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The Bell Witch

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posted on Jan, 15 2005 @ 02:02 AM
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I have already done an ATS search for the Bell Witch, and haven’t found any posts on the topic, which surprises me.

Basically, when north-central Tennessee was settled at the beginning of the 19th century, the Bell family of pioneers in Adams county were plagued by a supernatural presence which had a great deal of hatred for the patriarch, John Bell. John Bell died after being poisoned—he and others claimed that the witch poured a bottle of unknown contents into his mouth while he was sleeping. Back in those days, any supernatural entity was referred to as a witch, since witch meant any form of paranormal/e.s.p. activity; i.e. “water-witching” for dowsing.

I think the Bell Witch case is probably the single best documented haunting in the U.S. With several hundred eyewitnesses over the course of at least three generations, and claims of paranormal presence in Adams county which continue to this day. It is claimed that Future POTUS Andrew Jackson journeyed to visit the Bell Witch, but his horse refused to go within sight of the farmhouse. Many residents of that area will not say “Bell Witch” except when giving directions, for fear that they will be attacked, even as much as 20 or 30 miles from the cave.

Here is my own experience:

I have an endless appetite for the paranormal, although I am generally a skeptic. That is one reason I don’t usually post on this paranormal forum; many here seem to believe anything. Anyway, I had heard the story of the Bell witch from a friend while watching the “Blair Witch Project.” He was really p.o.’d at the movie, claiming that they had ripped off a TRUE story of his native Tennessee, ruining the name, and making up their own bad plot. He said that “Blair Witch Project is to Bell Witch as Bram Stoker is to Vlad the Impaler.” He stomped out of the movie.

I was in central Tennessee about 5 years ago now. I was staying at the home of a group of friends just north of Nashville, and I told them over Sunday brunch that I wanted to go see the Bell Witch. We talked about how several of them had heard that if you sat up till midnight, staring into a mirror and saying “I hate the Bell Witch,” she will appear in the mirror and reach out and scratch your face. They all said it was a crock, even though none of them had been there or researched it. I talked about my theories of the paranormal. I told them that even if there were no truth to the legend, it would be an interesting anthropological expedition, to visit the little town in the grips of the B.W. We all went to different rooms to take a nap. For my part, I dreamed of I was looking in the mirror over the dresser in the room I was napping in, and that instead of my reflection, there was a gray humanoid shape in the mirror, that slowly resolved into the image of an old hag in a shawl. She was cussing me for doubting her. I woke up with my hair standing on end. The other adults in the house were waking up, too. It seems we had EACH dreamed of the Bell Witch at the same instant.

None of us took the idea seriously, but now we definitely wanted to go and see the B. W. site. I got on the internet, and found a phone number for tours. I talked to the daughter of the family who runs the site. She sounded like a teenager and said her dad gave the tours, but that he and the rest of the family were ill. She added that if we wanted to come, she would give us a tour.

We ran to the car and zoomed off with an atlas in one hand and cameras in the other. The countryside is beautiful, rolling hills covered with corn and tobacco fields. We got lost several times, but finally found the tourist sign pointing to the Bell farm. The Bells have moved away decades ago. There are only two direct members of the family still alive, from what I remember. They don’t live in North America any more, and only contact the caretakers via lawyer.

We showed up and the young lady who was very sweet and produced THICK photo albums of various phenomena that had been photographed on the property, as well as copies of newspaper and magazine accounts of the Bell Witch. She recited a rehearsed lecture, and did a fair job of covering up her boredom as she went. She also had several thin books for sale, and I bought one of each.

The girl asked if we had flashlights. She kept going in the house and talking to her mom. She had walkie-talkies, and kept testing them over and over. I could tell that she was generally frightened, but assumed it was just a show for the tourists.

She led us down a gravel path, down to the river below the homesite. You could not have found the cave without a guide, even with the path, which disappears into the rocky face of a steep hill that must be scaled to get into the cave. There are handrails in the tough spots, but you need to be basically fit in order to get to it. Turns out the cave is directly below the house, but was undiscovered until members of the Bell family had already started dying off.

