The Bell Witch – Adams, TN

In the early 1800s, John Bell moved his family from North Carolina to the Red River bottomland in Robertson County, Tennessee, settling in a community that later became known as Adams. Bell purchased some land and a large log home for his family. The Bells quickly made many friends and gained prominence in the community. John Bell acquired additional land and cleared a number of fields over the next several years.

One day in 1817, John Bell was inspecting his corn field when he encountered a strange-looking animal sitting in the middle of a corn row. Shocked by the appearance of this animal, which had the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit, Bell shot several times to no avail. The animal vanished. Bell thought nothing more about the incident–at least not until after dinner. That evening, the Bells began hearing “beating” sounds on the outside walls of their house.

These mysterious sounds continued with increased force each night. Bell and his sons often hurried outside to catch the culprit but always returned empty-handed. The noises were soon followed by more problems. The Bell children began waking up frightened and complaining of sounds much like rats gnawing at their bedposts. It wasn’t long until the children began complaining of more terrifying things–having their bed covers pulled and their pillows were tossed onto the floor by a seemingly invisible force.

As time went on, the Bells began to hear more strange noises. Only this time, they sounded like faint, whispering voices–too weak to understand–but sounded like a feeble old woman crying or singing hymns. The encounters escalated, and the Bells youngest daughter, Betsy, began experiencing physically brutal encounters with the entity. It relentlessly pulled her hair and slapped her, often leaving visible prints on her face and body for days at a time. The evil disturbances escalated over the next year to the point it was time for John Bell to share his “family trouble” with his closest friend and neighbor, James Johnston.

Johnston and his wife spent the night at the Bell home, where they were subjected to the same terrifying disturbances that the Bells had been. After having his bedcovers repeatedly removed, and being slapped, Johnston sprang out of bed, asking, “I ask you in the name of the Lord God, who are you and what do you want?” There was no response of any type, but the remainder of the night was peaceful.

As word of the Bell disturbances spread throughout the community, so did the entity’s antics. Over time, the its voice strengthened to the point it was loud and understandable. It sang hymns, quoted scripture, carried on intelligent conversation, and once quoted, word-for-word, two sermons that took place at the same time thirteen miles apart. During none of this time did anyone know who or what the entity was, or its purpose for tormenting the Red River Settlement.

Word eventually spread outside the settlement, even as far as Nashville, where one Andrew Jackson became interested.

John Bell, Jr. and Jesse Bell fought under General Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans, and had developed a good rapport with him. In 1819, Jackson got word of the disturbances at the Bell home and decided to pay a personal visit. Jackson and his entourage, consisting of several men and a large wagon, journeyed from Nashville to the Bell home. As the entourage approached the Bell property, the wagon suddenly stopped. The horses tried pulling but to no avail–the wagon simply would not move.

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Fletcher Church Ghost – Fletcher, NC

Our story begins in the mountains of North Carolina, just south of Asheville in the town of Fletcher. Two young lovers had just gotten married when the War Between the States broke out, and the young man went north with a small band of Confederates to join the army.

Late one night soon afterwards, the new bride received a knock on her door. Dread filled her heart as she opened the door, and her worst fears were realized as she saw on her doorstep one of the young men her husband had gone off with to war, now barely recognizable through his bandages. The soldier handed her a letter her husband had written just a few days previously, as well as the Confederate cape that her husband had worn into battle, her husband’s sole possession at his death. Inconsolable, she took to wearing the cape where ever she went, and died of a broken heart just a few months later.

Calvary Episcopal Church, Fletcher, NC

Her spirit made its first appearance back in 1865, when she led a troop of yankees into an ambush near the town. The yankees had followed her along the road near the Calvary Episcopal Church, which was known to be used as housing by the Confederate soldiers. Though the yankees were soundly routed from the town, the retreating union soldiers were given orders to locate the young woman in order that she might be prosecuted for her treachery. While they had no luck, the soldiers may not have searched all that long, as the survivors of the ambush reported that the woman in question just vanished in front of their eyes as soon as the Confederate troops opened fire.

Townspeople said she acted in revenge of her husband’s death, and they say that she can still be seen out on the road near the church, her Confederate cape draped around her shoulders.

Directions: Take Exit 50 off of I-40 in Asheville, so that you are headed South on Highway 25, AWAY from the Biltmore House. The exit for 25A (to bypass Skyland), headed south, will work too, but I forgot to write that exit number down, sorry. Anyway, about 8.5 miles south on Highway 25, also called Hendersonville Road, you’ll cross over into Henderson County, and you’ll see a traffic light just ahead. The Calvary Episcopal Church is on your left just before you get to the light. The light is at the intersection of Hendersonville Road and Old Airport Road, and as you’ll realize if you go, neither road is a terribly good place to try riding a horse these days….

