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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“Evidence” of the Paranormal and Ghosts

by Bobby Elgee, Sights Unseen Paranormal

Ghost hunting is not a science. Out of all the individuals and/or groups of ghost hunters in existence, very, very few actually have any experience with the scientific method or have any experience actually conducting experimental research.

Still, many groups will tell you that they have photos and audio of what are spirits; evidence of ghosts. As far as I am aware, there is no scientific evidence of the existence of ghosts or an afterlife. That is a question of faith at this point in time. If somebody knows something I don’t, please let me know!

As the member of a group whose members actually have some background conducting scientific research, I realize that ghost hunting doesn’t lend itself to a well-controlled scientific experiment. The methodologies are weak, the equipment used was never originally designed to detect ghosts, and it is nearly impossible to replicate the results.

Even more perturbing is the fact that certain groups are damaging the credibility of legitimate and accomplished paranormal researchers and parapsychologists by posting photographs that are easily dismissed as well-known and easily identifiable camera malfunctions and other artifacts of the photographic process.

Capturing a photograph of an orb or strange mist is just that. A photograph of a strange orb or mist. Competent paranormal investigators will attempt to rule out the anomaly….is it a reflection? Is it a bug? Is it dust? Is it condensation on the lens of the camera? Is it a problem with the developing and/or printing process? The logical possibilities are nearly endless, and yet, certain people will make a claim that “it’s a spirit orb,” or that the mist is representative of “the paranormal energy of the ghost that haunts the” location.

We try and look at our “evidence” with a critical eye, and include the use of accomplished photo consultants in an attempt to rule out all rational explanations. What we can’t explain means simply that, we can’t explain it. If we’ve done a good job ruling out everything, we may just be left with something paranormal.

Remember that the word ‘paranormal’ simply means ‘not scientifically explainable.’

That’s it. To take the next step and call a possibly paranormal photograph a picture of a ghost is a leap of faith that I, personally, can’t swallow. A person can certainly make that statement, but at that point it becomes an opinion, a statement based on belief and faith. I mean, it just as well could be a picture of a 1957 Chevy or Fred Flintstone. At that point, I can choose what I believe. There’s simply no evidence backing it up.

Our group members have varying beliefs. There is one thing we all agree with however….we’re never going to call a picture of a camera strap a “vortex through which spirits can enter our material realm” or a photograph of an orb “a spirit orb which shows a ghost trying to manifest itself.”

This is simply too big a stretch of illogical rationalization in our minds.

I’ve been a member of a group where, to be a member, you had to believe in ghosts! We’ve also had members in this group to whom every cold draft, every sound, and every strange photograph was a ghost, regardless of whether the phenomena was debunked or not.

We like to have fun, and our belief’s evolve everyday, but we feel that we have to be careful and measured in our response to what we call ‘evidence.’ 99% of the pictures we post on our Web site don’t contain anything paranormal. Capturing actual paranormal activity in photographs is quite rare. Also, the majority of EVPs can be debunked or certainly explained away by skeptics as something other then the voices of dead people. We post things of interest and for entertainment, but you won’t catch us calling something a ghost. To be quite honest, there are only two or three pieces of “evidence” I have captured over the years that I can say with near certainty are paranormal–unexplainable by conventional science.

As far as myself, I can definitely say I’ve experienced paranormal phenomena, phenomena that is unexplainable by science. As to what caused this phenomena, well, I can’t say. It’s simply unexplainable in my mind.

This is a hobby for us, and we like to have fun with it, and we don’t take ourselves too seriously, but, at the same point, however, in the spirit of transparency, we feel we have an obligation to call a spade a spade.

Sights Unseen Paranormal

Bobby Elgee is a lead investigator for Sights Unseen Paranormal, a small ghost hunting team based in New England. With a background in cognitive psychology and the publishing industry, he brings a common-sensical, practical/person center approach to paranormal investigations.

Ghost Stories and Creatures of the Night

Whether their existence is in the realm of reality or just a figment of human imagination, one thing is certain—Scary creatures of the night we come to know as ghosts never fail to capture our fascination.

It is intriguing to note that debates about the existence of ghosts have been waged for centuries. Paranormal believers spread the word of veracity to prove they exist while skeptics continue to look for hard and quantifiable evidence to disprove the former’s claim. The dispute goes on. 

Though not all of us have actual encounters with these scary creatures, we are made aware of their interaction with the living through urban legends. These have circulated through oral traditions and in a way, helped preserve traces of ancient traditions of the world.  In the recent years, many of them have been written making them more accessible to curious and skeptic minds alike. They may come in different forms, can be depicted as good or evil, and even be revered in some cultures as spirits of good fortune.

I have collected a list of and ghost stories and urban legends from all over the world that have contributed to people’s growing interest, if not fear, in these creatures of the night. So curl up, pull a blanket and brace yourself for a good scare.

Bloody Mary

In a dark room at midnight, stand in front of a mirror, and start chanting “Bloody Mary” thirteen times. Then, wait for the horror hiding on the other side of the mirror. There have been many permutations of this legend, but the most famous one tells of a vengeful ghost of a woman that has reportedly killed the person calling her; clawed the summoner’s eyes out; drove the person mad; or pulled the caller into the mirror with her.

No one really knows the origin of the Bloody Mary legend. Speculations say that Bloody Mary was a witch killed for practicing witchcraft.

Trapped in a Cemetery

A group of friends dare a member to stay overnight in a cemetery. The person is locked in inside a coffin with a corpse overnight. The morning after, the one who did the dare ends up insane with his hair turned white. No one knows what more there is to this legend because the victims never speak again.

Hanged Man in the Shower

You go to a vacation and decided to stay in a cheap motel to economize. Tired and weary, you take a shower to freshen up. As you enjoy the hot shower, you suddenly feel something touching your head. You feel annoyed and look up. A horrific sight of a hanged man meets your sight. You yell and call for the motel’s manager. Upon coming back to check on the room, the hanged man isn’t there anymore. You explained to the manager what you saw and upon looking at his face closely, you realize that he has the face of the man you saw hanged in the shower. 

Kid Looking for a Report Card
This legend has been depicted in the Taiwanese film, The Eye. The legend tells about a kid going around the building, knocking on people’s door looking for his missing report card. It turns out that the kid jumped off from the 13th floor of the building after having been scolded by his parents for not showing his grades. The child really lost the report card but was accused of lying by his parent. Desperate and scared of being beaten to a pulp, the kid opted to kill himself.

Corpse in the Elevator

An intern in a hospital is dispatched to the morgue located in the basement of the building. He is told to check on the patient who recently died and was taken to the morgue for an autopsy. The number on the patient’s tag together with her name is the only thing he know about the patient.

When he entered the elevator, a woman dressed in a white robe is already there. He notices that the woman is also headed to the basement because the button was already pressed. The intern wonders if the woman is a doctor or a nurse because only those with official business can enter the morgue. His eyes then set on the wrist of the woman. There was a tag. The tag has the number of the dead patient he is supposed to check.

The next day, the intern ends up insane and unable to speak.

A Computer Engineering student and loves to travel. Reading current news in the internet is one of his past times. Taking pictures of the things around him fully satisfies him. He loves to play badminton and his favorite pets are cats.

For more information and queries, you may visit Creatures of the Night