Friday, October 30, 2015

The REAL Bell Witch Legend: The Witch and Betsy Bell

All right, if you saw the absolutely horrific movie An American Haunting, let me stop you right here. There is absolutely NO evidence of molestation in the Bell haunting. The idea that a 12 or 13 year old pioneer girl with the most rudimentary education would be capable of faking the Bell haunting is ludicrous, and as we discussed with the paranormal hypotheses post, it seems highly unlikely to me that this haunting is an episode of poltergeist activity instigated by any of the young Bells--mostly because the haunting continues well past their puberty and into the modern day. So if you're reading this, thinking that John Bell molested his daughter Betsy sexually and that led to the poltergeist infestation we now call the Bell Witch, well--nope. You're wrong. 

And that movie was just horrible. Worst acting either Donald Sutherland or Sissy Spacek, two great American actors, have ever been forced to produce. 

However, the Bell Witch did exhibit more than a passing interest in young Betsy Bell. Next to her father, Betsy was a primary target of the entity's abuse. Her story is, perhaps, the most pathetic of any of the Bell family's in my opinion, and one I always related to the most when I was a kid growing up in the shadow of the legend. It's also the strangest 'relationship' that Kate had with one of the Bells, a sort of quasi-maternal, semi-abusive love/hate thing that would have child services banging on the door if Kate was a real woman and Betsy her child. You'll see what I mean here in a bit.

Now I'm not headed down the flowery Victorian 'lovely faery queen of the haunted dell" BS that both Ingram and Miller devised to sell copies of their books. There's absolutely nothing to support that whole fairy princess crap. In all likelihood, Betsy was a pretty, practical pioneer girl, trained by her mother in the immense catalog of skills that young wives needed in order to survive in the early eighteenth century frontier. 

From the earliest manifestations of the haunting, Betsy was tormented by the entity, who slapped, pinched, punched, and beat her with startling regularity. Her long hair would be yanked, then tangled into a snarled mess, and after some of these brutal sessions the vivid red marks of a hand print could be seen on her face. As her brother, Richard Williams Bell, said:

The persecutions of Elizabeth were increased to an extent that excited serious apprehensions. Her cheeks were frequently crimsoned as by a hard blow from an open hand, and her hair pulled until she would scream with pain...a close watch (was) kept, in and out, every night, but all of their wits were stifled, the demonstrations all the while increasing in force, and sister was so severely punished that father and mother became alarmed for her safety...(Bell, Richard Williams)

That's kind of hard to hear, when you think about it. As a parent in a modern time, our fears for our children are pretty terrifying. How much more difficult must it have been to watch your young daughter getting abused by something you can't see right in front of you?

The Bells tried to give Betsy some solace by sending her to stay with her friends from school. That didn't work either.

...the neighboring girls came almost every night to keep her company. Especially were Theny Thorn and Rebecca Porter very courageous and kind to her in this trying ordeal. It was suggested that sister should spend the nights with some one of the neighbors to get rid of the trouble, and all very kind to invite her...but it made no difference, the trouble followed her with the same severity, disturbing the family where she went as it did at home, nor were we in anywise relieved. This gave rise to a suspicion in the minds of some persons that the mystery was some device or strategem originated by sister, from the fact that it appeared wherever she went...(Bell, Richard Williams)

(I have to say that as a modern editor of the English language, I have a heck of a time typing out these interminable Victorian sentences. Good grief, these people were verbose--)

Betsy's own recollections of one such early sleepover were recorded by her brother, who told his son about them.

My first night away from home was spent with Theny Thorn, one of my best girl friends. Nothing was heard until after we retired, which we did early. We locked the door to our room securely. Just as soon as we retired there came a loud knocking on our outside door, which seemed to fly open, and a great gust of wind was felt. Then our bed quilts were snatched off. Theny sprang up at once and lit a candle; to our surprise the door was not open. We adjusted the bedclothes and lay down again. 
Then a voice spoke very softly:"Betsy, you should not have come over here; you know I can follow you anywhere. Now get a good night's sleep." A soft hand patted my cheeks, and the voice again assured us that we would not be disturbed any more that night. We were both very much excited, but we lay quite still and after so long a time fell asleep. Next day, Theny went home with me; my mother related that the Spirit had told her all about our experience and for her not to be alarmed, that we would rest well and be home next day. (Bell, Charles Bailey)

There are dozens of incidents that center around Betsy Bell--so many that my normally long blog post could easily be five or six times its normal extreme length if I tried to relate them all. So permit me to summarize briefly some of these. Aside from the occasions where the entity abused Betsy, many of their encounters were actually more pleasant in nature. The spirit often accompanied Betsy and the other adolescents of the community on their outings, and several stories involve Kate's interference in their fishing or hunting. One winter, as the boys prepared to pull the girls on a wood-sleigh, the entity apparently grabbed it and gave the girls a swift spin around the neighborhood. One such encounter I have to mention though, because what happened is so incredible:

Betsy told of a birthday party that she gave. She had invited a number of young people and all came. Of course the Spirit was there, and it took great interest in all their games and their refreshments. When the dinner was placed on the table, the Spirit called out, "I have a surprise for you; come and see it." 
Suddenly there was placed on the table by unseen hands a large basket of fruits--oranges, bananas, grapes and nuts. The Spirit called out, "Those came from the West Indies. I brought them myself." We were all breathless with astonishment. It bade us eat and be merry, and said that it would have brought a few bottles of rare wine but it did not think the preachers would like for us to drink it. It said that it had acted as though it was drunk a few times and blown whiskey about just to see what people would say when they smelled it. It also said that those who had the most to say against whiskey liked best to drink it. We all ate the fruit and nuts, though at first some of the young people hesitated, thinking perhaps there was a trick of some kind to it.(Bell, Charles Bailey)

Here again, we see that strange dichotomy in the entity's behavior. Kate could punish Betsy mercilessly one night, and bring her a basket of fruit the next. And before you think to yourself "A basket of fruit--big deal!" stop and reflect for a moment. This was 1818 or 1819. There was no refrigeration. Fruits like these in Middle Tennessee were rare in the summer, when transporting such goods on the river was possible. Not for decades yet were the trains--or refrigerated cars--making super fast deliveries of luxury goods like fruit possible in the big cities.But Betsy's birthday was in January. Bananas, oranges, and grapes couldn't be found anywhere near Adams at that time of year. Plus she lived on the frontier, so by the time any such fruit got to the Bell's homestead, it would have been long spoiled and rotten.

So I have to wonder--what was the entity's real purpose regarding Betsy? Famously, Kate was violently opposed to the idea that Betsy would marry Joshua Gardner, her childhood sweetheart. Almost from the get go, the entity would follow her around saying, "Please, Betsy, don't marry Josh Gardner." After the death of John Sr., the spirit was reportedly kind to Betsy, and the torment stopped for several months. But as soon as it looked like she and Josh were about to announce their engagement, the spirit's voice would start up again. "Please, Betsy, don't marry Josh Gardner."

Betsy naturally felt obliged to obey. If she had married Gardner, it was a day and age in which divorce was nearly impossible to obtain. She would have been stuck with him, and it's reasonably certain that Kate would have stuck with them to the bitter end, torturing them mercilessly. That's what Betsy thought, at any rate, and Josh Gardner left the are soon after she gave him a firm and final "No."

Betsy's older brother, John Bell Jr. gave an interesting recollection about this particular situation to his son.

On one occasion, after Betsy had gone to a neighbor's, the Spirit reappeared and said, "John, Betsy must not marry Joshua; see to it that she does not."
John asked the Spirit why it acted so vile. He said he would not do as it asked, and wanted to know just why Betsy should not marry Joshua when she became old enough. The Spirit replied, "If she marries Joshua, she can never have a day of happiness or peace; that is certain. That is the only reason I will give you, and if you cannot see that it is a good one, it is because of your stubbornness and not lack of sense. Betsy will take your advice; she knows that you idolize her and that your advice would be the best for her."
John replied, "I noticed the seemingly invisible threat 'that she will never have a happy day if she marries Joshua Gardner.' Do you want me to know that  you would be the factor causing her unhappiness, as you have done so long?" 
The Spirit said, "You may form your own conclusions, for I shall not answer that question, but once for all, Betsy would do better not to marry him, regardless of anything I may do. Future generations will prove it to be so."(Bell, Charles Bailey)

I find it fascinating that the entity would do such a thing honestly. On the one hand, this was just another example of the acute physical and emotional torment that Kate inflicted on Betsy Bell. But on the other, was it possible that the entity was trying to save Betsy from some other harsh fate, one that couldn't be forgotten as easily as a slap or tangled hair? Could this be an example of a parental "this is for your own good" intervention?

