DVD Review: The Bell Witch Legend
Written By: Paranormal News
I received The Bell Witch Legend a couple days ago from Zac Adams, and immediately showed it to my wife and asked her if she wanted to help me do a review. She’s usually pretty squeamish when it comes to legends and ghost videos that I receive, so she asked me what it was about before just sitting down with me to watch it. To give her some context, I told her it pretty much served as the inspiration for the Blair Witch movie. “You know how long it took me to get over that movie?” She said. “No way, watch it alone.” So watch it alone, I did.
For those of you less squeamish about the Blair Witch, the Bell Witch Legend is a documentary about the Bell family from Robertson County, Tennessee. The legend centers around a poltergeist encounter that tortured the family over several years, torture which included sickness, inexplicable welts on the children, noises, and ultimately death.
It has always been a mystery as to why the family was persecuted so much, and many people looked into the community at the time to find the answer. One possible source for the haunting was Kate Batts, an extremely unusual woman who many people thought was a witch. Kate felt that she was cheated in a land deal with the Bells, so she possibly summoned a demon or spirit or ghost or poltergeist—depending on who you are talking to—which took the form of the now infamous Bell Witch who, coincidentally, called itself “Kate.”
At the time of the haunting, the story became infamous enough for Andrew Jackson, the future president of the United States, to seek out the Bell household in order to experience the legend for himself. He brought in a wagonload of troops, and when they neared the property, the wagon seized up and would not budge. When Jackson declared that it must be the Bell Witch, he heard a voice that allowed him and his horses and his wagon to continue on to meet the family. Apparently he stayed for at least one night with his troops, and one curious piece of lore states that afterwards, Jackson said he would rather face the whole of the British army than spend another night at the Bell household. True? Not true? Who knows. Nice touch, though.
In addition to the legend’s position in US history, the Bell Witch is also the first known account of a ghost that physically killed a human being—John Bell. Apparently, he was poisoned by the Bell Witch during the night through the use of a smoky vial in his medicine cabinet. Upon finding him, the family heard a voice who claimed credit. I found this aspect of the legend a bit too convenient—for a living unknown someone. But again, who knows.
The documentary interviews local historians, residents, and even the current generation of the Bell household who now own a funeral home. In all the accounts and interviews, there is an honesty present—in other words, the locals who are interviewed don’t seem to be telling the tale to help fuel the purchase of merchandise. No one claims that all elements of the story are true, and those who are being interviewed seem to tell the story with a shrug that says, “well, maybe.”
Probably because of its association with slavery, the southern half of the United States contains heaps of ghost lore, and The Bell Witch Legend DVD is a successful contribution. Add this DVD to your collection right along side of Zac Adams other effort, Southern Haunts.