They sat down and the dog began to fight with something invisible. Two minutes later, the door flew open and fire spread across the room blown by a cyclonic wind with the coals disappearing as they tried to put it out. Johnson started home on his horse and something jumped on the back grabbing his shoulder as he tried to restrain the horse.
He felt it jump off as he neared his home and move in the leaves into the woods. Winters reported taking a peculiar bird while hunting with great difficulty. After he returned home, he opened the game-bag to discover the bird had disappeared and in place was a rabbit which then also disappeared. While burning vegetation outdoors, Mr. Rowland described a visit at 9 p. Rowland to follow him and dig at a large rock.
The figure then disappeared. Rowland dug that night until exhaustion. He received help the next morning from Bill Burgess and Mr. Johnson and discovered something described as a "kettle turned bottom upward. The report concludes saying that many people were visiting to see the witch. The consequences of poor health, family tragedy and fire limited his continuing interest in the newspaper industry. Barksdale, wrote of his friend and colleague:. We doubt exceedingly if there ever lived a man who performed as much self-sacrificing labor to further the interests of the community in which he lived.
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He became a citizen of Clarksville forty years ago and from that time practically until the day of his death his greatest concern was the advancement and welfare of his adopted town and county A man of true mold, he despised all deceit, trickery, and littleness, and with a courage which nothing could daunt, he laid on the journalistic lash unsparingly whenever he thought the occasion required.
Naturally, his was not a pathway strewn with roses — his was an aggressive nature, a fact which often brought him into serious collision with those with whom he took issue. Time, however, usually justified him in the positions which he assumed. The week of January 24, , Ingram was suffering from a "severe case of la grippe. Ingram subsequently traveled to Chicago in October , while editor of the Progress-Democrat , in an attempt to publish his manuscript, An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch.
Titus of Clarksville would print the work. Titus stated the witch demonstrated with maniacal singing, laughter, prayers, moaning, clapping, and rattling of the roof. The phenomena caused the printers to evacuate. Now, nearly seventy-five years having elapsed, the old members of the family who suffered the torments having all passed away, and the witch story still continues to be discussed as widely as the family name is known, under misconception of the facts, I have concluded that in justice to the memory of an honored ancestry, and to the public also whose minds have been abused in regard to the matter, it would be well to give the whole story to the World.
Allen Bell expressed the belief that his father's manuscript was written when he was 35 years old in He stated his father gave him the manuscript and family notes shortly before his death in Richard Williams Bell was roughly 6 to 10 years of age during the initial manifestations of the Bell Witch phenomenon and 17 at the occurrence of the spirit's return in The reported contributions of Richard Williams Bell, approximately 90 pages in length, are recorded in Chapter 8 of Ingram's work, entitled Our Family Trouble.
According to Brian Dunning no one has ever seen this diary, and there is no evidence that it ever existed: Brooks explores the possibility that Ingram would have had an enhanced opportunity to modify the story by not returning the papers. Keith Cartwright of the University of North Florida compares Ingram's work with Uncle Remus folklore as recorded by Joel Chandler Harris and also as an expression of the psychological shame of slavery and Native American removal. The slaves in the account are regarded as experts on the witch, with Uncle Zeke identifying the witch as, "dat Injun spirit Andrew Jackson was brought nearly to heel and the master, John Bell, was dead.
The role of the trickster not played by the Br'er Rabbit but the witch-rabbit, the spirit's common animal form. The displaced, blacks, widows and girls, act as witness to a force polite society cannot comprehend. The witch, "appears as a catch-all for every remainder of resistant agency.
Among those who were alive during the haunting, Ingram conducted interviews with Ibby Gunn, born in , a daughter of Uncle Zeke and the sister-in-law of Dean, as well as Mahala Byrns Darden, born circa , daughter of James Byrns. Ibby Gunn shared some experiences of Dean including the creation of a witch ball made of hair by her sister Kate for her husband Dean, the use of which appeared to anger the entity.
The chapter is a letter from Thomas L. Yancey, an attorney in Clarksville, dated January Yancey explained that his grandfather, Whitmel Fort, was a witness to phenomena at the Bell homestead and Fort had related the story of Jackson's visit which was undated in the letter.