It's hard to say. But Kate's opposition to the proposed match was immediate and unrelenting throughout the four year period of the intense haunting on the Bell farm. And while Joshua Gardner moved to West Tennessee, where he did very well for himself, Betsy eventually married their old schoolteacher, Richard Rowell Ptolemy Powell, who became a Tennessee state legislator and served as a captain in the state militia, in 1824. Their marriage lasted until Powell's death in 1848, and Betsy moved to one of her daughter's homes in Mississippi, where she remained until she followed him forty years later.

But there is one fascinating footnote to Betsy Bell Powell's story. According to Ingram, in 1849, the Saturday Evening Post published a story about the Bell haunting in which the reporter tried to establish the claim that Betsy Bell had basically staged the whole thing and that it was a fake. Betsy was so livid about that article that she sued them for libel. The case was soon settled out of court, with the Saturday Evening Post retracting the story and publishing a statement that, and I quote--

...explaining how this version of the story had gained credence, and the fact that at the time the demonstrations commenced, Betsy Bell had scarcely advanced from the stage of childhood and was too young to have been capable of originating and practicing so great a deception. The fact also that after this report had gained circulation, she had submitted to any and every test that the wits of detectives could invent to prove the theory, and all the strategems employed, served only to demonstrate her innocence and utter ignorance of the agency of the so-called witchery, and was herself the greatest sufferer from the affliction. (Ingram)

There has been doubt cast upon Ingram's claim, and to be honest I'm not entirely certain how to go about getting my hands on a SEP from 150 years ago. I know others have tried and failed. It's entirely possible that such a story was published, but by another periodical or newspaper, and would therefore have to be tracked down through any surviving legal records of the time if Betsy Bell Powell did, in fact, sue for libel. But from what I've read of Betsy and her personality, it wouldn't surprise me one darn bit if she did sue someone for libel. Because there's no doubt that she did suffer severely at the (invisible) hands of the Bell Witch, and only her father suffered more.

Next time, we're going to recount some of Kate's adventures with the neighbors--including some young men who found out much to their chagrin that messin' with a witch wasn't really a good idea.




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The REAL Bell Witch Legend: What A Real Night Investigating In Adams Is Like

After watching the premiere of A&E's Cursed:The Bell Witch "reality" show last night, I was really pissed off. I know Adams intimately. I know many families there. And I have investigated at one time or another every site of paranormal activity in Adams, and some several times. So let me share with you just one of those nights, when Kate decided to show me what the Bell Witch is really all about. 

Back in the 80's and early 1990's, the land that once was the Bell homestead was owned by the Eden family.  The owner, Bims Eden, had been brought up in Adams and had experienced the haunting since childhood. His house was at the end of the long gravel driveway that leads to the cliff and the Bell Witch Cave. The Edens were farmers, and my father owned (and still operates) a farm store in Clarksville, fifteen miles away, where I worked from the time I was eleven until I finally left Clarksville at the age of twenty-six. I first went to the Edens' farm when I was eighteen at Mr. Bims's invitation. We'd talked about the legend one day at my dad's store, and he told me to come on down and see the cave and he'd tell me stories about things that had happened to him. So I did, and that created a relationship that lasted until he finally sold the land to the present owners. 

In October of 1993, I was driving around with a couple of friends of mine from the theater department at Austin Peay State University. Mid- to late-October in Tennessee is, for me, the best season. The air is crisp and smells of wood smoke, the trees are usually in brilliant cover, and the skies over a rural community like Adams are achingly sharp and clear. I've never seen more stars anywhere than I have in Adams at night. During Halloween season, the Eden family ran a haunted hay ride in their cornfields, taking people to the old Bell cemetery and the ruins of the house, and then led them to the cave for tours. So I got a wild hair up my rear and suggested that we go to Adams and see Mr. Bims. 

As we pulled into the driveway by the house, we parked next to a line of cars in the gravel lot at the top of the cliff. I locked the car, and went to see Mr. Bims who'd come out to greet us. He always did that--meeting any visitors personally if he was there (and if the visitors weren't rude enough to show up at an inconvenient time, like late at night). We stood there and talked for a few minutes, and I told him I wanted to take my friends down to the cave if that was all right. He said, "Go on down, Celina--you know the way. Nobody's down there--they're all out in the field--but the gate's open. The ride won't get done for another hour or so."

So I gave him a hug, and took my buddies Rob and JJ down the path on the side of the cliff. Back then, the cliffside trail wasn't as safety-conscious as it appears to be today. The Bell Witch Cave wasn't an official tourist attraction. It wasn't operated as a business, as it is now. So the trail was dirt and gravel, well-graded, with a rather flimsy two by four railing and for lighting a single string of electric light bulbs stretched overhead.
This wasn't the kind of trail that you descended with any kind of speed; you had to be careful. So after a few minutes, we stood on the plateau in front of the cave. This natural landing in the bluff is not that large, and hangs precipitously over the sluggish waters of the Red River. I'm not that cool with heights, so I never went close to the edge. 

The point of this description is the establishment of the fact that there is nowhere for anyone to hide either on the trail or the landing in front of the cave. Believe me. Nowhere. 

We stood at the front of the cave for a few minutes and talked before we went in. It's hard to describe how quiet it really is there. When I say it's the middle of nowhere, I mean it's the middle of nowhere. The front gate of the cave is, as I've mentioned before, very heavy and iron.
Mr. Bims told me they'd had it put up after the family kept busting Satanist/pagan groups conducting rituals down there. The iron door stood open, and the lights were on in the cave--as was usual when the haunted hayride season was on. So we went in, and the cave was perfectly silent and still. 

Word of warning, by the way. Never, ever, EVER take a souvenir rock from the cave. Not a good idea. This becomes significant later in this story. At any rate--

We spent a little time in the first main chamber of the cave, where the old Native American grave is, before we decided to head to the back chamber. In between the front room and the back is a very narrow, twisting passage, so short in places that you have to bend over to get through. If you're claustrophobic, it's not a great place to be. So Rob went first, then me, then JJ. When we were about halfway through the passage, all the lights in the cave suddenly went out. 


Naturally we froze. At first, I figured someone--one of the Eden boys running the hayride, maybe--was playing a joke on us, so I yelled, "You turn the lights back on damnit!"

Crickets. The lights stayed off.

So then I swallowed hard, and politely said, "Kate, would you please turn the lights back on."

The lights turned back on with a snap, and we heard laughter echo toward us down the passage.

JJ turned around and ran for the entrance, me and Rob right behind him. Once we were in the front room, I headed straight for the front door. Back then, there was a jury-rigged power switch and stool just inside the iron gate. That's where Mr. Bims turned on the lights to the cave any other time I'd visited there. But that night, there was no one there. Rob went on out onto the landing, and no one was on the path to the top. As I've said, there is NOWHERE to hide there. So JJ and I joined him on the landing, to try and figure out what in the heck was going on when behind us we heard the screech of hinges. A second later, all the lights in the cave and on the trail went out and that heavy iron door slammed shut behind us.

Ever try to run up a cliffside trail at night using a lighter? I don't recommend it. It's not much fun.

By the time we got to the top, Rob and JJ were done with Adams. No one was on top of the cliff; Mr. Bims had gone back in the house and the hayride wasn't back yet. So we proceeded at a hurried pace--okay, ran--to my car and opened the doors.

Rocks were piled on the seats--the driver's seat, the passenger's seat, and the back seat. Just then, JJ said, "Wait a second--you locked the car, Celina!"

Needless to say, we threw those rocks out of the car and I put the key in the ignition.

Nothing. I tried again.

The engine didn't turn over, but the windshield wipers turned on. It took almost five minutes before the car started and we were able to pull out of the lot. JJ and Rob were cussing and we were all chain smoking. Our nerves were shot. But Kate wasn't done with us yet. As we headed down 41 for Clarksville and safety, animals kept coming into the center of the road where they'd stop and stare at us as we drew near, almost daring us to drive past them. The first two critters were unnerving. Once we'd seen five, six, seven it was downright terrifying. Some of the animals I couldn't identify, and I grew up there. There were several big, black animals, roughly the size and shape of a German Shepherd or black lab, whose eyes reflected the headlights with an eerie, feline shine. Red, but feline.

