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The Bell Witch Hauntings (An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch: A True Story)
 
 

The Bell Witch Hauntings (An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch: A True Story) [Kindle Edition]

Martin Van Buren Ingram
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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NOTE: This edition has a linked "Table of Contents" and has been beautifully formatted (searchable and interlinked) to work on your Amazon e-book reader or iPod e-book reader.

An Authenticated History of the Famous Bell Witch: A True Story (also called the Red Book).

The Bell Witch or Bell Witch Haunting is a poltergeist legend from Southern United States folklore, involving the Bell family of Adams, Tennessee. The legend is the basis of the films An American Haunting (2006) and The Bell Witch Haunting (2004), and may have influenced the production of The Blair Witch Project (1999).

According to the legend, the first manifestation of the haunting occurred in 1817 when John William Bell, Sr. encountered a strange animal in a cornfield on his large farm in Robertson County, on the Red River, near Adams, Tennessee.

This incident was quickly followed by a series of strange beating and gnawing noises manifesting outside and eventually inside the Bell residence. Betsy Bell, the family's younger daughter claimed to have been assaulted by an invisible force.

Some people believe that the spirit returned in 1935, the year when the witch claimed it would return ("one hundred years and seven" past 1828), and took up residence on the former Bell property.

The most famous account is recorded in what has come to be called the Red Book, the 1894 An Authenticated History of the Bell Witch of Tennessee by Martin Van Buren Ingram, which cites the earlier Richard William Bell's Diary: Our Family Trouble. Richard Williams Bell lists several witnesses, including General (later President) Andrew Jackson.

That account and also an account of a related incident, The Mississippi Bell Witch account are included in this volume. Bell Witch legends are almost as prevalent in Mississippi as they are in Tennessee because of the fact that the families of two of John Bell's children moved to Mississippi in the 1830's

A must-have for classic mystery and ghost story fans!

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, unexpectedly absorbing read 16 Feb 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This is a really good read comprising multiple testimonies pertaining to an alleged haunting that took place in the American South in the 19th century. The book comprises numerous first and second hand testimonies of the incidents, including a long account by Williams Bell, who was one of the sons of the afflicted family and claimed to have experienced the haunting first hand. There are also numerous second-hand accounts recorded by the next generation of those who had experienced the phenomena (bearing in mind the text of this book was written some years after the hauntings had ceased) and is more full of journalistic integrity than sensational. In fact, the reported events are sensational enough without needing any elaboration. There is also an interesting chapter on religious views of hauntings and supernatural phenomena, as well as some documentary records of legends that have arisen in connection with the Bell phenomena. The legends, which have entered into local folklore, are kept quite separate from the testimonies which are treated as seriously as any given in a court of law, and in fact this comparison is made frequently. I did find the frequent racist terminology to be very jarring and occasionally upsetting, even though this reflects the fact that the Bell hauntings did take place during slavery, and so slaves are frequently referred to in various testimonies by the full range of offensive terminology. Testimonies of slaves are also included, as well as witness testimonies as to the reliability of the various protagonists. As well as the information relating to the haunting, the book also provides a wonderful snapshot of a real community who, together, experienced something that was at the very least surreal. Altogether I read this book in as close to a single sitting as time would allow (and it is fairly long). It is extremely fascinating and absorbing and recommended to anyone with an interest in documented hauntings.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not For Everyone 7 Dec 2010
By M. Dowden HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Published in the 19th Century I have to admit that this book will not appeal to lots of people, but if you have heard of the Bell Witch then this may tickle your fancy. Martin Van Buren Ingram, probably better known as M. V. Ingram was a well known journalist in the Southern United States.

What is reported here is considered by many to be true events, but as we all know, trickery, hoaxes and hysteria have caused the same phenomena and reportings before. The happenings though have definitely become folklore with 'Kate', as the witch was known appearing as different animals, or even just a voice, and at one time joined by a whole 'witch' family. Indeed calling this apparition a witch is a bit misleading, perhaps a hobgoblin would better describe the character. It was initially believed that she was rather benevolent, but trying to attend a Baptist and Methodist church sermons at the same time addled her brain.

The actual legend has inspired at least three films, one of those being the The Blair Witch Project [DVD] [1999], and as well as the legend being famous at the time still has its followers and believers today. This book contains short biographies of the Bell family members, with reported sightings, etc. of the 'witch' both by the family and others. There are quite a few typos in this book, but if you are interested in this kind of 'haunting' tale, or indeed looking for inspiration for writing a horror story, then this should keep you interested.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bell Witch Hauntings 21 April 2013
By Philida
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I bought this knowing next to nothing about the book or the events it is based on, which was my mistake. I love American history and folklore and I'm fond of ghost stories, so I had hoped this would be a suspenseful, Shirley Jackson-esque read (again, I hadn't realised that this book was written in 1894). Unfortunately, I found this very dry and lacking in substance (a lot of the stories about the Bell Witch are rehashed over and over again as we read the various testimonies from people who once knew the family this happened to). Ingram's writing style is plagued by the worst sort of late nineteenth-century American literary tics: it's eye-rollingly sentimental and very hard to take seriously. The depiction of black people is also uncomfortably of its time.

Other than a few amusing anecdotes and the surprisingly well-written final few pages, this ended up being a bit of a chore to read. Perhaps a literary historian might find it useful, but I found its uneven style not worth the bother. Although I suppose, if nothing else, it was a lesson for me in reading up on what I'm about to buy.

I will also add that the formatting didn't endear itself to me. I'm not sure if these problems are a relic of the original publication, but there are many moments where a paragraph break would have been much appreciated and a number of typos that demonstrate that if any proof-reading occurred, it wasn't undertaken seriously.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Bell Witch Book 16 Oct 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
For anyone with an interest of the unexplained, or unexplainable, this is the book to read. Many years ago when I was a young man,I experienced something I could not explain. A few years later, whilst in South Wales on vacation with my family, I experienced a truly unexplainable occurrence, someone walked along the hall dragging a trunk(for the noise it made, that was all it could be), went down the stairs and out of the cottage we'd rented. All this time, the bedroom door remained open, but no one passed the door. As I reached the door I could hear distinct footfall, and the trunk banging on each stair,scraping on the floor as it was pulled out the door. So you see, there are truly things which defy any solution, just as this book does.
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On her deathbed she swore that she would come back and “haunt John Bell and all his kith and kin to their graves.” &quote;
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the hickory used by our fathers was more potent in correcting bad morals than the penitentiaries of today, and was not less humane. &quote;
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bought a section of land from Mrs. Kate Batts, a neighbor who had a reputation for meanness. &quote;
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