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Yancey described his grandfather's account as, "quite amusing to me. The Bell household was strained of resources from visitors and Jackson brought a wagon load of supplies with his men. Nearing the Bell homestead, the wagon stopped and appeared fastened to its position despite considerable effort by Jackson's men to free it. Jackson exclaimed, "By the eternal, boys, it is the witch. Instead of camping out, the party stayed at the Bell home that evening. Among the Jackson party was a 'witch layer' who boasted of his supernatural exploits.
Tiring of the bravado, Jackson whispered, "By the eternals, I do wish the thing would come, I want to see him run. The man's gun would not fire. The witch countered, "I'll teach you a lesson," and appeared to beat the man and led him out the door by his nose. Jackson exclaimed, "By the eternal, boys, I never saw so much fun in all my life. This beats fighting the British. That morning Jackson's men chose to leave for home as they were apprehensive as to who was next.
Paranormal investigator Benjamin Radford , as well as Brian Dunning, conclude that there is no evidence that Andrew Jackson visited the Bell family home. During the years in question, Jackson's movements were well documented, and nowhere in history or his writings is there evidence of his knowledge of the Bell family. According to Dunning, "The Presidential election was notoriously malicious, and it seems hard to believe that his opponent would have overlooked the opportunity to drag him through the mud for having lost a fight to a witch.
Such legends, which may persist in a locale for generations, upon receiving a media treatment can spread far outside of the area where the legend originated. A prophecy was reported by May that the witch could return on the centennial of the Bell family arrival in Tennessee. The Herald also stated the copyright for Ingram's work had passed to his son Tolbert who was working at The Denver Times. A Mysterious Spirit in In the work, he recounted stories he stated were told to him by his great aunt Betsy later in her life.
This included another account of Andrew Jackson's visit and of a boy trapped in the Bell Witch Cave and pulled out of the cave feet first by the witch. Bell also detailed a series of prophecies he stated were given to his ancestors in by the spirit, including a declaration the witch was set to return again in , years after her last visit to the Bell family. In , there were reports of quirky events. Louis Garrison, owner of the farm that included the Bell Witch Cave, heard unexplained noises coming from inside.
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Bell descendants described the sound of something rubbing against a house, a paper like object that flew out the door and reentered through a side door, and faint music heard from a piano. The group were joking about the legend when they saw a figure of a woman sitting on top of the cliff over the cave causing many to flee.
The second report concluded with a weather report that the moon was barely noticeable that night. In November , an article was published involving an antique oak rocking chair said to have been previously owned by attorney Charlie Willett, a Bell descendant. The rocking chair was acquired in Willett's estate sale by Mrs. Adams, owner of an antique store on U. A customer sat down in the chair, after learning it was not for sale, and while rocking in the chair asked Mrs. Adams if she believed in the supernatural.
Mud Witch Boy of Ghost Canyon
Two weeks later, the customer's daughter visited the home of Mrs. Adams and said after her mother had left and visited the Bell cemetery a voice told her to "stand up and look around, you will find something of much value. She turned the kettle over and found a pearl buckle in the grass. The woman's daughter reported a jeweler estimated the buckle to be to years old. Attorney Charles Romaine Willett , son of Sarah Elizabeth Bell, began an interest in the newspaper business at the age of After some time playing professional baseball and working at other newspapers, Willett became the first managing editor of the Nashville Tennessean in while teaching himself law.
A mayor of Adams, and member of the State legislature, Charlie Willett was known for his reliability. According to community lore, the couple never married so as not to tempt fate as they descended from the Bell and Gardner families respectively. Brooks inquired what the couple thought about the rumor in the early s. Jerry Gardner explained if Charlie Willet ever asked her to marry him, she would assent.
Mud Witch Boy of Ghost Canyon by Valerie Temple [Charlotte M. Liebel Review]
When Brooks related this to Charlie Willett, he immediately smiled, pulled his thumbs through his suspenders and said, "Oh, she said that, did she? Bonnie Haneline, in , recounted a time during her childhood in when she was exploring the cave. She left English class, playing 'hooky,' and borrowed a lantern from Mrs. Garrison, the cave owner. She reported to have explored the cave with her friends for several years. While she was inside, her lantern blew out despite no breeze inside the cave.
She managed to relight the lantern and it blew out again. Terrified, she crawled along the water path of the cave in the dark until she reached the entrance where she saw an opened can of pork and beans and marshmallows. Later that evening, she learned law enforcement discovered two escaped fugitives in the back of the cave. She credited the witch with helping her avoid them. One of the soldiers was sitting on a rock and expressed skepticism of the legend when something invisible grabbed him around the chest. In , staff writer David Jarrard for The Tennessean and photographer Bill Wilson, the latter also a member of the National Speleological Society , were given permission to sleep in the cave over night.