At any rate, we finally made it back to campus, where we shared our story with our friends. A few days later, a group of over twenty of us went back to spend the night in the cave--a story I'll tell another time.

The next morning on my way to class, I noticed that we'd forgotten one of the rocks we'd found piled up in the seats. I skipped my afternoon art history class to drive that rock back to Adams and gave it back to Mr. Bims. When I got there, he was sitting outside on his lawnmower, and as I got out with the rock he smiled at me.

Bims Edens was one of those slow-speaking, polite Southern gentlemen. He was so very kind, but he also had a devilish gleam in his eyes sometimes when he smiled. As I told him what had happened, his eyes got that little twinkle in them and he smiled slowly. "I knew something happened," he said. "You've never left before without telling us goodbye and thank you."

"The rocks were what freaked me out," I confessed. "That's why I thought I'd better make sure to bring this straight back."

"Last night the dead men's lanterns were glowing in the woods," he said, looking in the direction of the Bells' old graveyard. "Things was restless last night. Probably one of those stupid kids on the hayride got things riled up. But she gave you a warning, Celina. Better be careful, girl--she let you know that she knows who you are."

Mr. Bims took the rock, said goodbye, and headed toward the trail. I knew he was going to put the rock back in the cave--like he always put those rocks that came back in the mail from all over. I should have taken it myself and spared the old man the trip, but I knew he wouldn't let me. He believed Kate had given me a warning, and so he'd given me one too.

So I went back to my car, thinking that everything looked really different in the bright October sunshine. I opened the door and froze.

Another rock was set precisely in the center of the driver's side seat.

I knocked the rock out of the way, got in, and drove back home. Not a single animal interrupted my drive.

Author's note: If nothing else, this should explain why I'm not particularly impressed with the A&E show last night. If this gentleman who claims to be a descendant of the Bells is really confronting some ancient curse against his family, then it makes no sense that he didn't go straight to the epicenter of the paranormal activity in the area. Would have saved a lot of time and film. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

A&E's Cursed: The Bell Witch Episode 1--Thoughts on the Premiere,Fact Checks and BS Meter From Someone Who Knows

Author's note: This is a stream of consciousness style post, with my reactions to the show. I'll follow this up with a regular post in the blog series later tonight or tomorrow. 

To start off with, I am approaching the debut of this show with an extremely jaundiced point of view. As I mentioned in a previous post, Kate aka the Bell Witch made a point of letting the Bell family know that she/it would not haunt their descendants and that the family was not cursed. Considering the plethora of lawyers, politicians, physicians, and major landowners in the Bell family, and the long and prosperous lives of the first and second generation Bells that I am aware of, it's hard to consider them 'cursed'. And let's be for real--every family has members that die young, tragically, or suddenly. That alone cannot constitute a 'curse'--otherwise we'd all be cursed. And just from watching the intro of the show, the bullshit meter goes off.

So yeah. Bullshit from the start. And now John, the Bell descendant who believes the family was cursed, is thinking that the locals are staring him down, so that means they're hiding something? Oh for Pete's sake! The locals aren't hiding anything, dude. You're in the middle of nowhere with a camera crew. Of course they're staring at you. Believe it or not, camera crews aren't a normal thing in a country diner in Montgomery/Robertson County.

The "Pat" relating the legend is Pat Fitzhugh, an author that I've referred to in previous posts.Naturally, you can't get any nuances from a two-minute discourse of the general aspects of the legend. However, his "lot of people" believing that the witch was Cate Batts bit is BS. In his book, Pat Fitzhugh does offer source material for the historical aspects of the case, but little of that was evidenced in the conversation they just had. Also, it's a huge leap from asking Pat Fitzhugh if he feels the Bells were cursed--to wit, the Bell family in the 19th century--and Fitzhugh saying "it seems that way" and then driving around in the truck afterwards with the comment "Pat said the Bells are cursed." I have a feeling that Pat Fitzhugh's portion of the show was edited heavily, with an eye to focusing the through line on the premise of this "reality" show instead of what really happened.

So it's already very apparent to me that this show isn't going to focus on the historical aspects of the Bell Witch haunting, but is instead going to attempt to create an extrapolation that the hundreds of Bell descendants in the modern day are cursed so that they can exploit the legend which is only a couple of years away from its bicentennial anniversary. They are creating an alternate storyline here, one that is going to play loose and free with the actual legend,

Question: Why in the world do these two guys need cameras to record 'evidence' on the front porch of a relatively new house that isn't on the Bell farm? And what kind of evidentiary trail do they expect to discover two centuries later in relation to John Bell's death?

Umm, A&E--there are lots of Bell family members in and around Adams, as the large Bellwood Cemetery can attest.

Congratulations! They actually went to the correct site of the original house! Down in that sinkhole, are the foundation stones and some rotted timbers that were left behind after the original house was torn down and its materials taken for other uses.

*psst!--Anyone else think that encounter with "farmer Joe" felt a little staged?*

I've skirted that field many a time heading from the big public cemetery to the actual Bell cemetery and the cliffs on Red River that house the cave. The big woods to the left of that cornfield is a gnarly tangle of poison ivy, honeysuckle, briars, May apples, and thick brush. There's also a dry stream bed with discarded tires, etc, and some fairly rough terrain. But in order to get to the areas of current paranormal activity, that's where you have to go. Through the woods, not a tent in the field next to it.

AND WHO IN THE HELL IS DUMB ENOUGH TO GO CAMP OUT ON THE BELL LAND TO CATCH EVIDENCE AND THEN GO TO SLEEP IN A NICE TENT, WAKING UP WHEN SOMETHING IS MOVING IN THE BRUSH, INSTEAD OF INVESTIGATING AT NIGHT LIKE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO? 

Like, oh--I don't know--the motion detectors might be picking up rabbits, squirrels, possums, deer, and other wildlife that is absolutely inundating those woods. Don't forget the raccoons and skunks either. And let's be for real here--you're a quarter of a mile away from the Bell's private cemetery where John Bell Sr and his wife are buried, and half a mile from the cave. Why are you camping out in a cornfield instead of the real centers of interest where paranormal activity has been documented in the past? And why did "Farmer Joe" show up, shooting a gun, on an ATV to kick you off his land, but suddenly be cool with it when you pull out a tent and build a campfire in his cornfield for you, your friend, and your dog? What--you couldn't camp out in the woods that are right there instead of tearing up Farmer Joe's crops with your campsite? Heck for that matter, you could just take a canoe tour and see it all for a minimal fee. 

By candlelight. Fifty bucks a pop.

Plus there's a perfectly nice pair of motels less than fifteen miles away. Just take 41 back to Clarksville, and there's a Motel Six right there. You can use your cameras and censors to catch truckers in the parking lot. Those motion detectors will be going off all night, by the way. You're in the woods. Duh.

And as expected--absolutely ridiculous. The stuff moving "right in the wood line", dude? It's called wildlife. It's stuff that lives in the wild. Your dog's not scared because it's probably another dog. Or a possum. And no, there aren't any damn grizzly bears in Farmer Joe's cornfield in the middle of Robertson County, Tennessee.

You didn't sleep because you were in a tent in the middle of a cornfield--and where you're set up is about half a mile from the highway, and easily seen from the highway, the cemetery, the church across the street, and anyone driving through the four building strip that comprises Adams.

And...oh HELL no! Are they REALLY stealing crap from the Blair Witch Project? Do they REALLY expect anyone to believe that someone in Adams sneaked up on two guys in a tent in a cornfield and hung a corn dolly from a tree in the middle of the night to scare them? Seriously?

The only credible event of this whole section was the camera dying. That's been documented on numerous occasions in Adams. It's happened to me, in fact. And back in the eighties, Unsolved Mysteries tried to film a segment in the Bell Witch Cave but never could get their cameras to work down there, even though they worked just fine on top of the cliff. So that, alone, I find believable.

Despite the corn dolly.