The girl gave an in-depth account of the history of the B.W., and pointed out different parts of the cave. It was nearly 100 F outside, but was in the low 70’s in the cave. There are blind, eyeless shrimp and crayfish in the creek that flows in the darkness of the cave. Her dad had installed lights in the ceiling, about a hundred yards into the cave. I realized that the girl was honestly shaking, and in her presentation about every “page” of information, she’d stop and call her dad by walkie-talkie, to tell him everything was still o.k.

She took us to the end of the lighted portion. She apologized but said that she would not take anyone any further, since flashlights often went dead for no reason. I noticed that she held onto a wall the whole time. She said that more than once the lights had failed during a tour, and she had had to crawl out in the dark by herself, leading other tourists who were mad and scared.

As we were talking in the central chamber of the cave, I noticed a cloud of mist forming between us while we were conversing. I asked the others if they saw it too. All said yes, including the guide. At first I speculated that the cloud was formed by warm air from the outside entering the cave and moving over the ice-cold water. But the mist was about 45 ft. from the brook, and was not swirling in any air currents. I walked around it, trying to find what was causing it. No one else could find an explanation. None of us are smokers. The girl was totally freaked out, and started calling for her dad on the walkie talkie, but it was totally dead. I tried it myself, and the power LED on the unit wouldn’t light up. It didn’t even click when you keyed the mike, which most will do if they have any power at all. I got two pictures that came out. I wish I owned a scanner so I could post them. They were taken with a disposable Kodak and printed on regular glossy film. I didn’t know about getting them made to a floppy disc back then.

Anyway, all of us got pictures, and made our way out of the cave. The lights started flickering as we went out, and I will admit that my heart was racing and I was leaving. The lights finally failed as we saw the light coming in from the entrance. I will confess that I felt some presence, which seemed to cling to us the rest of the afternoon, until we had left Adams county, TN.

I remember asking the girl if she was related to the Bells and she said no. Her father had lost his job in Nashville, and saw an ad in the paper, for farm labor. The job turned out to be overseeing the Bell farm. The lawyers said he could operate it as a tourist attraction if he wished. She said that a number of families had tried over the years, none staying more than about 5 or 6 years. So I don’t know if her family is still doing it, or even if it’s still open as a tourist attraction.

I will say that the “fog” seemed aware; as soon as I commented on it, I thought it began moving TOWARDS me. My friends told me (once we were out of the county) that they had the same impression. I remember that I continued to have weird dreams for about 6 months afterward.

Personally, I believe the Bell Witch is a type of psychic vampire, that has learned to survive the first death, and forestall the dissolution of the psychic or astral body/self by feeding off of the strong emotions of others, especially their fear.

I also got the feeling that the Bell Witch was not a ghost or human disembodied spirit, but was an elemental that had developed consciousness, and enjoyed scaring the whole county.

I had occasion to interview a one-time county officer of Adams County a year or two later, and she told me that she agreed with my conclusions. She said that the creature could sense when anyone in town was thinking about ‘her,’ and would come if they continued to focus on her. She told about her son giving her a lift to the dentist, and his car stalling out when he had begun talking about what the Bell Witch ‘really was.’ She thought that the entity had basically migrated to the town of Adams, because there were more people there to be fed by, and that the town itself seemed more haunted that the Bell farm does now.

Here are some websites:
www.bellwitch.org...
www.bellwitchfansite.com...
www.ghosts.org...

Anyway, as soon as I can locate a scanner (maybe at kinko’s?) I’ll post the two or three pics I still have.

