occult

Ep 85: The Bell Witch Part 1

Illustration of William Porter attempting to burn "Kate" the Bell Witch, from the book by M. V. Ingram, An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"I am a spirit from everywhere, Heaven, Hell, the earth; am in the air, in houses, in any place at any time; have been created millions of years; that is all I will tell you.”
– The Bell Witch
 
LOCATION: The town of Adams, in Robertson County, Tennessee.  At the time the Bell and Johnston families lived there in the early 19th century, it was known as the Red River Community.
Map showing the plots of the various families homesteading in the Red River Community in the early 19th century, now known as the town of Adams, TN.  Map overlay provided by David Britton, Tennessee State Park Ranger, and manager of the Port Royal State Historic Park, 7 miles from Adams, TN.  Port Royal was the closest town to the Bell family farm at that time.

Map showing the plots of the various families homesteading in the Red River Community in the early 19th century, now known as the town of Adams, TN.  Map overlay provided by David Britton, Tennessee State Park Ranger, and manager of the Port Royal State Historic Park, 7 miles from Adams, TN.  Port Royal was the closest town to the Bell family farm at that time.

 

BACKGROUND:

Every family has their stories passed down from generation to generation, but most aren't as fantastical or have made as much of an impact on regional history as the legend of the Bell Witch.  From about 1817 to 1821 in the Red River Community, now known as Adams, Tennessee, some sort of supernatural entity known as the "Bell Witch" was claimed to have terrorized the family of John Bell.  The activity was not just confined to the Bells, but many in the area at the time reported instances of poltergeist annoyances like slapping and pinching that then progressed to pranks and premonition, then to beatings and even murder.  If the story of the Bell Witch is just a family's "tall tale" then it's one of the most fascinating and enduring family legends in American history.  If the Bell folklore is even remotely true, then the consideration of trying to keep your own family safe from an omniscient, deceitful, vengeful and violent entity that wants you dead, surely makes for one of the most frightening tales ever told.

 
 

Related Books:

The Bell Witch of Tennessee
By Charles Bailey Bell, Harriet Parks Miller
The Bell witch of Middle Tennessee
By Harriet Parks Miller
 

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The Dark Myths Collective  

http://darkmyths.org/

 

Credits:

Episode 85: The Bell Witch Part 1.  Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess; Audio Editing by Sarah Vorhees; Ryan McCullough Sound Design; Research Assistance by Tess Pfeifle and the astonishing League of Astonishing Researchers, a.k.a. The Astonishing Research Corps, or "A.R.C." for short. Copyright 2017 Astonishing Legends Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Ep 84: Houska Castle – Gateway to Hell (Part 2)

Image of Houska Castle's chapel, over which the fissure or "Gate to Hell" was built.  Photo Credit by Scary Side of Earth on flickr, used with CC by 2.0 attribution.

"How well I have learned that there is no fence to sit on between heaven and hell.  There is a deep, wide gulf, a chasm, and in that chasm is no place for any man."
– Johnny Cash
 
LOCATION: Castle or "Hrad" Houska, in the Czech Republic
 
Map showing location of Hauska Castle relative to other medieval Bohemian castles that were under Nazi control during WWII.  Map created by A.R.C. member Cody Rice.
 

BACKGROUND:

There are two connected, yet distinct traditions of weirdness concerning Houska Castle: its mysterious, violent and spotty history of purpose and ownership, and the reported sightings of horrific creatures and terrifying specters since its founding.  Regarding the castle's originally intended design; whether it was really built to keep something from escaping rather than defense from outside forces, the lack of any definitive or comprehensive historical records will only lead to debate and speculation.  However, those that have been inside the walls of this fortress and others in the region will tell you that Houska's architecture clearly doesn't seem to fit with the standard intentions.  Regarding the encounters with frightening phantoms, if you believe places can be haunted, Houska Castle seems to be just that. 