If I don't type anything more than this, it's because I'm laughing so hard I've given myself a stroke. This is so much worse than I thought it would be. What's going to really suck is when/if these two guys stop bumbling around and acting like complete morons and actually catch some paranormal evidence--which is highly likely considering where they are. All this extraneous bullshit is going to completely invalidate any evidence they might accidentally catch.

Townies? THERE ARE NO TOWNIES IN ADAMS! THERE ISN'T A DAMN TOWN.  Population of 633, with a couple of churches, a convenience store, the old Bell high school now a museum cum community center, and Bell Witch canoeing. That's it, besides a bunch of farms, houses, and a few other buildings. It's a rural, unincorporated spot on the map where two rural, two-lane highways intersect. No town. Ergo, no townies.

Wow. Just--I am speechless. Flabbergasted. Stupefied.

There is also no voodoo in Adams. Or witchcraft. Or witchery. That's all horse manure. For voodoo, you're a few states away. And no one in Adams is running around Farmer Joe's cornfield, hanging dolls with human hair and blood on them in the trees. The people in Adams are kind, courteous, incredibly nice normal people. These fools are making them out to be the equivalent of The Hills Have Eyes creeps.

A&E is egregiously misrepresenting the people of Adams and Robertson County. This is absolutely disgusting and wildly inaccurate. It's totally pissing me off.

Next up--the county archives.

The Robertson County Archives, by the way, are NOT in Adams. That would be in Springfield. As for the fact that women didn't participate in owning land in the early 19th century, etc.--I already addressed that in a previous post, concerning Cate Batts's assumption of such a proprietary role due to the disability of her husband. And everything they 'discovered' at the archives could easily have been found in the two primary sources I cite--the MV Ingram book and the Charles Bailey Bell/ Harriet Parks Miller book, both of which contain the written accounts of Bell family members. "All the motives for Cate to do this have disappeared"--right. Exactly. Because Cate Batts didn't curse the Bells. Nowhere, in any source or documentation is there any indication that Cate Batts was responsible for or associated with the events of the haunting. The whole land deal bit, where John Bell supposedly cheated Cate Batts and she cursed him? Yeah, that was made up for a BAD movie.

So much for their vaunted criminal investigation skills. And legend does NOT have it that Cate Batts "started the curse". Because there is no curse. Problem solved.

Tim Henson--the historian. Yep, he's telling the correct story about Cate Batts. Thank goodness someone is finally on track, especially regarding her eccentricity and the fact that the entity claimed to be associated with Cate Batts. But, just as the gravestones for Cate and her husband Frederick have disappeared, so too has any information beyond the few stories related by witnesses and Bell family members that were documented in the primary sources.

And now we're camping out in someone else's woods. Okay. Let's see what happens at the Batts's family gravesite. This should be...um...interesting. There are things moving in the woods again, huh?  
Gee what could that be?

"A tree as cold as a coca-cola can."

I am shaking from a combination of outraged laughter and outright indignation here. You're in the woods, in the middle of nowhere, at night, and you found a cold tree. Congratulations.

Oh and now there's something hot on a tree. Possum, anyone? Squirrel? Raccoon? Cat? Maybe an owl?

And that's where they ended it? Okay. Wow.

See, here's the thing that viewers aren't being told. The area of the Bell haunting is compact--easily reached all in one night. An experienced paranormal investigator or even someone smart enough to invest the time to figure all this out would be able to thoroughly check out all these places easily in one or two nights--sleeping during the day in a nice comfy hotel bed. It would take these guys ten minutes to walk to the old graveyard; maybe twenty to get to the cave. The folks in Adams aren't suspicious occultists wanting to keep people out. If you knock on the door of the owner of the land and ask if you can investigate a site, they'll be polite to you. They aren't going to shoot at you and chase you down on an ATV.

Make no mistake: there IS an ongoing paranormal event in Adams Tennessee. The haunting has been going on for almost two hundred years. The Bell Witch entity is real, and as some people have discovered to their horror, it will make its presence known swiftly to anyone that is disrespecting it or the legend. There has been Satanic and pagan activity in the area, due to its association with the haunting. This, too, is fact--back fifty years ago. That's why the cave has a big, immensely heavy iron gate to prevent unauthorized access--and has since the sixties.And this kind of exploitation, the bastardization of the legend and the creation of an imaginary "curse" is exactly the kind of crap that *will* lead to trouble. And quite frankly, the actual events of the original paranormal event AND the things occurring now are plenty scary. They don't need to be embellished. What's wrong with relating what really happened? Why try to dress it up with bogus crap?

And trying to portray the good people of Adams as occultists, suspicious of outsiders, hiding the truth from this poor cursed man is just so wrong, so criminally false that I am completely enraged by it. I am going to continue to watch this travesty, and I'm going to continue both this commentary on the show as well as my blog series on the real Bell Witch legend so that you can decide for yourself. And just to lay the foundations for the types of paranormal experiences people have in Adams, my blog post tomorrow will deal with precisely that--my own Bell Witch paranormal encounters.

And believe me--there was no need for any fake corn dollies danging from the trees.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The REAL Bell Witch Legend: Kate Meets General Andrew Jackson

It's difficult to narrow down the field of Kate's best moments--a top ten of terror, as it were. This haunting was so extreme and so beyond just about any other documented paranormal event that even her quieter activities are pretty damn amazing. So,I have to narrow this down a bit. Perhaps the most famous Bell Witch exploit is the story of Kate vs. Old Hickory, and as it's one of the reasons why the Bell case grew to such proportions, it only seems fair to devote a post solely to it. 

Andrew Jackson was, at the time of the haunting, a bona fide American hero. It's generally known that at least the two eldest Bell sons and possibly the third (Jesse, John Jr., and Drew) had served under Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. They were part of the original Tennessee Volunteers, which gives me a nice warm fuzzy feeling. All that being said, when word of the haunting reached the General's ears, he put together a party of men--including a man who was a 'witch-layer' or 'witch hunter'. Pat Fitzhugh on his Bell Witch website forwards a claim that this individual is Captain James Gordon, a longtime Jackson crony. At any rate, and according to multiple sources including an 1894 letter from Col. Thomas L. Yancey of Clarksville, TN (recollections of his grandfather, Whitmel Fort) to MV Ingram, and Harriet Parks Miller's 1930 account published by the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, General Jackson, American hero, met Kate, the Bell Witch. 

For the record, if an account of this encounter exists in Jackson's own writing, I've not heard of it. But Jackson was frequently in and around Robertson County, had an acquaintance with the Bell sons, and the subsequent account is Old Hickory right down to his toenails. 

Yancey's account begins with:

Gen. Jackson's party came from Nashville with a wagon loaded with a tent, provisions, etc., bent on a good time and much fun investigating the witch. The men were riding on horseback, and were following along in the rear of the wagon as they approached near the place. Just then, within a short distance of the house, traveling over a smooth level piece of road, the wagon halted and stuck fast (Ingram).

Miller's account differs slightly:

When within a few hundred yards of the Bell home, some member of the Jackson party spoke slightly of the Witch, when the wagon wheels suddenly refused to move. (Miller)

The men whipped the horses and pushed the wagon, but to no avail. It would not move.

Gen. Jackson, after a few moments' thought, threw up his hands exclaiming, "By the Eternal, boys, it is the Witch!" Then came the sound of a sharp metallic voice from the bushes saying, "All right, General, let the wagon move on. I will see you again tonight."
The men in bewildered astonishment looked in every direction to see if they could discover from whence came the strange voice, but could find no explanation to the mystery. Gen. Jackson exclaimed again, "By the eternal, boys, this is worse than fighting the British!" The horses then started unexpectedly of their own accord...(Ingram)

Thus the score so far was Kate 1, Old Hickory 0, 'by the Eternal' 2. So the party settled in at the Bell's, and here again is a difference between the two accounts. Miller wraps the tale up as follows:

...it kept its promise. The Witch was out in full force, singing, swearing, pulling cover from the beds, slapping and pinching pretty Betsey (sic) Bell till she screamed with the pain. The Jackson party did not sleep a wink, and when morning came they were ready to go home... (Miller)

But Yancey's 1894 account, coming as it did from a man who grew up in Adams and whose grandfather witnessed the haunting, seems to me to more likely be an accurate, unedited relation of events--particularly since the Yancey version is the one that has been handed down in local folklore and is the first story I ever heard of the haunting from my own family's stories, which was already in the area when the Bell haunting occurred.