If you want to visit the Bell Witch Cave, I think you can find a website or call Adams, TN city hall, since it they hope to capitalize on the tourism that ought to come, but never seems to. Maybe too many people leave scared?




posted on Jan, 15 2005 @ 10:12 AM
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I've always been interested in the Bell Witch story since a young age. Of course, it scared the hell out of me then, but left me wanting more info. I believe what I found so interesting, albeit disturbing as well, was that this entity was so damn malicious. I believe it is one of the only hauntings ever to directly lead to someones death. Pretty scary stuff.



posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 03:52 AM
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The case has intrigued me greatly in the past, so I did a little bit of research for myself and I came up with the conclusion that the case is either greatly exagerated or a huge hoax. Contemporary sources (as shown on the ghost.org link you posted) are completely lacking, there's no way to assess many facts, etc. Of course this doens't deny that something strange may have happened (or still be happening) in Adams county. I tried looking into the local Native traditions, but I haven't been able to find anything specific for Adams county. Maybe I'll have more luck in the future. Many "haunted" places, like Hockomock Swamp in New Jersey, have Native tradition about evil spirits, ghosts, etc. About your own personal experience, while I do not doubt that something very scary and very strange happened to your group, couldn't it have been generated by you unconsciously? If I remember correctly, some paranormal phenomena have been generated by people expecting a weird phenomena to happen. For example, the Gray Lady of Glamis Castle is a relatively recent addition to the host of wraiths inhabiting the historic Scottish site. Family traditions don't mention anything about it, long-serving workers have never seen it, and it was unheard of before the castle opened to mass tourism in the '70s and started to promote itself heavily as a ghost hotspot. Many people went there expecting to see something and this desire may have triggered the appearance of this traditional ghostly figure. Alexandra David Neel describes very well the possibility to create a ghostly apparition by the means of self suggestion and meditation in "Magic and mystery in Tibet" and I believe this process may explain some relatively recent hauntings. Later...



posted on Jan, 16 2005 @ 04:36 AM
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Damn... I might have to check this out when I go to the US... Although it seems alot of topics like this seem to lose credibility when a movie comes out.. Apart from that I'am really keen to see the pictures you took. Witchs in general are proberly one of the most scariest things to encounter if they are true, because how do you fight something like this if it attacks you? Going into that cave was quite brave old boy. I'm glad you posted this and shared your story. This is the first I heard of it.
What type of dreams did you have about the B.W. where they intense? I'd really like to hear about them if you don't mind sharing.



posted on Jan, 17 2005 @ 07:23 PM
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Originally posted by Kakugo
. . . I came up with the conclusion that the case is either greatly exagerated or a huge hoax. Contemporary sources (as shown on the ghost.org link you posted) are completely lacking, there's no way to assess many facts, etc. Of course this doens't deny that something strange may have happened (or still be happening) in Adams county

. . . . About your own personal experience, while I do not doubt that something very scary and very strange happened to your group, couldn't it have been generated by you unconsciously?

. . . . Alexandra David Neel describes very well the possibility to create a ghostly apparition by the means of self suggestion and meditation in "Magic and mystery in Tibet" and I believe this process may explain some relatively recent hauntings. Later...


"Magic and Mystery in Tibet" is one of my all-time favorite books, and I have recommeded it here on ATS, to all and sundry, numerous times.

I watched the fog forming for probably a minute before I said anything; I only did so because I noticed the rest of the group was looking at it, and wondering if anyone else could see it.

Was the phenomenon generated by our expectations of it????

That is a critical question I believe, in paranormal research. I feel like there was an independent entity involved, one that was aware of our presence, and responded quickly to us, more quickly than our "groupthink" would have agreed on how a "bell witch" ought to act.

The Bell Witch lore HAS evolved since the 1820's. That evolution has been continuous, though. Until WWII, most people outside of Tennesee had never heard of it--as I had not until visiting friends who lived nearby. The cave was discovered because relatives were trying to find if the house had been unintentionally built on an indian burial ground.

As I recall reading, that part of Adams county has absolutely NO evidence of native Americans EVER living there, in a way that make it conspicuous by its absence.

I believe that the things I witnessed were objective phenomena, in the sense that our cameras captured the same images we saw with naked eyes. Again, I and another person waved our hands around the mist, which didn't seem to respond to any drafts. Every member of the group except the guide walked around the fog, and viewed it from all angles, I am satisfied that if you had been there, you would have seen the same thing.