Fletcher Church, Fletcher NC

The Story of the Fletcher Church Ghost

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Legend of Payne Road (Edwards Rd) – Rural Hall, NC

There are many different versions of this story with some differences in the names and so on. However these are some of the more popular versions of the tale.

The first tale relates to the Payne Plantation, one of the largest home sites in the area. The plantation owner, Mr. Payne built the place on a valley with steep hills on all sides, and the mansion was situated on the north hill so that he could overlook the entire plantation. Slave shacks scattered the hillsides, and a creek ran through the center of the valley supplying water to the entire plantation.

A small chapel was located 250 yds and 45 degrees to the right of the mansion, and the main field was located 900 ft directly in front of the mansion. The slave shacks were located about 100 degrees to the right of the mansion, and then 200 yds in front of the house lay a small bridge, just large enough for one carriage.

This first story goes that Payne, the father of four girls, was an extremely racist man. The girls grew up isolated from the outside world due to Payne’s over-protectiveness. They grew to despise their father as well as to despise his cruelty to his slaves. Payne eventually learned that his oldest daughter was pregnant by one of his own slaves, and Payne quite literally lost his mind. He cursed the Lord and turned to devil-worship, brutally sacrificing the slave to the evil now within him. Then just a few months later, he learned that his youngest daughter was also pregnant by one of his slaves, and he then cracked once and for all. Payne brutally sacrificed that slave and began to storm through the shacks with anything he could lay his hands on, everything from sticks to muskets to farm tools. Then, in his maddening rage, he murdered his own family. Soon afterwards he burned just about his entire plantation, killing almost all of the remaining slaves. This is supposedly why the trees on Payne Road are so young and the grave stones are charred.

The second story is that of a 1933 or 1936 Ford, 3-window hot rod. The driver wrecked on Payne Road on the second to last curve, the sharpest, at almost 180 degrees. The curve is also located 45 degrees to the right of the old mansion site, in the same spot of the chapel (where Payne once worshipped Satan) stood. The driver is said to have died a slow death as bystanders stood by helplessly, watching the flames consume his car.

Many people today claim to see the rounded lights of the Ford following their car on Payne road all the way to the old chapel site, only to disappear as they cross over the bridge.

Another story simply tells of a man who lived in an old farm house on the site with his wife and four children back in the early 1800s. Yes, yes, obviously this story conflicts somewhat with the aforementioned Payne plantation.

One night, after once again arguing bitterly with his wife, the husband decided that the root of all his marital problems stemmed from his children. So he bound his wife to a chair in front of the fireplace and gagged her. He selected his biggest carving knife, then brought the oldest girl downstairs. “Kiss your mother goodnight” he told her, and as she did he went behind the girl with the knife. He then dispensed with his children one by one in this manner, finally going upstairs to get his last child, his infant daughter. But as he looked down at the little girl, he realized he couldn’t bring himself to slit her throat like he had done the others. So he decided instead to throw her down the well in back of the house. As he walked out the back door, the mother finally worked her way free of her restraints. She jumped up and ran out the front door, down the road, and grabbed her baby daughter from her husband’s grasp. Unfortunately, however, her husband managed to catch up to her at the bridge and neatly lopped her head off with his knife. Then did away with his daughter as he’d planned and finally grotesquely, he hung himself at the bridge.

Supposedly, if you go to the bridge, stop your car and whistle “Dixie” (you’ve got to love these North Carolina ghost stories), you will soon make out the shape of the murdered woman’s ghost approaching your car, holding her head in her hands. And your car will not start when you try to restart it. Plus, if you walk up to the back of the house, you can hear the cries of a baby coming from the old well.

The last story involving an old barn where kids used to go to “watch the sailboat races” (I mean this figuratively!! and if you still don’t get it, come back when you’re older, dang it!). One prom night two kids didn’t come home after the party, and friends told their folks that they’d gone out to the old Payne Road barn. The parents drove down and saw the boy’s car parked outside. When they went in, they found the teenagers hanging from the rafters, still in their formal attire.


You’ll need to get to Rural Hall, a small town just north of Winston-Salem. In the middle of Rural Hall, Route 66 intersects with Route 65. From that intersection, begin traveling North on Route 66. You won’t go 2/10ths of a mile before you cross the railroad tracks, and immediately after the tracks you’ll see Edwards Road on the right (a little further up 66 you’ll see the new section of Payne Road on the right as well, but, like I said, don’t bother with it). Once you’re on Edwards Road, just follow along with the story above, but drive carefully! The roads are steep and with plenty of curves.

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