The legend regarding the Bell Witch is one of the most interesting we have in America, and definitely one of the most unique. It is one of the most well documented cases of a haunting, and even resulted in the spirit taking a man’s life.
So, of course, I decided it would be a good idea to go check out the Bell Witch Cave.
An American Haunting, The Bell Witch Haunting, and Bell Witch: the Movie were all based on this legend.
An episode of Ghost Adventures on the Travel Channel was filmed there.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story of the Bell Witch, I’ll give you a quick history:
From what I can gather from various sources, including the current owners of the property, the Bell family was plagued by a spirit, commonly referred to as a “witch”, that made their lives miserable. The entity would knock on the walls outside the home. Then inside. It would manifest itself to others, with the ability to speak and even change voices. It would claim to be dead natives buried on the property, or sometimes even claimed to be everything. But most commonly, it liked to claim the name of a peculiar woman in town by the name of Kate. So, frequently, that’s what they refer to the spirit as – Kate.
Word of the paranormal activity at the Bell property spread, even reaching Andrew Jackson, who decided to pay a visit and see the witch himself. On his way, his wagon was stopped, and the spirit spoke to him and the men traveling with him, promising they would meet again, later.
Over time, things grew worse. Mainly, the two most targeted members of the family were the father, John Bell, and Elizabeth “Betsy” Bell, who was frequently tormented, even being pushed so far that she ended an engagement because the spirit was threatening her.
But the most drastic event involved John Bell’s physical suffering and, ultimately, his death.
John had grown weak, his tongue “acting with a mind of it’s own”, and spitting food back out. Eventually, he became bed bound. Then, John took a turn for the worse, and the voice took credit for his demise. Lucy Bell, John’s wife, found a peculiar medicine bottle in their cabinet with a black liquid inside. The witch told them that was her special medicine for John. Lucy gave it to one of the animals, which ended up dying as John had.
So, while I was in Tennessee, I decided it would be cool to check out the Bell property, and hopefully the cave.
I thought it was interesting that they have a warning about taking anything, such as rocks, etc, from the cave. Not for any stealing type reasons, but because it never goes well for the people that have taken anything. I witnessed this firsthand, but I’ll get to that later. If you didn’t believe them, they offered PLENTY of letters from people apologizing and sending back whatever they’d taken home with them. In some cases, it was even items they had purchased in the gift shop.
I had joked, as we were parking, that I would take a stone from the cave. My mom didn’t find this very funny. Later, I decided it was definitely something I should not do.
The cabin, which was a replica, wasn’t the most remarkable thing. It was cool to have a room to be in while the audio played and told the history for those that didn’t know it. But I’d done my homework, so I was eager to get my new hiking shoes into that cave.
Before we went in, we were given a rundown about the graves around the entrance and inside the cave. Yup. Bodies.
That’s all I could think about, going in.
Apparently, 2-3 thousand year old Native American graves were both outside the cave entrance, and actually within the cave, itself. Some bodies had been disturbed already by the former owners, as well as people that snuck in and stole a body. Not to mention, the bodies disturbed by the Bell children in the 1800s.
Yeah. You read that correctly. Someone stole a body.
Stone box grave where the Native American girl’s body was, before it was stolen:
I’m glad that I’m used to hikes and climbing around on rocks and such, because this would have been rough for anyone with poor balance. But what do you expect in a cave, right? Haha.
The cave itself was beautiful and fascinating to explore. But as you continued into the cave, it became more and more cramped. A few times I felt like a Tetris piece.
There were a few instances that I did feel like there was something watching me. I learned later that I wasn’t the only one.
In the back of the cave, as I was taking pictures of everything, I didn’t notice the face in the rocks I see clearly in the photos. Which is, apparently, pretty common there.
While nothing overly disturbing occurred during the time in the cave, there were a handful of weird things. Like a teenage girl there with her family that, despite being warned, picked up a rock. The entire time she was in the cave, things kept happening to her: rocks came from nowhere and hit her, she felt uncomfortable, and eventually ended up crying and wanting out.
We were warned even accidentally bringing things back had nasty consequences.
My mom listened to that, while I did not. Again, while nothing overly disturbing happened to me, I have had a string of odd things, including weird dreams.
Thanks, rocks stuck in my shoe.
Overall, it’s hard to deny that something happened at the Bell Witch Cave. Was it a ghost? Poltergeist? Even a demon? Let me know what you think in the comments!
And if you want me to go on more spooky adventures, let me know!