Gen. Jackson was out with the boys for fun--"witch hunting"--and was one of them for the time. They were expecting Kate to put in an appearance according to promise, and they chose to set (sic) in a room by the light of a tallow candle, waiting for the witch. The witch layer had a big flintlock army or horse pistol...He talked much, entertaining the company with details of his adventures, and exhibitions of undaunted courage and success in overcoming witches. He exhibited the tip of a black cat's tail, about two inches--

Superstition break. A black cat was thought to store a witch's magic in its tail--a superstition that went all the way back to France in the Middle Ages and perpetuated by sailors, who thought black cats could start storms at sea with that magic and Appalachian settlers who believed rubbing a black cat's tail on a stye would make it go away. But probably more to the point in this cat, a black cat is the standard witch's familiar--her consciousness in animal form. Okay, Col. Yancey. You can continue.

--telling how he shot the cat with a silver bullet while sitting on a bewitched woman's coffin, and by stroking that cat's tail on his nose it would flash a light on a witch the darkest night that ever come; the light, however, was not visible to anyone but a magician. (Ingram)

Okay, bulls**t break. Seriously, dude? Logic indicates that said light was static electricity, but still--poor marks on the SPCA and funeral etiquette boards. Which is probably why--

Leaning over, he (Jackson) whispered to the man nearest him, "Sam, I'll bet that fellow is an arrant coward. By the eternals, I do wish the thing would come; I want to see him run."

Ole Hickory was a smart man. 

The General did not have long to wait...a noise like dainty footsteps prancing over the floor and quickly following, the same metallic voice heard in the bushes rang out from one corner of the room, exclaiming, "All right, General, I am on hand ready for business." And then, addressing the witch layer, "Now Mr. Smarty, here I am. Shoot."
The seer stroked his nose with the cat's tail, leveled his pistol, and pulled the trigger, but it did not fire. "Try again!" exclaimed the Witch, which he did with the same result. "Now it's my turn; look out, you old coward, hypocrite, fraud. I'll teach you a lesson." The next thing a sound was heard like that of boxing with the open hand, whack! whack!, and the oracle tumbled over like lightning had struck him, but he quickly recovered his feet and went capering around the room like a frightened steer, running over everyone in his way, yelling, "Oh my nose, my nose, the devil has got me! Oh lordy, he's got me by the nose!"
Suddenly, as if by its own accord, the door flew open and the witch layer dashed out and made a bee line for the lane at full speed, yelling every jump...

Okay, let's be honest. Who wouldn't have wanted to be there to see that? Andrew Jackson shared my opinion, for--

Jackson, they say, dropped down on the ground and rolled over and over, laughing. "By the eternal, boys, I never saw so much fun in all my life. This beats fighting the British!" Presently the witch was on hand and joined in the laugh. "Lord Jesus," it exclaimed, "How the old devil did run and beg; I'll bet he won't come here with his old horse pistol to shoot me. I guess that's fun enough for tonight, General, and you can go to bed now. I will come tomorrow night and show you another rascal in this crowd." (Ingram)

Strangely enough, the rest of Jackson's party refused to stay another day, despite the General wanting to hang around for more fun. I get the feeling that Ole Hickory and Kate shared a lot of similar traits, and she obviously had great respect for him. They certainly enjoyed the chastisement of rascals, as the famously vindictive President and the equally malicious entity proved multiple times.

Now, let's stop and take a look at this encounter for a moment, because there are some significant items for us to analyze. First off, I think from my analysis of the sources that the Yancey version of this story is the one that originated in Adams, while the Miller version of the story appears to come from sources involving Andrew Jackson. This would account for the differences in the story, especially if Pat Fitzhugh is correct and John Gordon is the source for the "witch-layer" part of the story. It makes sense that the story from Jackson's camp would gloss over that particular incident, which indicts one of Jackson's close political allies.  

Second, one of the things that strikes me is the resemblance in language between this letter from Yancey and the accounts of Richard Williams Bell and John Bell Jr. Remember Mr. Williams, the detective, who also sat around bragging about what he'd do to the witch? The witch made a point of saying I will satisfy him he is not as smart as he thinks in that instance, while here she said Here I am, Mr. Smarty; shoot. Both men received much the same fate as well, for Kate didn't suffer fools lightly and enjoyed beating the crap out of them. In both cases, she let the men boast--basically set them up for punishment by deliberately staying quiet until just the right moment. And she displays that eerie prescience as well, by knowing not only the intentions of both men but their likely response to getting manhandled by an invisible force. 

For me, seeing as we're discussing two separate incidents related by two different authors--and with a time difference as well--I have to speculate that these events most probably occurred pretty much as they were related, the only difference being the story of the witch hunted. The parallels are just too close--and there are other incidents in the Bell case that are also remarkably analogous to these. These stories create a definite pattern, as well as insight into the entity's developing personality. That personality developed into something so strong, so individual, that witness stories originating from entirely different sources seem like they were written by the same person. Miller's coup de grace ending of the story kind of reaffirms that:

Nashville friends, knowing the intentions of the General's trip and also his previous skepticism as to the existence of the so-called witch, were surprised to see him back so soon and began plying him with questions as to what he saw and heard, at which the General replied, "By the Eternal, I saw nothing but I heard enough to convince me I'd rather fight the British than to deal with this torment they call the Bell Witch." (Miller)

Again, the similarity but not quite exact repetition of Jackson comparing the haunting to fighting the British speaks for the authenticity of these accounts as related by the descendants of witnesses decades later. 

So how certain can we be that this event really happened? The short answer is--we can't. There is no letter, no paragraph, no sentence in Andrew Jackson's handwriting that establishes this encounter between Ole Hickory and the Bell Witch. I tend to think that involves the eighteenth century bad habit of burning personal correspondence after someone's death. All this having been said, however, I think it is probably the event actually did take place. The two primary accounts--and there are other confirmations from other sources, but these are the primary ones--have distinct similarities without any word for word repetition. The sole real difference in the stories, involving the purported witch-layer, makes sense to me if the Ingram account originated with locals and the Miller account with the circle around Andrew Jackson. And considering the fact that the Bell sons served under Jackson in the army, along with the proven frequency of Jackson's travels in and near Robertson County, there is enough motivation, I think, for him to leave the Hermitage for a week of fun camping out on the Bell farm and hunting the witch. 

But I have to admit--if I could go back in time to any moment of the Bell haunting, I'd go back in a flash to watch Andrew Jackson meet the Bell Witch. Not only would it just be simply incredible to witness, but the incident also reveals a side of the entity that, while not benevolent by any stretch, is mischievous and actually pretty darn funny. I have a feeling that these two titans of 1819 Tennessee would have a secret soft spot for each other, creating a moment of accord between them before they moved on to their primary purposes for existence. 

And with Kate, that purpose becomes increasingly powerful--and malicious. 

Next time, you're going to learn some of my paranormal encounters in Adams, including the Bell cemetery, farm, cave, and school. However, you'll also hear my opinion of why the new A&E show Cursed: The Bell Witch is most likely a trumped up exploitation of the Bell Witch legend than what its viewers might expect. 

Why, you ask? 

Well for a couple of reasons. First off, considering the number of prosperous and long-lived landowners, lawyers, doctors and politicians among the Bell descendants, it's hard to consider them cursed. And second?

Because Kate said she wouldn't haunt or curse the Bell descendants--and if there's one thing that's for certain, it is that Kate would do exactly what she said she would do. So, we shall see.

Better buckle up.

Friday, October 16, 2015

The REAL Legend of the Bell Witch: Let's Take a Timeout to Discuss Paranormal Hypotheses

I assume that if you're reading this blog series, you have a serious interest in the paranormal. This post involves theories and my own hypothesis regarding the Bell Witch haunting. If you're touchy about your religion, stop reading now. If you're too skeptical to consider paranormal possibilities, stop reading now. If you want to explore the hows and whys of how Kate was able to speak and are willing to range far afield in the process, keep reading. 

Don't be shy about paranormal curiosity. I suffer from it too, and the Bell Witch Legend was the catalyst for that interest. I've mentioned in passing that I had several significant paranormal encounters on or near the land that once comprised the Bell farm and the community surrounding it. Unfortunately, the one manifestation of the legend that I've always really wanted to experience never happened too much around me. Although I have EVPs from the cave, farm, cemetery, and even the old Bell school, I rarely heard a disembodied voice and never actually interacted with one. 

