The Bell Witch Part One
Every good Tennessean knows about the Bell Witch. Books have been written about it and movies have been made retelling it. Heck, when I was in Elementary school they told us about Andrew Jackson spending one night with the Bell Witch and preferring to win New Orleans again over spending another night in those haunted woods.
I’ve known the story my whole life, of John Bell being tormented by a disembodied voice and his eventual death at the witch’s hand; of the spirit singing drinking songs while mourners wept over his grace. I’ve heard about strange occurrences when friends visited The Bell Witch Cave.
I knew of the story of Kate Batts, a neighbor of John Bell that believed she had been cheated by Bell. I knew that the voice heard in the night claimed to be Batts’s spirit come to seek vengeance.
In Tennessee, the Bell Witch is as real as the wind blowing through the trees I’m sitting under as I write this. You never see that wind, but the leaves moving across the yard as if raked away by an unseen band are proof that the wind is there.
For my part, I’ve always enjoyed a good ghost story; I’ve never taken them very seriously, but there’s nothing better on those first few gloomy cool nights of fall than an old legend. As a child Daddy and his brothers would tell us these stories, building up suspense like the master storytellers they are until they dropped the bomb that the ghost scratching at the window was really some tree blowing in the wind.
You could blame it on the way I was raised, I suppose, but I’ve just always figured there was a rational explanation for almost anything that happens. There’s very rarely anything in the dark that isn’t there in the day time. I’ve never spent too much time scared of ghosts, that is until the day before Halloween 2017 when, for a few fleeting moments I was certain I was about to come face to face with the Bell Witch…