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New York, NY – Movie goers might have seen the various scary Hollywood horror versions of this terrifying early American ghost story,,but until recently the chilling haunting and poltergeist case that transpired in rural Yalobusha County, Tennessee back in 1817 has never been properly examined or consequently explained. The full story is recounted in the newly released The Bell Witch Project: Poltergeists, Ghosts, Exorcism, and the Supernatural in Early American History, co-authored by popular talk show host and parapsychologist Paul Eno and published by Global Communications. In addition, during the month of October the A&E Network will premier what has all indications of being a hot new series titled Cursed: The Bell Witch.
The Bell Witch Project details the story of the Bell family, who were subjected to a long and frightening siege at the hands of a “monster” that invaded their home. The haunting ultimately gained an international reputation that has lasted to this very day.
The events began when John Bell, a highly respected farmer in a rural community called Adams, was confronted by a strange dog-like creature that suddenly appeared out of nowhere and than vanished. There soon followed strange, unexplainable noises in the house, sounds like knocking on doors and windows, wings flapping against the roof and animals fighting and scratching. As the noises became more intense, the family tried desperately to find the source, but to avail. One night the spirit began to speak, introducing itself with hysterical, mocking laughter and calling itself “Kate.”
From then on, Kate never ceased to speak, arguing theology, teasing, tormenting and spreading gossip. She seemed to know intimate details about everyone and took great delight in pestering the household at will. When asked why she had chosen to torment the Bell family, the spirit said she was a witch conjured by the late Kate Batts, an eccentric old woman who had placed a deathbed curse on John Bell for cheating her husband in a business deal some years before. Kate unleashed all hell on John Bell, throwing dishes and furniture at him as well as pulling his nose and yanking his hair. She yelled at night to keep him from sleeping and snatched the food from his mouth as he ate.
Andrew Jackson, the future president, had heard about the widely publicized witch and paid a visit to the Bell home to see for himself. He is said to have left the next morning saying he would rather fight the British in New Orleans than have to fight the Bell Witch. As for John Bell, after years of physical abuse from Kate, he died. His funeral was attended by hundreds of friends and curiosity seekers who could hear Kate laughing and mocking the family, even singing in her triumph.
But the eerie story of the Bell Witch is only a prelude to things even stranger. According to paranormal investigator Paul Eno, America has in general had a long history of fascination with the supernatural. For example, in the six New England states, in the years between 1770 and 1900, vampires were said to inhabit bodies of the dead and to prey only on members of their own families. In one case, a father petitioned the town council for permission to dig up the body of his 23-year old daughter because she was rising from the grave each night to drain the lives of her eight brothers and sisters. It was believed the body of the vampire must be exhumed and the bones broken to prevent its moving about. Also, the heart must be burned and ailing family members might be aided by inhaling the smoke from the fire or eating the ashes.
Eno also writes about a possible early cause for the Salem witch hysteria in Massachusetts: the 1692 invasion of the nearby town of Cape Ann by what came to be called the Specter Leaguers, seemingly an army of ghosts or demons. The intruders were impervious to lead or steel and could show themselves first in one place, then in another. They threw stones and beat upon barns with clubs. These specters appeared both night and day, dressed in white and carrying “bright guns,” though they acted more like hooligans than soldiers. Some feared an attack by the Indians, the French, or worse, while others believed it was an invasion by demons and that the Devil was loose in Cape Ann.
To round out the vampire and demon stories, Eno discusses a poltergeist incident that took place in Stratford, Connecticut, in 1850. A retired minister and his family were haunted by strange effigies, made from the family’s clothing, that appeared out of nowhere. Objects began to move around the house, with forks, spoons and knives being launched from places where no one was standing. The nighttime hours were filled with rapping, knockings, voices, screams and other bizarre sounds. By finally conducting a séance, the minister made contact with the poltergeist, who told the beleaguered reverend that it was a spirit in hell enduring torment for the sins it had committed in life. It said it had been troubling the minister’s household “for fun.”
And to think it all started with the Bell Witch and went on from there!
The Bell Witch Project is available from Amazon.com in print and Kindle editions http://www.amazon.com/Bell-Witch-Project-Poltergeist-Supernatural/dp/1606111892/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444884640&sr=1-1&keywords=bell+witch+project
ABOUT PAUL ENO: One of the most dependable paranormal investigators, Paul Eno has had a distinguished career as a newspaper and magazine reporter and editor. He is the author of seven books including Footsteps In The Attic and Faces At The Window which are considered classics of the paranormal genre. Paul has appeared multiple times on “Coast To Coast AM” with Art Bell and George Noory, as well as appearing on the Travel, Discovery and History Channels. Paul’s unusually long experience in the field (nearly 45 years), his hair-raising adventures with famous hauntings, along with his unique theories about the paranormal and its meaning for our understanding of the world and ourselves, make him a major draw on the talk show and lecture circuit. He co-hosts, along with his son, Ben, a weekly radio program called “Behind the
Paranormal” that boasts an estimated three million listeners. Those wish to interview Mr Eno should contact him directly at Paul@BehindTheParanormal.Com
To find out more about Paul Eno and his work, go to: www.newenglandghosts.com
The website for his radio show is: www.behindtheparanormal.com