What makes this rather puzzling is the fact that Kate's loquaciousness is the manifestation that sets this haunting apart. The entity's ability to speak was witnessed and documented by hundreds of people, from family to neighbors to complete and utter strangers. Even Andrew Jackson, Old Hickory himself, had a conversation with Kate that is backed up by a number of original sources. So one of the facets of this case that has always intrigued me is Kate's ability to speak. How did the spirit learn to accomplish such a feat? Why did it choose to do such a thing? Why did it stop? And why, despite the continuation of the haunting in the area and especially on Bell land, isn't it speaking now?

Today we have all sorts of tools to investigate the paranormal with--and particularly to communicate with spirits that are haunting a site or person. Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVPs) are a huge part of every ghost hunting group and are featured on every ghost hunting show. Usually, when a spirit voice is recorded, it does so at an audio level and volume that humans cannot hear without the aid of technology. In fact, if all the investigators find evidence-wise at a suspected haunting is three or four EVPs, that hunt is considered a huge success. 

But rarely do the investigators actually hear a disembodied voice interacting with them, and when that really does happen the voice is a low whisper or sounds distant. From all the evidence in the Bell haunting, this was definitely not the case with Kate. Richard Williams Bell described Kate's speaking ability as follows:

The voice, however, gradually gained strength in articulating, and soon the utterances became distinct in a low whisper, so as to be understood in the absence of any other noises. I do not remember the first intelligent utterance, which, however, was of no significance, but the voice soon developed sufficient strength to be distinctly heard by everybody in the room...The voice was not confined to darkness, as were the physical manifestations. The talking was heard in lighted rooms, as in the dark, and finally in the day at any hour.

I believe this is extremely important information as we try to dissect this case.  What Richard Bell is describing is basically that the entity learned how to speak, and as it grew stronger so did the voice. When you add in the following tidbit, the puzzle develops even more strongly:

This new development added to the sensation already created. The news spread, and people came in larger numbers, and the great anxiety concerning the mystery prompted many questions in the effort to induce the Witch to disclose its own identity and purpose.
Italics are mine.

I am not a paranormal expert by any means, but I have a theory involving this phenomenon and the sentence I highlighted is integral to that. I've gone through the source material and assembled a timeline that roughly parallels Kate's speaking ability. Let's put it down in outline form--

1.  The earliest manifestations begin--these are nonverbal.
2.  The Bells suffer in silence for several months, until the episodes become so alarming that John           confesses their 'family trouble' to his minister, Reverend Johnson.
3.  Reverend Johnson believes the haunting is of an intelligent nature, and encourages the Bells to             bring in other members of the community to witness this for themselves.
4.  As people interacted with the entity and encouraged it to communicate, the spirit learned to speak. 
5.  This development brought the Bell's neighbors to witness the entity.
6.  Those visitors, beginning with the preachers, began to urge the spirit to speak more.
7.  At first, the voice was a low whisper but gradually strengthened to a normal human-volume.
8.  When news of this got out, hordes of people began to show up at the Bell farm to witness it.
9.  Kate's voice grew stronger, allowing her to sing, shout, and interact with people who weren't even         close to Bell land.
10. Even more people came to see the famous talking Witch. 
11. Kate began to develop stronger abilities, like omnipresence and apportation.
12. John Bell dies, and the Witch takes credit for that--then shows up at his funeral singing bawdy            songs accompanied by the reek of alcohol, as if it were drunk and celebrating.
13. Once the sensation died down, so did the witch's ability to speak--except for one notable exception that we'll discuss later in this article.

Paranormal researchers commonly accept the theory that in order for an entity to manifest--that is, to create the visual and audible encounters that inspire fear in us--it will drain energy from something in the environment in order to power that manifestation. These days, there's no shortage of electronic equipment and technology even in the poorest homes that a supernatural being can siphon its strength. But in the 18th century, nothing existed like batteries or computers, so the only thing an entity could have stolen energy from was restricted to what was most readily available. John and Lucy Bell, with a large and thriving family,including several children in or near the age of puberty as well as a small community of slaves, initially powered the spirit's original manifestations--the scratching, the clawing, the chewing, snatching of covers, banging on the walls. It's important to note that speaking didn't occur until after the Bells began to invite people into their home to see the haunting for themselves.

In other words, I've come to the conclusion that Kate only gained the ability to speak when there were enough people present to charge her supernatural batteries. Put it in perspective--the nightly visitors at the Bell farm had traveled long distances by horse or wagon, over roads that we'd consider little more than a game trail through a thick, heavily forested territory, basically so they can witness something miraculous and/or get the crap scared out of them. After the Bells had fed their uninvited guests and stabled their horses, that group of people would congregate in the large central room of the house, getting more excited and more amped up as the sun fell and darkness descended upon the banks of the Red River. The atmosphere would have been charged by anticipation, fear, suspicion, Every little noise would have cranked that energy up more and then, finally, when the whole house was electric with it, the witch would begin to speak. The guests would feed off that, and she would feed off them--until our paranormal AAA is charged full up to the brim. In a cold, dark, and isolated frontier world, that house would have resonated like a supernatural beacon, and the cycle would escalate even more every time a new horse started up the trail to the Bell homestead.

To me, that makes a lot of sense. But then, I run into a problem. With all the energy sizzling through the world these days, spirits holding court in modern living rooms during weekly ghost hunting shows--well, then why in the world aren't all hauntings involving spirits with Kate's gift of gab? Surely, the energy that powers our modern technological-dependent world is more than sufficient to grant any spirit with the psychic fuel it would need to speak. And let's keep in mind, too, that when the Ghost Adventures crew flooded the Bell Witch cave with energy, they too were hearing disembodied voices in the cave when they were outside and no one was anywhere near the instruments. 

Oh, in case you were wondering, the cave is several hundred yards down a precarious cliffside trail from where the GAC guys were hanging out. NO ONE could get into the cave without their knowledge.

NO ONE. And that trail? Running up it in the middle of the night scared half to death sucks, especially when the witch runs you out by turning off the lights and slamming the heavy iron gate behind you.

Just sayin'. Okay, back to the conversation at hand.

For one thing--again, if we accept modern parapsychological theory, there are four accepted types of hauntings: residual, intelligent, poltergeist, and inhuman. The Psychic Library explains this much better than I--interesting reading too. Residual hauntings occur when the spirits do not interact with the living--instead, they replay moments from moments from their life. The Stone Tape theory, first proffered in the 1970s, hypothesizes that certain types of stone  (quartz or limestone are the most commonly cited) actually record events and replays them. So the stereotypical ghost that walks the hall and disappears into a wall every May 1 would be a residual haunting.

Obviously, Kate is not a residual haunt. The Paranormal Network blog has a great explanation of the Stone Tape theory as well as subsequent hypotheses built off the original concept.

An intelligent haunting occurs when a spirit interacts with the humans it encounters. An example of a famous intelligent haunt would be if granny comes into your room and tells you to pick up your trash three years after she was buried. But while the ghost may interact with people, the kinds of phenomena Kate produced is well beyond the capability of most entities.

Which leaves us with two possibilities. The first--a poltergeist haunting--fits the Bell haunting profile extremely well. They are primarily associated with kids (usually girls) when they hit puberty. The resulting hormonal surge is believed to fuel the child's inherent and untapped psychokinetic ability--hence the name, which means "noisy ghost". Poltergeists like to throw things, stack things, open and close doors, and bang on the walls. They like to make things disappear from their normal place and reappear somewhere it would never normally be put--sometimes months or years after they first disappear. And since Betsy Bell was thirteen when the haunting began, it seems to really tie in with this kind of haunting.

But, I think that the fourth type of haunting, an inhuman haunt, is the most likely explanation for what tormented the Bells. An inhuman haunting occurs when an entity that has never lived as a human being is the force that generates the paranormal event. If you read the Psychic Library post, you'll note that they call this fourth and worst type of haunting a demonic in nature.

It is obvious from the documented events of the Bell case that they were dealing with some entity above and beyond what could be considered a "normal" haunting, and most probably one of the strongest entities ever encountered in paranormal history. The appearance of the strange black animals, the injuries inflicted on countless individuals, the specialized torture of its two primary targets John Bell Sr. and his daughter Betsy--all these things don't fall in line with any of the other three categories. When you factor in the evidence of the entity talking and interacting verbally with scores of witnesses, the materialization of fruit and other gifts when Mrs. Bell was ill, and finally the death of John Bell, it's difficult to believe that these events were generated by a poltergeist.