I have been to other areas reputed to be haunted, and have never had such a dramatic experience after being present only a few minutes; so there IS something special about that spot. . .

I believe the phenomenon you are thinking of is called a "tulpa" in tibetan. If you have read my blog page, then you know I think most UFO's are actually tulpas. However, in the instance of the Bell Witch, I think this is not a synthetic entity created by other human minds. I think it has autonomy and interactivity in a way that tulpas generally do not.

I think the phenomenon is actually a "psychic vampire," in language of the writings of Dione Fortune; an entity that knowingly feeds off of the psychic energy (specifically fear) generated by the people who witness it. The original reports of the Bell family certainly give weight to this conclusion.

As for dreams, the crone in a shawl continued to appear in my dreams for about 6 months, usually out of context, and holding a tiny bottle like the little ones that hold st. Joseph's children's asperin.

By the way, I now believe that I was plagued by a pyschic vampire as a small child; only I could see it. It appeared as a yellow transparent "ghost" shape, with little twinkling lights in it. If I tried to tell anyone about it, it would make me quit breathing and have convulsions. I was diagnosed with petit mal epilepsy. The phenomenon went away after soon after I hit puberty; it was also at this time that I was baptised.

The fact is, all of these phenomena are open to multiple interpretations, and accepting any one conclusion usually means discarding other relavant data. Despite our mechanistic mindset, multiple interpretations can be true at the same time. Maybe the Bell Witch is a hoax, aided by our willingness to believe. Maybe I DID have petit mal epilepsy as a child. Yet those explanations, while undeniable, definitely do not tell the whole story.

I am not wedded to any one interpretation of the data, and am interested in other opinions. Right now I'm headed for a copy place that says they have a color digital scanner . . .



posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 08:30 AM
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Good, cant wait to see the pictures... yes, the phenomenon I was referring to is the tulpa, don't have much in a way of good memory anymore (my age's catching up). By the way: have you ever heard of some modern day psychic trying to figure out what happened in Adams Country? I haven't been able to find out anything about it... since there's plenty of self-proclaimed psychics going around reputed haunted places, it would be interesting to see them going to really scary place once in a while.



posted on Jan, 18 2005 @ 12:22 PM
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Yes, I have heard of psychics going "in the field." I suspect that they only visit properties that their business partners can develop as "ghostly" bed-and-breakfasts, etc.!


D**N! I can only find 2 or three of my "cave pics," and looking at them now, 5 years later, I know they won't persuade anyone of anything. I am still digging through the old photos to see if I can find more of them. I thought I had pix of the outside of the cave . . .

Frau Dr. says for me to go to walmart, where they can scan the pix onto a disc for cheap. I'll be doing that before the next weekend. Sorry for the delay. A busy work-week ahead. The Boss-who-must-not-be-named must be propitiated!





[edit on 18-1-2005 by dr_strangecraft]



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:03 PM
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reply to post by dr_strangecraft
 


