Bell Witch Cave

Posted by blogger in Nashville Ghost Tours
Bell Witch Cave - Photo

Many people are fascinated by the unknown. However, people are wanting more than just their fair share of movie thrillers. Today, people are looking for the real thing. They want something that is documented and that there have been proven hauntings. They want an area in which the special effects and storylines are based on true stories. One legend that people like is Bell Witch. It is said that this is a very evil entity that would torment a family. This family would be tormented from 1817 to 1821. This would involve real people and there were even people who had witnessed this.


In the earlier part of the 1800s, a man named John Bell had moved from his home in North Carolina to what is known as the Bottomland. This is located in Robertson County in Tennessee. He moved with his family. The community was named Red River at the time. However, years later it became known as Adams, Tennessee. John had purchased land as well as a large house for the family. It was over the next several years that he had been purchasing more land. He had acquired about 328 acres of land. He would proceed to clear much of the land for fields to plant. During this time he would also be an Elder of the local Baptist church. John and his family had three children when they moved to Tennessee. They had Betsy in 1806. This was their oldest child. Her real name was Elizabeth. They had a son in 1811 named Richard and another son in 1813 named Joel.


Strange Happenings

It wasn’t until 1817 that things began to get strange. John was inspecting one of his fields of corn and he had stumbled across an animal. This animal was very strange looking. It was sitting in between a row of corn. The appearance of the animal was a dog and a rabbit. The head was like a rabbit and the body looked like a dog. John shot at the animal several times, however, the animal simply vanished. John didn’t think much of this until after he had eaten dinner. It was that same evening that the family would hear strange sounds on the walls of their little log house. It sounded as if someone was beating on the outside of their house.

These sounds would continue and get louder and increase each night. John Bell with his boys would try to run outside to catch the person doing this, but they could never catch anyone. In the few weeks that would follow, the children of the house would wake up scared because they thought that rats were gnawing on the posts of their bed. It wasn’t long after this incident that they would complain that their covers were pulled off of them and they would have their pillows thrown to the floor from an invisible spirit.

As time would continue, the family would start to hear whispering voices. These voices were faint so they couldn’t make out what was said. However, they state it sounded like an older woman who was singing hymns. As they continued to live there, the encounters began to escalate. As the encounters escalated, Betsy would have brutal encounters with this entity. This entity would pull Betsy’s hair and even slap her over and over. These encounters would leave her with handprints on the body and face along with welts.  The father, John, would tell his family to keep these encounters a secret. However, the issues had escalated to a point where they would share their issues with a family friend named James Johnston.

A Night in the Bell Home

After he was told, James and his wife decided to spend the night in the home of their friends and neighbor. They had experienced the same things that the Bell family experienced.

After this experience, the voice became stronger and you could hear it. It would sing hymns and carry on intelligent conversations.

The Battle of New Orleans

John Bell and his eldest songs would fight the Battle of New Orleans under General Andrew Jackson. It was in 1819 that Jackson would visit the farm that supposedly had this entity. Jackson would have several men, a wagon, and his horses. When they reached the property, the wagon wouldn’t go and the horses would not pull it. They were physically unable to pull it. It was here that the entity got her name. The Bell Witch. After he did this, a female voice told Andrew that he could continue, however, she would see him later that night. One of the men on Jackson’s team claimed he could tame the witch. He claimed that the silver bullet in his pistol would kill evil spirits.

After he claimed this the man would begin jerking and complaining that he was being beaten and stuck with pins. He also claimed that he had been kicked with a foot in his groin area. This sent him straight out the door. The entity then claimed that this man was a fake and there was another fake that would be tormented the next evening. After this, the men that came with Jackson wanted to leave. However, Jackson wanted them to stay to know who the fraud was.

Betsy Bell

As Betsy became older, she was interested in Joshua Gardner. He was a young man and he didn’t live that far away. They were blessed by their parents and decided to get married. However, while everyone else was happy, the entity was not.


Betsy and her fiance would not be able to go to the field, cave, or river to play without being taunted by the entity. The couple’s patience wore thin. It was on Easter Monday in 1821 that Betsy has met her lover at the river and broke off their engagement. The disturbances from the entity had slowed down, however, the entity still continued to show her dislike for John. The entity vowed to kill him.

John Bell

Bell would experience weird things. He had issues with twitching of the face and had issues swallowing for a year. It seemed that these issues would grow worse as time went on. By 1820, he was confined to his home because his health was so bad. The entity would remove his shoes when he was trying to walk and even slap his face if he had a seizure. This entity would taunt Mr. Bell.

Mr. Bell had died on the morning of December 20, 1820. He had slipped into a coma the previous day and died. Right after he had passed away, the family found a small vial of some type of liquid. The son had given some of this liquid to a cat who had died instantly. The entity then claimed that she gave him the dose that killed him.


After John Bell’s Death

The funeral for John was very large. When the family began to leave the graveyard, the entity would laugh extremely loud and would sing a song. She sand about brandy. The singing would not stop until the last person had left the graveyard. After this, the entity was almost non-existent. It was almost as if her purpose was fulfilled.

It was in 1821 that the entity would return to visit the widow of John. The entity told her that she would be back in seven years. She had returned in1828, however, the visit surrounded John Bell Jr. The entity would talk about Christianity, the origin of life, and spiritual reawakening. Plus, she predicted the Civil War and several other events.

The entity left three weeks after and promised to visit the descendant of John Bell in 107 years. This would be 1935. This would be a doctor and he wrote a book called Bell Witch in 1934 and no follow-up book was written. Plus, he died only ten years later.


The entity that was described still is blamed for things that occur in the area. People often hear talking and children playing. Plus, they will see candle lights going through the park late at night. Plus, photographers are not shy of the mist, shadowy figures, and orbs that appear. The cave itself is located on the farmland where the home is.