If your spiritual beliefs include a heaven and hell, the concept of demons is something easier for you to accept than for the atheist/agnostic individual. But even if you don't follow a standard Judeo-Christian based religion, logically you have to wonder what type of supernatural agency possesses the vast power required to do what Kate did. Granny who wants you to pick up your trash isn't going to have the ability to stop Old Hickory's wagon trail in its tracks, or to quote verbatim two Sunday morning church sermons that took place at the same time in two different churches by two different preachers several miles apart. But an inhuman entity--a demon--most certainly would.

And if I'm right, that inhuman entity would be able to feed off the human energy streaming toward the backwoods of Robertson County's forest by the wagon. Every new witness gave the entity that much more power, more fuel charging through it. And so an entity that had learned to verbalize found it incredibly easy to whisper, then say a few words, then sentences, then shout, then sing, then communicate with the very people fueling it for days on end.

The paranormal equivalent of a psychic wind turbine farm in a non-ending hurricane.

Think my theory's out there? Well, check out these words that the entity spoke to John Bell Jr. on its return to the Bell farm seven years after it initially departed.

"There are spirits millions of years old, John, that never have been connected with a body, but were created spirits...I have seen over and over again, things happening in the same country for millions of years; the human mind cannot grasp the meaning of always, eternity, or the infinity of space..."{The Bell Witch, Charles Bailey Bell}

Don't worry. You'll hear a lot more about Kate's return visit on a later post. And the fact that she returned and spoke at great length with John Bell Jr. despite there not being crowds of witnesses lends credence to the theory that this isn't just your average ghost.

So that's my hypothesis. The entity at the center of the Bell haunting is, in my opinion, an inhuman entity with far greater power than a run of the mill ghost--and when hordes of people descended upon the Bell farm seeking proof of the paranormal, they inadvertently fueled that entity, not only with enough energy for it to learn how to communicate easily, but also to fulfill its stated purpose for the haunting.

For everything that Kate did from the moment it first scratched on the walls of the Bell homestead was geared toward a single, horrific goal--to murder John Bell, Senior, and to be able to laugh and sing at his funeral.

For more paranormal theories, check out the Long Island Paranormal Investigators website--http://www.liparanormalinvestigators.com/theories.shtml.

Next time, we'll take a look at one of the more spectacular episodes in the Bell Witch case, including a standoff with a future President of the United States.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

The Real Sickness Infecting American Society Happened Online Last Night--BEFORE the Umpqua Community College Shootings Today

Author's note: This blog post is not a pleasant post. WARNING: 18 and up only for language and disturbing imagery contained in some of the comments regarding violence and the alleged Roseberg shooter's online activities before the tragic events took place this morning. I have posted the comments as they were written, but have cleaned up the log for easier reading and removed any identifying marks from the posts--BUT ONLY IN THIS BLOG. The direct link to the conversation transcript is in this blog if you want to read it, and everything including user names and IP addresses  is intact on that webpage. 

Today, in Roseberg, Oregon, the 485th school shooting of this year took place. 


Although I could fill page after page about how the right to bear arms was never intended to protect weapons that have no practical use besides killing other human beings, that's not what I want to talk about today. I don't know the shooter's name yet, or how many of his victims died or survived. All that I do know at this moment, when the anger and revulsion is raw, is that this mass shooting just like all the others draws attention to a real epidemic in our country--a sickness, infecting our young adults, that no doctor has yet to either identify, diagnose, or treat. 

It's 4:52 here in Ohio, and almost 1 pm in Roseberg. I am writing this as the information begins to trickle out of Oregon, and I'm not going to backtrack and update as information comes in or is confirmed to me via the media. I want to write this now, without knowing the guy's name or have heard anything about some stupid-ass "manifesto" that I'm sure someone will find on his Facebook page or whatever. I want to write this while my anger and thought processes are fresh, and unimpeded by media speculation or the inevitable dreck that follows a tragedy of this magnitude, because what I have to say is hard, and harsh, and merciless. I don't want that diffused by political crap. 

At 10:38 PST the police were called to the Umpqua Community College, where a shooting rampage was ongoing. The shooter, as yet unidentified, made his way through two buildings, leaving the dead, dying, and wounded behind him. Right now, there are only a few things confirmed about the shooter--a male, 20 years of age, who engaged in a gunfight with police and was neutralized--police-speak for what was later confirmed to mean dead. 

But there's more to learn about this unnamed shooter--facts that are, unfortunately, only too easy to find. In particular, I'm talking about the online conversations the shooter conducted last night and this morning, his last post coming about ten minutes before the rampage at Umpqua began.

We have a stupid belief in the inherent good of people around us. We will paint pictures of this shooter, this mass murderer, as some poor, unhappy soul with a mental illness, who was forced into this situation by a cruel world where bullies taunted and prodded him into making this final, unplanned, desperate act. 

Bullshit. 

Political correctness needs to be thrown aside NOW, not only for the lunatic who pulled the trigger but for the scores of people online who knew LAST NIGHT this guy was going to shoot up a school, the hordes of people who knew LAST NIGHT that a massacre was going to take place, the unprincipled mass of people who witnessed LAST NIGHT a murderer's intention and never bothered to report him to the police. Because those same people waited, and this morning while the shooting was going on were CHEERING HIM ON in the same damn thread. Don't believe me? 

Check it out.  WARNING: THIS IS NOT A JOKE. THESE POSTS ARE DIFFICULT TO STOMACH, AND THE SENTIMENTS EXPRESSED THERE BY BOTH THE SHOOTER AND HIS ONLINE ACCOMPLICES ARE NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, OR FOR CHILDREN.

The alleged shooter's first comment lays it all out:



 Some of you guys are alright. Don't go to school tomorrow if you are in the northwest.  happening thread will be posted tomorrow morning. so long space robots

How could anyone read that post and NOT contact authorities? You can see all over the transcript the ability for anyone reading the post to report the content to the website admins if nothing else, which would at least have led to a report to the authorities, right? Evidently this doesn't happen because the conversation continues.



     response 1:  Is beta uprising finally going down? You might want to chillax and not alert police.
response 2:  It's either you kill me or my parents do, I'll be waiting lad
response 3: I live in the northwest but I'm 28 and not even in community college.  response response 4: Seattle or Portland OP? I will be watching the news.
alleged shooter: Will post again in am, 10 min countdown. Won't say more to much to prepare.

So the shooter announces he'll start a 'happening' thread about ten minutes before he starts the killing. This is not only  chilling, but disturbingly familiar with the recent on-air murders of Alison Parker and Adam Ward in Virginia.



“I filmed the shooting, see Facebook,” former reporter Bryce Williams tweeted along with chilling footage of him killing Alison Parker and Adam Ward from Roanoke affiliate WDBJ.
The conversation continues online, and although you'd think that SOMEONE would have spoken up to challenge the alleged shooter's intentions, the exact opposite occurred as people began to cheer him on.
  •  I suggest you enter a classroom and tell people that you will take them as hostages. Make everyone get in one corner and then open fire.
  • Make sure that there is no way that someone can disarm you as it it possible. I suggest you carry a knife on your belt as last resort if someone is holding your gun.
  • alleged shooter -- Thanks. Keep me in your prayers
  • You might want to target a girls school which is safer because there are no beta males throwing themselves for their rescue. 
  •  Do not use a shotgun. I would suggest a powerful assault rifle and a pistol or 2x pistols. Possibly the type of pistols who have 15+ ammo
And if that's not enough to make your jaw drop, read on:
  • If this happens I'll smile OP, do it for that      
  • do it op the chads deserve it, also shout r9k memes while pumping lead to normies
  • will this thread be on the news? but srsly dont do it if ur srs
  • Replying to get seen in the newz   This is the only time I'll ever be in the news I'm so insignificant
  • Fuck you you are gonna make us white people look bad dont do this shitfucker
  • Bumping for news

Yes, you're reading that correctly. Not only were people advising this murderer how to best accomplish his plan, but they were so bizarrely excited at the thought that this thread would be picked up by the media that they wanted to contribute to the conversation just so they, too, could be on the news! 



        alleged shooter-I am the hacker known as 4channel.    