I know this thread is three years old but after reading it i just had to reply. I too have experienced strange experiences such as your own. I am being tested for petit-mal at the moment - which i am is very rare in adults. Where do i start. As a child i would like to spend time on my own (although i aso enjoyed playing with my sister too) thinking about things, allsorts, qustions i would just sit and try to figure out or analyse what i have been told and taught. I would look at the wold areound me, and ponder on it. Even from being about 3 years old, i was very curious. I wasn't shy but i didn't like being the centre of attention either. Sometimes i would just go into a trance like state and appear to be day dreaming but i wasn't it was like i'd disconnected myself from the world around me. When disturbed i would then not be able to recall what has happend around me. Say like you are watching tv and you make a comment about what had just been on. I honestly be able to tell you, or what i was thinking about. My eyes open the whole time. This doesnt just happen from watching tv. This happens many times a day and can really slow me down. I reeber having a lot of deja-vu type experiences too. Very frequently. Still do occansionally. There was one particular time i can reember i was about 3-5 yesr old in the backseat of my mums car, next to my nanna. i remember feeling very surreal like it felt strange. It felt like i had just arrived in my body at that moment as the car was travelling - i was not waking up - i was sat up awake. It was strange because i knew who everyone was but felt very new. Familar but unfamilar. I also felt like i had just been enlightened and i knew all the answers for my questions. I felt this, but did not actully know the anwers or the questions. I know this may sound a little crazy but i seriously am telling you how it was. And i can remember that far back. I also had this ring of light that would appear - Yellow. It felt like it was my freind and i even used to make wishes to it - please remember i was a child. It made me feel reassured esocialy when i needed it. i had bad nightmares as i child. and dreams which i thought were memories which my family told me i must have dreamt. For a while when i was little i was really not sute which of my memories were dreams and those which were of actual events. I became very doubtlful of myself. I'm sre the ring of light went chromagraph towards its disappaering. I'm sure the back ground always black and the ring of light yellow but bright yellow toward the edges of the rind and white light in the centre of the ring - always a black hole in the ring - like fat glowstick ring, its like your mind could bathe in its presence - i know it sounds crazy, but it is true. A year or so ago I experience an extremer side to my staring spells. My head would start to feel like my head was getting a fuzzy feeling - and start to feel intense heat and pressure pain at the top of my head. I felt a little naucseuos and stared to feel slightly panicky but trying to remain in control. I got up - not quick, but it felt like i had got up to quick and felt feint so sat back down. Fearing i mightactually be sick i made for the toilet yet again. Getting there seemed to take forever and i felt my my legs where made o Jelly. When i walked in the bathroom i looked i rested my hand on the basin and then blecked. Whe i came to it felt like i'd only been out seconds but i do not honestly know. I felt a little scare and sent back upstairs to my boyfriend and laid down. It felt like my throat was getting very tight and like someine was kneeling on my chest. This passed and i then felt a rush of eurphoria and happyness. My body felt floaty and light and i felt very free and very giggly. Like i was high! It felt as though all my worries and stresses were gone and a huge..



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:14 PM
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weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt really elated. And all my muscle aches and tensions were gone. I went through a really bad patch and this happened again, and again all my stresses vanished. this has only happened twice. I am feeling at the moemnt that i need this to happen again, my shoulders are feeling very weighed down, right across my neck and up and down my spine - and at the lower part of the back of my skull. Sorry if this seems a lot of nonsense just wondered if i am really a freak or if any one else has aver experienced anything like this themselves - any of it? Due to my boyfriend being worried about my staring spells he reasearched it and came up with petit - mal. Its symtoms fit mine. even down to the odd spasm now and again. I have seen a consultant and am next going for and EEG and if inconclusive and MRI scan. However, the other day i accidently stubled upon a couple of threads on ATS on Chakra and NLP which led me to reasearh a little more on the subject on the net. The Crown Chakra says about feeling pressure at the top of your head, I dont suppose it could be related could it??

www.crystalinks.com...



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:14 PM
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weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I felt really elated. And all my muscle aches and tensions were gone. I went through a really bad patch and this happened again, and again all my stresses vanished. this has only happened twice. I am feeling at the moemnt that i need this to happen again, my shoulders are feeling very weighed down, right across my neck and up and down my spine - and at the lower part of the back of my skull. Sorry if this seems a lot of nonsense just wondered if i am really a freak or if any one else has aver experienced anything like this themselves - any of it? Due to my boyfriend being worried about my staring spells he reasearched it and came up with petit - mal. Its symtoms fit mine. even down to the odd spasm now and again. I have seen a consultant and am next going for and EEG and if inconclusive and MRI scan. However, the other day i accidently stubled upon a couple of threads on ATS on Chakra and NLP which led me to reasearh a little more on the subject on the net. The Crown Chakra says about feeling pressure at the top of your head, I dont suppose it could be related could it??

www.crystalinks.com...




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