 

 

 

 

Reference Links:

 

Related Books:

77 Prague legends
By Alena Jezkova
 

Suggested listening:

Mission to Zyxx is an Improv Comedy Sci-Fi podcast about a crew of interstellar ambassadors traveling to the far reaches of space, created by veteran comedians from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, with special guests from Saturday Night Live, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Chris Gethard Show, Search Party and other great comedy shows you know and love.  Find, Subscribe and Listen NOW to the first season of Mission to Zyxx, available on Apple Podcasts, audioBoom, or wherever you find really, really funny podcasts.

 

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The Dark Myths Collective  

http://darkmyths.org/

 

Credits:

Episode 84: Houska Castle – Gateway to Hell (Part 2).  Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess; Audio Editing by Sarah Vorhees; Ryan McCullough Sound Design; Research Assistance by Tess Pfeifle and the astonishing League of Astonishing Researchers, a.k.a. The Astonishing Research Corps, or "A.R.C." for short. Copyright 2017 Astonishing Legends Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Ep 83: Houska Castle – Gateway to Hell (Part 1)

Title image of Houska Castle By Mirek256 - Own work, "Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0" CC BY-SA 3.0

"The gates of hell are open night and day; Smooth the descent and easy is the way.”
– John Dryden’s translation of Virgil’s Aeneid , Book  6, Line 126

 
LOCATION: Castle or "Hrad" Houska, in the Czech Republic
 
Map showing location of Hauska Castle relative to other medieval Bohemian castles that were under Nazi control during WWII.  Map created by A.R.C. member Cody Rice.
 

BACKGROUND:

The descriptor "Hell Hole" can currently describe anything from your first apartment to the workplace you dread, but where do we get that term?  Ages ago, could there have been a hole that people believed led straight to the depths of hell itself?  There are several sites in our world that could lay claim to that title, where the "veil" to the underworld seems a little "thin," but a historically solid contender would no doubt be Houska Castle, about 40 miles north of Prague in the Czech Republic.  Tales of demonic beasts issuing forth from the chasm and visiting violence upon villagers and ghastly specters scaring those who roam the castle grounds have been known since the Middle Ages to the present, but what of the edifice itself? No matter what you believe about the folklore, what can't be denied is that the castle was not built for the usual reasons – instead of a fortification to keep people out, it was built to keep things in.

 

Suggested listening:

Mission to Zyxx is an Improv Comedy Sci-Fi podcast about a crew of interstellar ambassadors traveling to the far reaches of space, created by veteran comedians from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, with special guests from Saturday Night Live, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Chris Gethard Show, Search Party and other great comedy shows you know and love.  Find, Subscribe and Listen NOW to the first season of Mission to Zyxx, available on Apple Podcasts, audioBoom, or wherever you find really, really funny podcasts.

 
 

Related Books:

 

Special Offers from our Special Sponsors:

  • The Great Courses Plus – Learn about anything with over 8000 lectures on almost any subject you can think of – from history and science to forensic crime and genealogy!  Now you can get unlimited access to all of their lectures for free for a whole month by going to: TheGreatCoursesPlus.com/LEGENDS
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  • Blue Apron – It's the #1 recipe and fresh ingredient delivery service in the country.  And Blue Apron knows you’re busy so now they’re offering "30-Minute Meals!"  Check out this week’s menu and get your first THREE meals FREE, with FREE SHIPPING, by going to blueapron.com/astonishing
     
 

The Dark Myths Collective  

http://darkmyths.org/

 

Credits:

Episode 83: Houska Castle – Gateway to Hell (Part 1).  Produced by Scott Philbrook & Forrest Burgess; Audio Editing by Sarah Vorhees; Ryan McCullough Sound Design; Research Assistance by Tess Pfeifle and the astonishing League of Astonishing Researchers, a.k.a. The Astonishing Research Corps, or "A.R.C." for short. Copyright 2017 Astonishing Legends Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.