While in the first cave room they heard a noise from deeper in the cave Jarrard estimated at 30 yards. Subsequently, an "unwavering groan" repeated again with greater volume and accompanied by several loud thumps. When it began a third time, the men retreated to the gate entrance. They explored the wiring to the lights looking for a reason for the noises. They went back to the first cave room but heard a rumble near the entrance.
Walking back to the entrance they discovered the rumble was noise from a jet. As they reached the gate, a loud, high pitched scream emanated from inside the cave. The journalists left and did not spend the night. Sanders, owner of a nearby gas station, reported 20 years earlier he ran out of gas at night near the Red River across from the Bell Witch Cave.
He began to walk towards town when a rabbit came out of the woods and began to follow him. Sanders walked faster, but the rabbit kept pace even as he broke out into a run. After a mile, Sanders sat down on a log to catch his breath. The rabbit hopped up on the other side of the log looked at him and said, "Hell of a race we had there, wasn't it? According to Radford, the Bell Witch story is an important one for all paranormal researchers: All the significant facts of the story have been falsified, and the others come from a source of dubious credibility.
Charlotte M. Liebel / @Sharliebel ~ author-reviewer ~
Since no reliable documentation of any actual events exists, there is nothing worth looking into. Dunning concludes, "I chalk up the Bell Witch as nothing more than one of many unsubstantiated folk legends, vastly embellished and popularized by an opportunistic author of historical fiction. Joe Nickell has written that many of those who knew Betsy suspected her of fraud and the Bell Witch story "sounds suspiciously like an example of "the poltergeist-faking syndrome" in which someone, typically a child, causes the mischief. Amy Fluker, a researcher of the Mississippi version of the legend while affiliated with the University of Mississippi , has expressed the Bell Witch legend has other value.
It does matter that people believe they are. As a result, they can help us understand the perspectives, in this case, of 19th and 20th century Americans. There have been several movies based, at least in part, on the Bell Witch legend. Roger Clarke, former film critic for The Independent , argues the legend has also had a measurable influence on cinema such as in the Poltergeist film series, the found footage Paranormal Activity film series, The Witch released in , the trope of burial ground disturbance in The Amityville Horror , and the apport of cherries to the children in Mama released in An American television series — Cursed: The Bell Witch — based on descendants of the Bell family trying to end the curse.
The Legend of the Bell Witch in The play was written by Audrey Campbell. First performed in by the Sumner County Players.
A play by David Alford, Spirit: Seattle-based doom metal band Bell Witch took their name from this legend. Merle Kilgore recorded a song titled "The Bell Witch" in And life finds a void without a forest of trees and memories and dreams. The book starts with the creation of a primitive little boy in the wilderness who wanders to the prehistoric town of ancestors who are cave-dwellers.
Each chapter begins with introductions about the boy in soulful poetry and illustrations. Mud Witch Boy is from nature and communicates with grunts like children reared in the wilderness among animals, a feral child. Animals are friendly toward him because he is like them in his behaviors, smelling and scratching. Each day, the boy is growing more intelligent and trying to learn to act differently.
However, the depravity of these people soon surfaces. We see that they floundered into greed and wastefulness. The joys they could have were lost and disappeared with their former culture. They trick the trusting boy and animals and in such chaos they run away. For a while, the boy stays away from the townspeople and hides. When Mud Witch Boy returns he must teach these people what is missing in their lives.
With great effort, Mud Witch Boy leads the children and adults to restore the trees and return people to dreams with the help of nature and the animals who contribute their gifts of knowledge. The story of Mud Witch Boy of Ghost Canyon is inspirational and heartwarming and suitable to people of all ages. Order the book at all booksellers. Available in soft cover and ebook. There are no discussion topics on this book yet. A figure riding a dog-like creature is etched high upon the canyon walls.
Ancient pot shards show the same mysterious images. But not even the storyteller Dreaming Bear can tell you what these images Mud Witch Boy of Ghost Canyon. Mud Witch Boy speaks in grunts, growls and whistles. But not even the storyteller Dreaming Bear can tell you what these images mean or the story behind them.