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John Bell (1750-1820)

John Bell (1750-1820) and his family moved to Middle Tennessee from Halifax County, North Carolina in the early 1800s (Norfleet, 2005). They settled on land located along the Red River near the town of Port Royal, which was thriving at the time. BellÆs farm lay in Robertson County, close to the boundary with Montgomery County. It is said that sometime late in 1816, John and his daughter Betsy Bell began to be plagued by a goblin-type of entity that came to be known as either the æBell WitchÆ or æKate BattsÆ Witch.Æ The entity that became known as the Bell Witch appeared to John one day when he was inspecting his fields (The Bell). It was some kind of animal, but ran off before he could shoot it. From then on, his children began waking up frightened by strange sounds, having their bedcovers pulled ff, and pillows tossed on the floor.

The entity then began attacking family members and even visitors to the house, and it began haunting the community (The Bell, 2005). The witch became known far and wide, and even Andrew Jackson visited the bell household in 1819 to experience the æWitchÆ firsthand (Norfleet, 2005). While waiting for the Witch, it attacked one of his soldiers so badly, he begged for them to leave. John Bell was an active member of the Red River Primitive Baptist Church once he arrived in Tennessee (Norfleet, 2005). However, in 1818, he was excommunicated for the sin of usury as the result of a slave sale dispute with a neighbor, Benjamin Batts. Some people suspect the real reason Bell was excommunicated was because of his involvement with the Bell Witch phenomenon, which had become public knowledge.

John Bell died in December of 1821, and according to Witch legends, a small vial containing an unidentified liquid was found that Bell had taken some of the previous evening (The Bell, 2005). John Bell, Jr. gave some of the liquid to the cat, and it died almost instantly. The Witch spoke up then ...

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John Bell (1750-1820). (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:43, March 18, 2019, from