witch

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 71: Pere Cheney – The Town that Disappeared

“Where there is mystery, it is generally suspected there must also be evil.”

— Lord George Gordon Byron

 
The spot where the hopeful town of Pere Cheney, Michigan once stood, halfway between the current towns of Grayling and Roscommon.  All that's left standing are a few gravestones in the town's cemetery, since most have been vandalized and destroyed and the buildings have long since vanished.  You can still legally visit the cemetery during daylight hours, but you'll need to know exactly where it is, along with a vehicle with enough ground clearance and a bit of courage, of course.  But be forewarned — those that desecrate the graves of the dead will live just long enough to regret it. 
 

Background:

The logging town of Pere Cheney, Michigan once showed a lot of promise as a place where hardworking men and women of the late 19th century could raise a family — that is until two epidemics of diphtheria and devastating fires reduced it to a ghost town.  And if you believe the accounts of some visitors to the nearby cemetery, Pere Cheney's tragic fate doomed it to be an actual town of ghosts; the playful ghosts of the children who fell victim to the disease. But who's to blame for the sad ending of this once thriving village?  Surely something, or someone, must be the cause of the town's bad luck, and if you believe the local legends, that someone was a witch who cursed it right before she was hanged and buried in that very cemetery.  Or maybe she was burned?  Or maybe it wasn't a witch at all, but a banished unwed mother who cursed the lot of it just the same?  Whatever legend you choose to believe, whether the cemetery of Pere Cheney is a playground of the damned or no more spooky than your average graveyard, those that have felt its chill can tell you that it only takes a little bit of haunting to put the fear in you.

 
 

Related Books:

 

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The Dark Myths Collective

http://darkmyths.org/

 

Credits:

Episode 71: Pere Cheney: The Town that Disappeared.  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.