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The Elusive, Maddening Mystery Of The Bell Witch

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The basic contours of the story have been fixed for at least a century, since the 1894 publication of Martin van Buren Ingram’s An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch. According to Ingram, a mysterious series of events began to befall a prosperous farmer named John Bell in 1817. The Bell homestead was in Red River, Tennessee, an hour north of Nashville, near the Kentucky border in what is now the town of Adams. John and his wife Lucy had six children, including a daughter named Betsy who was 12 years old when the troubles began. One night in fall 1817, John Bell was walking through his corn field when he came across a strange animal, unlike any he’d ever seen. Assuming it was some kind of dog, he shot at it and it fled. Other disquieting events followed: His son Drew saw a strange bird soon thereafter, and Betsy reported seeing the body of a young girl in a green dress hanging from the trees in the forest nearby. Whatever it was, it didn’t stay in the forests or fields. Strange sounds filled the house at odd hours, including mysterious knocking, the sound of rats gnawing at bedposts, dogs barking and snarling, and chains being dragged across the floor. Bedsheets were torn from sleepers, and pillows were jerked from beneath their heads. Eventually, the Bells began to hear a woman’s voice: the entity, it seemed, could talk, and she talked a lot. She knew scripture, and seemingly things about the family that no one else could know… (READ MORE)

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