a important supernatural reality. They tried to communicate with the spirit, asking it to reveal its identity and intentions. In response, the spirit reportedly spoke to them, using colorful voices and claiming to be several different realities.

Even though the Long-Bell Expedition continued for several weeks, it was unable to stop the paranormal phenomena connected to the Bell Witch. The group departed the farm without solving the haunting, and the Bell family endured paranormal occurrences for a number of years after that.

Since the Bell Witch legend has persisted for almost 200 years, it has gained popularity as a subject for paranormal study and investigation. In spite of several attempts to explain the incidents connected to the Bell Witch, paranormal activities are still a mystery.

5. The Bell Witch Cave

The Bell Witch Cave is a tourist attraction in Adams, Tennessee, in the United States. Visitors can explore the network of underground caves while taking guided tours of the cave and learning about the ghostly Bell Witch lore. Information on visiting The Bell Witch Cave is provided below:

Visitors can take guided tours of The Bell Witch Cave all year long, though the hours of operation may change according to the season. To find out the most recent tour schedules and ticket costs, visitors can check the official website.

A experienced guide who will share facts about the Bell Witch Cave’s history and stories will lead the trip, which usually lasts 45 to 60 minutes. The cave’s stream and many rock formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone, will be visible to visitors.

The Bell Witch Cave
The Bell Witch Cave

It’s important to note that the Bell Witch Cave is privately owned, and visitors are expected to follow the rules and regulations set by the owners. Photography is not allowed inside the cave, and visitors are advised to wear sturdy shoes and dress appropriately for the underground environment.

All the details are updated on their official website.

6. Some Posts and Books on The Bell Witch

There are several books that are written on the Famous Bell Witch of Tennessee. Some of them are-

1. “The Bell Witch: An American Haunting” by Brent Monahan –

Based on actual records and tales from eyewitnesses, this novel tells a fictitious account of the Bell Witch Haunting. This version of the folklore is skillfully worded and suspenseful.

2. “The Bell Witch: The Full Account” by Richard Bell –

Richard Bell, a member of the Bell family and the author of this book, gives a thorough and in-depth description of the Bell Witch haunting. He looks at the many legend-related theories and incorporates primary source material.

3. “The Bell Witch: A Mysterious Spirit” by Charles River Editors –

In this book, the Bell Witch mythology and its historical background are briefly discussed. Primary sources and eyewitness testimonies are also included.

There are also several famous blog posts that are written on The Bell Witch. Some of them are-

1. “The Bell Witch Haunting: America’s Most Terrifying Ghost Story” by Ranker –

This post provides an overview of the Bell Witch legend and its historical context. It also includes photos and illustrations related to the story.

2. “The Bell Witch: America’s Most Famous Ghost Story” by Mysterious Universe –

This post explores the various theories surrounding the Bell Witch legend, including the possibility of a poltergeist or demonic entity.

3. “The Bell Witch: The Strange Case of Tennessee’s Most Famous Poltergeist” by Live About –

This article tells the Bell Witch story in great detail, including both original sources and eyewitness reports.

These articles and publications offer a range of viewpoints on the Bell Witch legend and are a fantastic place to start for people who want to learn more about this well-known ghost story.

7. “The Bell Witch Haunting”: A Movie

Glenn Miller and Michael Perrine’s 2013 horror film “The Bell Witch Haunting” was scripted by Perrine. The horror film follows a team of ghost hunters as they journey to Adams, Tennessee, to look into the Bell Witch mystery. It is made in the found-footage technique. The Bell family’s supposed 18th-century haunting by the Bell Witch is the basis for a loosely based on the movie.

A team of ghost hunters from the television programe “Ghost Sightings” arrives in Adams, Tennessee at the start of the film. Kate Baines, the team’s leader, is a psychic who thinks they can find proof of the Bell Witch. They are greeted by John Bell, a local historian, who shares with them the tale of the Bell family and the reputed witch’s haunting of their home.

The witch was claimed to have tormented John Bell’s ancestor, who was also named John Bell, for a number of years and to have killed him.

The Bell Witch of tennessee
The Bell Witch Haunting/ Imbd

The platoon sets up cameras throughout the Bell family grange and begins their disquisition. Strange circumstances begin passing, and they capture footage of strange voices and apparitions. The psychic Kate begins to feel a presence in the house and begins to have fancies of the Bell Witch.

As the disquisition continues, the platoon becomes decreasingly alarmed, and several members of the platoon decide to leave. still, Kate remains before, determined to capture substantiation of the Bell Witch. She’s ultimately held by the witch, and the other platoon members return to the house to try and save her.


The team faces off against the Bell Witch one last time in the film as they attempt to drive the ghost from the property. The team leaves the house at the film’s conclusion, still unsure of what they have just seen.

The Bell Witch Haunting is an all-around standard found-footage horror film that builds tension with jump scares and a spooky mood. The Bell Witch mythology is largely based on a true story, however the movie makes significant changes to the legend and does not stay completely loyal to it.

That would be interesting to watch, nevertheless, for those who enjoy found-footage horror films and paranormal investigations.

You can watch this movie for free.


The legend of the Bell Witch has gained popularity, and over the years it has undergone numerous modifications and alterations. Whether the Bell Witch existed in reality or whether the occurrences detailed in the folklore actually happened is unknown. While some people think the Bell Witch was a real ghost, others think the tale is a fabrication or the work of the family’s imagination.

Regardless of the veracity of the tradition, the narrative of the Tennessee Bell Witch is a captivating and intriguing one of the paranormal.

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