I remember being mesmerized by The Bell Witch stories when I was a child. I read at least 3 or 4 different books on the subject and vowed that I would someday travel to the small town of Adams, Tennessee where the famous Bell Witch once lived. Now three decades later, I can now mark it off my bucket list and instead pencil it in on my “Must Return” list.
Last Saturday May 26th, 2018, a friend and I traveled to the farm located about 55 miles north of Nashville. Upon entering the small community of Adams, Tennessee, I immediately sensed the remnants of a time past as Katy (not to be confused with Kate Batts) drove us down a rural county highway, following the Bell Witch signs strategically placed along the roadside. The rolling hills extended for miles on what was once hundreds of acres of farmland owned by John Bell, Sr. The lush, green grass and wooded landscape was surrounded by white fences that gave the property a warm and inviting feel unlike the memories that the Bell Witch had left behind 200 years before. Although Katy and I reveled in the beauty of the area, we both couldn’t deny our apprehension as we approached the entrance to the site of the Bell Witch Cave.
Katy followed the signs until we saw the entrance to the tour. A bright red barn with bold white lettering on the front greeted us at the main entrance as we made our way to the gift shop. Rain clouds loomed overhead as we hurried to park and get our tickets.
After booking our tour, we were taken to a cabin (replica, not original Bell cabin) where we listened to an audio presentation of the Bell Witch haunting and toured a cabin that was set up with furniture and props staged to look much like what the original Bell house would have looked like at the time of the spirit’s visitations. Although the home was not the original site, our EMF (electromagnetic field) detector started acting crazy, the lights zipping back and forth while we were in the front of the house. When we moved to another room upstairs, the EMF detector stopped for a few minutes as if whatever had been present was suddenly gone. At that time, I began experiencing a strange pressure on my neck/chest area near my throat that caused me to cough. The feeling intensified a couple of times and startled me to the point that I felt the need to take deep breaths. I knew that I was sensing something paranormal.
After the audio presentation that lasted about 30 minutes, we were escorted to another part of the cabin that housed artifacts and pictures of the original site. Included in the mini-museum was a black cauldron that belonged to the Bell family when they lived in the house where the hauntings occurred. I intentionally let myself be the last guest to leave the room so that I could stay behind and touch the large stone that sat on the floor and was reportedly a part of the original Bell house fireplace. I placed my hand on the rock, but unfortunately, I did not pick up any residual energy. Then just as I turned and walked out of the cabin to follow the rest of the group to the Bell Witch Cave, I was overcome by a wave of nausea that did not subside until I reached the cave entrance.
We were greeted by Kris, our tour guide who narrated the fascinating history of the cave and the land. She informed us of the area’s known American Indian burial grounds linking parts of the area’s history to the Bell Witch legend. But within minutes of entering the cave’s second room, I felt that our 10-person tour group was no longer alone with just our tour guide. The distinct sound of children’s laughter filled the front room that we had just exited.
I spoke up and said, “I hear children laughing. Are there other people coming?”
But no one else seemed to hear the children and our tour guide continued to narrate. I looked down the long, narrow hall of the cave’s stone walls toward the cave’s entrance and saw no one, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that we were not alone. Our guide then showed us pictures taken by guests who had captured spirits and strange orbs while on the cave tour. Suddenly, my suspicions were validated.
We finished up the tour about fifty feet inside the cave. I marveled at its beauty and the markings that were visibly noticeable on the walls and ceilings left behind by ancient Indians. When we exited the cave entrance, Katy and I walked several feet and were suddenly startled by the appearance of a bare-chested young man with dark hair and a long black beard. The color of his eyes was pitch black and he wore only black gym shorts while sitting high on the heavily wooded hillside outside the cave entrance. Directly below us was the Red River often mentioned in the Bell Witch stories as being near the original site of John Bell’s home located just two miles away. The man studied me as I walked closer to him, his piercing dark eyes glaring at me as if I was intruding on his space. I glanced down the hill at the river and looked around to see if he had a canoe or kayak nearby, but I saw nothing that indicated that he had been on the river that day. He was just standing alone on the steep slope studying me as I now paused on the rocky path. I turned and called for Katy who was several feet behind me. She finally appeared and joined me only to feel the same creepiness as the stranger watched us pass, my eyes locked with his. Who was he? How did he get up that steep slope without shoes on his feet? Was he a shapeshifter placed there for us to see? We still don’t know, but we won’t forget the unease that his sudden appearance caused.
If you dare to visit the site of the famous Bell Witch, take no souvenirs such as rocks from the cave and make sure you say a prayer as you leave. Although I never heard The Bell Witch’s cackle that day and thank goodness, I never saw any weird animals, I still felt the remnants of her spirit and those of many others who still haunt the landscape where she once roamed.
For more of L. Sydney Fisher’s adventures, On the Haunted Trail, check out her book projects @LSydneyFisher.com or join her at the group page of @Ghosts, Unexplained Mysteries, and The Supernatural on Facebook and remember…
SLEEP WITH THE LIGHTS ON!