  •  If you are suicidal and hate people then do it. If not then stay away from what will ruin your  life.  
  • beta uprising 
  • beta uprising now  
  • /r9k/ needs a new martyr to stand alongside our hallowed Elliot


I am assuming "our hallowed Elliott" refers to Encino/Isla Vista school shooter Elliott Rodgers, who killed six and injured fourteen last year in California. 



Well said! Do it OP! Im somewhat a normie and i wouldnt be sad if i got killed by your hand.
If this kid's life is ruined due to shitposting he might aswell go through with it.
one of these days this will be real
this one could be itc 
Can i join in the beta uprising? I'm in Michigan!
You're only shooting college age students, correct? I have grandparents that live up there.
In this very clearly hypothetical situation you actually shoot people in your high school or college, try to aim for shitty people at least. Spare the kind fools, humdrum druggies, and churchies and go for he whom really terrorises the populous: Chads and Stacies who have scorned many and yourself.
You'll do the world a favour by purging part of the population that only exists to consume resources and act for themselves 
Fucking this. Chads and Staceys are priority.
alleged shooter--The true beta uprising is refusing to be girls' last options in conversation. Refusing to be a leveraging point against Stacey's boyfriend. "Oh, anon is there for me when you aren't, Chad." She'll never really get with us. PAH! Refusing Chads' tactics to perturb our own security as people. Refusing normies from affecting our self esteem. Fuck all that.
Stop letting ourselves be used when we can get away with it. We should put our value in ourselves and get pissed. We are the best thing we got. Fuck the "ideals". Stopping being na├»ve and autistic about things is our best bet. 
I bet you're too pussy to do it
But what really disturbed me the most? Happened today, after the shootings.


  • LOL
  • SHITTT!!!! He did it!
  • Links now
  • HE DID IT ONE OF US ONE OF US
  • L M A O
  • WEW LADS
  • hi journalists
  • top kek
  • he actually did it, what a madman, he shot her in the chest
  • EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE'S 'AVIN A LAFF INNIE
  • wew 4chan does it again lads wew
  • Oh fuck, he did it, it's a false flag, they framed him, trust nothing!
  • OP fucking did it. Absolute madman.
  • ROASTIES BTFO
  • THE ABSOLUTE MADMAN
  • toasting in the happening thread OP DELIVERED, REST IN PEPPERONI SWEET SPACE COWBOY
  • GOOD SHOW OP MAY YOU RIP IN PEACE.
  • OP delivered I guess 
  • THIS IS DAY A HISTORY REEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
  •  ayy lmao my man
  • That score, ouch. Not even double digits on current reports. 
  • society failed him it's not his fault don't blame him he was the hero we deserved 
  • BETA UPRISING IS NOW
  • Oh shit he actually did it.
Now, let's take a look at the REAL problem all of this online activity exposes.

The 'beta uprising' is where all the kids who feel like secondhand citizens rise up against the Chads and Staceys/Ashleys--the popular kids who represent everything the betas feel like they are deprived of. The alleged shooter is just 20 years old--an age that 70 years ago was considered an adult, but in our instant gratification-entitled society a 20 year-old is still just a kid. Although online activities are monitored by governmental agencies, their priority seems to be more about protecting the money of Hollywood corporations and tracking down torrent users, not patrolling those still-murky areas of the underside of the internet--where this conversation thread took place. Although I have deleted user names and IP addresses from this blog post, on the transcript link I've posted those online identities are visible--and most likely hidden behind multiple virtual reality screens to protect the actual posters.


However, I have very little doubt that law enforcement agencies can break through those anonymous proxy servers. I know for a fact that hackers can and do. So why then is it so easy to bust someone for torrenting a movie and so hard to prevent a massacre like this one?


The sad truth is that the murky underside of the internet is pockmarked with online threads like the one I've quoted here,  with hundreds, thousands of disaffected people threatening to shoot up elementary schools, malls, movie theaters, universities. And those selfsame people are the ones who, as evidenced here, encourage those who feel the same way to go for it--to go ahead and just shoot those people you don't like/who are mean to  you/who have what you want/who seem to have it all.


But that's not what this murderer did. He didn't shoot up a sorority party or the debutante ball. He went into the science building and shot people JUST LIKE HIM--the smart kids, the unpopular kids. The betas. And what makes that even more pathetic is the fact that betas, not alphas, rule the world. Wasn't the Chads and Staceys who created the internet empires, or the new technology that we all spend billions of dollars on annually. Chad and Stacey work for the betas that, way back in high school they made fun of.


So what in the hell, then, is so horrific that it requires going into a building and shooting up as many people as you can find? And this was a community college on top of that. We aren't talking about rich kids here. We're talking about young parents struggling to make it, retirees looking for a new direction, kids who needed extra help academically or who couldn't afford a traditional four year college.


We're talking about betas.


All this shooter accomplished, aside from his own death, was the end of the dreams of many, many people who were most likely just like him--fighting for the same recognition, the same validation as he.


What a waste. What a brutal, disgusting, fucking waste.


I posted this link and online thread for a reason--and I want to make that reason absolutely fucking crystal clear. EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL who participated in that online conversation with the alleged Umpqua mass murderer last night or this morning before the shooting took place IS an accomplice to that mass murder. EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL who posted in support of this murderer's planned actions SHOULD BE PROSECUTED AS AN ACCESSORY TO MURDER TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW.


That, to me, is undeniable.


But more importantly--and more frighteningly--for every individual who posted in that thread, there are hundreds of people who feel the exact same way as they did--and as the shooter did. Every single one of THOSE people--posters and viewers of the thread who didn't get involved--are potential dangers to our society. Who's to know how many of them will be encouraged, somehow, by what went down today? How many of those individuals are also potential mass shooters?


And how do we find them?


I am not an advocate of any sort of federal curtailment upon the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of press, speech, congregation, etc. I'm a writer; I just cannot approve of that in any way. But, I've got to consider it a matter of pressing urgency for law enforcement to identify potential shooters at some point BEFORE they find a way to get their hands on a gun. And if that means busting a few kids who bitch online that they got a bad grade and are going to shoot their teacher in addition to identifying shooters like this guy--well, so be it. If nothing else, that'll teach these kids that making online--or any kind--of threats will result in criminal charges. Hopefully, it'll make those shady online sites more liable for the goings-on under their realms of responsibility, and if those sections of the internet are patrolled to extinction, I seriously doubt more than 5% of the general population will ever even know about it. Or care.


In the end, it's a matter of immense importance for us to find, identify, apprehend, and remove people who are a threat to the safety and lives of people who are sitting in classrooms across this country, studying so that they can become a productive member of our society. Obviously, since our politicians are so reliant upon the NRA and other lobbyists who try to convince the intelligent segment of the US that the sale and ownership of semi-automatic and automatic weapons has some use OTHER than killing other people--and I've yet to meet a deer that needed an Uzi to bring it down--the government is too cowardly and ineffective to make any progress to affect the epidemic of guns that are killing our children. But those guns are being wielded by people without scruple, conscience, or morality. If these people are sick enough to hop online and brag about killing a bunch of strangers at school the next day, then they've got to be taken off our streets BEFORE some idiot in a pawn shop sells them a goddamn gun.


Yes, I'm furious. I am outraged. I am positively fucking pissed off.


But it's not about the guns. It's about our government not doing what WE PAY THEM TO DO.  So let's just put this out there.


FIND THE IDIOTS ONLINE WHO ARE THREATENING HARM TO OTHERS.


ARREST THEM. LOCK THEM UP.


PERIOD.


Because if you lock these idiots up before they start shooting, then no one's life gets ruined by tragedy. And who knows? Maybe I'll be able to sit in my house, writing on my novels...instead of worrying about my three beautiful little granddaughters and handsome little grandsons and KNOWING that to a kid with a troubled mind, any one of them would qualify as a Chad or a Stacey.


GET THE THREATS OFF THEIR COMPUTERS, OFF OUR STREETS, AND OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS.


And if you need a blueprint to the identities of some of the sick fucks who empowered the disaster in Roseberg today, then grab those IP addresses off the transcript I posted and GO GET THEM.


Prayers, tonight, for Roseberg. And for all of you, my readers. I hope and pray that none of us ever have to live through a day like the one all those families in Oregon are experiencing right now.