The Bell Witch is a scary true story about a poltergeist that plagued a family in the 19th Century in Adams, Tennessee. It is also one of the few cases recorded where someone was killed by a ghost.
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. 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 log house.
The mysterious sounds continued with increased frequency and force each night. Bell and his sons often hurried outside to catch the culprit but always returned empty-handed. In the weeks that followed, the Bell children began waking up frightened, complaining that rats were gnawing at their bedposts. Not long after that, the children began complaining of having having their bed covers pulled from them and their pillows tossed onto the floor by a seemingly invisible entity.
As time went on, the Bells began hearing faint, whispering voices, which too weak to understand but sounded like a feeble old woman singing hymns. The encounters escalated, and the Bells’ youngest daughter, Betsy, began experiencing brutal encounters with the invisible entity. It would pull her hair and slap her relentlessly, often leaving welts and hand prints on her face and body.
The entity’s voice strengthened over time to the point that it was loud and unmistakable. It sang hymns, quoted scripture, carried on intelligent conversation, and once even quoted, word-for-word, two sermons that were preached at the same time on the same day, thirteen miles apart.
The worst thing about this was that it’s the first case recorded where a supernatural entity actually killed a human.
John Bell breathed his last breath on the morning of December 20, 1820, after slipping into a coma the day before. Immediately after his death, the family found a small vial of unidentified liquid in the cupboard. John Bell, Jr. gave some of it to the cat, which died instantly. The entity then spoke up, exclaiming joyfully, “I gave Ol’ Jack a big dose of that last night, which fixed him!” John, Jr. quickly threw the vial into the fireplace, where it burst into a bright, bluish flame and shot up the chimney