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The Bell Witch

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The Bell Witch left the Bell household in 1821, saying that she would return in seven years time. She made good on her promise and "appeared" at the home of John Bell, Jr. where, it is said, she left him with prophecies of future events, including the Civil War, and World Wars I and II. The ghost said it would reappear 107 years later - in 1935 - but if she did, no one in Adams came forward as a witness to it.

Some claim that the spirit still haunts the area. On the property once owned by the Bells is a cave, which has since become known as The Bell Witch Cave, and many locals claim to have seen strange apparitions at the cave and at other spots on the property.

AN EXPLANATION?

A few rational explanations of The Bell Witch phenomena have been offered over the years. The haunting, they say, was a hoax perpetrated by Richard Powell, the schoolteacher of Betsy Bell and Joshua Gardner, with whom Betsy was in love. It seems Powell was deeply in love with the young Betsy and would do anything to destroy her relationship with Gardner. Through a variety of pranks, tricks, and with the help of several accomplices, it is theorized that Powell created all of the "effects" of the ghost to scare Gardner away.

Indeed, Gardner was the target of much of the witch's violent taunting, and he eventually did break up with Betsy and left the area. It has never been satisfactorily explained how Powell achieved all these remarkable effects, including paralyzing Andrew Jackson's wagon. But he did come out the winner. He married Betsy Bell.

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