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Bell Witch, Adams, Tennessee©
When I think of the Bell Witch, I think of one of my elementary school teachers that married into the Bell family. During the time she was my teacher, I do not remember her talking about the Bell Witch in class. From time to time, I would hear some of my classmates refer to her as the Bell Witch. I assumed her name was a typical grade school reaction to a teacher by students that did not like her. From my recollections, I believe I was not aware of the Bell Witch when she was my teacher.
This article is not about the actual Bell Witch, because I never met her. It is about a few of my experiences with the Bell family and the Bell Witch family grave yard. When Ms Bell was my teacher, I was not aware of the historical aspect of the Bell Witch and the stories associated with the Bell Witch. President Andrew Jackson supposedly visited Adams, Tennessee, to find out the truth about the Bell Witch. He supposedly had an interesting encounter with the Bell Witch. She kept the horses from moving Jackson’s coach.
In the 1960s there was a song about the Bell Witch that was sung by the country singer, Ensen Cargill. It was at this time that I found out about my former teacher, the Bell family, and the Bell Witch. I have wondered how I would have reacted differently to her if I knew about the Bell Witch when she was my teacher. I guess she liked and trusted me, because I was one of two students she selected to count the lunch money collected each week. At that time, I would not admit it, but I liked her.
I worked part-time for a grocery store during some of my teenage years. My teacher and her family were good customers of the grocery store. I got to learn about my teacher, her son, husband, and father-in-law. I liked them. I got another view of her as a person instead of the strict teacher. She smiled a lot and would talk to me. Her son was well mannered, and I liked teasing him. He was about seven years old. Her husband did not talk much and was polite.
I was a little uneasy about them being part of the Bell Witch family. I finally worked out my teenage logic problem about the Bell family when I understood the events associated with the Bell Witch occurred in the 1700s and did not involve the people I knew. In 1985, I purchased the book, “The Bell Witch of Tennessee” by Charles Bailey Bell. Its copyright date is 1934. From this book, I learned lots of interesting stuff about things that supposedly happened between the Bell family and the witch.
The Bell Witch Small Coke Bottle
I got to know my teacher’s father-in-law. He was a retired farmer and several of his buddies would meet at the grocery store when it opened each morning, drink a small coke, and swap stories. I had some questions about the truth of the stories. They never talked about the Bell Witch when I could hear what they were saying.
Mr. Bell was funny, and I enjoyed listening to him as he entered into the discussions generated by my shenanigans that I will later explain. I looked forward to him attending the morning coke and story time.
The men had a ritual when they got their small coke bottle out of the Coke machine. On the bottom of the coke bottle was molded into the glass bottle the name of the town of the bottling company for which the bottle was originally made. They would look at the name on the bottom of the bottles. They had two ways of determining who would get their coke free. The winner would be the person with the bottle with the name of the town that was closest to where we lived or the town that was the farthest away from the town in which we lived. It was fun listening to their arguments about who won the day’s free coke. I do not remember how they gave the person that “won” the money for his coke. A six and one-half ounce coke bottle cost ten cents. A ten-ounce coke was, also, ten cents. When I purchased a coke, I always got the ten-ounce coke bottle.
I decided to participate in their fun without them knowing. The last thing I did each night was to fill the drink machine. This is where I participated in their fun. The drink machine had about fifteen rows. Each row was connected to a channel that fed drinks to the slot from which a bottle could be pulled out of the drink machine after a dime was inserted. About ten bottles could be put in each channel.
From time to time while at work, I did not have anything to do so I would use this time to go through the cartons of small bottled cokes and select the bottles I would use to tease the men. I selected bottles with the same town’s name, town’s that were several hundred miles from where we lived, bottles with names of towns that were near where we live, and any other combination I though of that could be used to trick the men. When I filled the drink machine at night, I would put the selected bottles for the next morning in the channels normally used for small coke bottles which was the popular drink sold at that time. I noticed that each man typically would select a bottle from the same channel day after day. With this fact, I could often determine which man won the next morning.
To keep the men from getting suspicious that someone may be messing with their cokes, I would not use the same way of stacking the bottles. I would let a few days pass between when I would use unusual ways of packing the bottles. One time I used bottles with the same town’s name. I could not predict if they would look for the bottle with the closest or farthest town’s name. Over several months, I would have the same town’s names on the bottles that they pulled out of the drink machine. They could not believe it when this happened. I only did this a couple of times. The most discussion was generated when the towns I selected were not easy to determine from the men’s memory about how far or close the towns were. A couple of times, I set up the bottles so the same person would win several days in a row. It was fun listening to their discussions and sometimes arguments about which bottle had the winning town.
Bell Family Graveyard.
The Bell family graveyard in Adams, Tennessee, was an interesting palace to go on a date. The Bell family members that I knew did not live in Adams.
It was about a forty minute drive from the dating center of my teenage years. I did not drive fast when going to and from the graveyard. The car had a bench seat without seatbelts which enabled me to quickly turn the steering wheel to the right, and the car’s movement would push my date toward me. This would give my date the opportunity to slide next to me without having to let it be known that she wanted to sit next to me. It always worked, because she would not slide away from me after being pushed toward me. Sitting next to me would lead to us holding hands. Do not laugh at holding hands. This was a big thing to me. It was hard to get a kiss if you had not been holding hands.
The initial trip to the graveyard often was done without the girl knowing about the history of the Bell Witch or they acted like they did not know. It is easier for my date to act like she was scared and have to hold tight to my arm if she was just learning about the Bell Witch.
From reading a newspaper article on a Bell Witch, I got the idea of visiting the graveyard at night on a date. It was free to visit the graveyard when I visited the graveyard. Now visitors have to pay to tour the graveyard.
The graveyard was about seventy-five feet by seventy-five feet. It was surrounded by a wall that was about three feet tall and one foot wide. You had to walk up three or four steps to get over the wall.
I am not superstitious so I was not afraid to go to the graveyard, but one night I did experience my heart beating fast, and it was not from a date tightly holding my arm. It was nice to visit the graveyard when it was a full moon. If it was not a full moon, I would leave my car lights on. My date and I were at the back of the graveyard when a shadow moved over us. This had not happened during other times I visited the graveyard, and it did make me uneasy. The wind would blow from time to time during the visit. One time the wind moved a tree branch near the car lights which caused the shadow to move over us. I did not feel the wind which caused the shadow. Once I figured out what had happened, I relaxed. I did play up the shadow so my date would be scared and have to hold me tighter. It did not bother me if she was pretending to be scared. I like a girl to tightly hold on my arm.
Have you ever received a kiss when a witch could be watching you or be next to you? The idea that the witch could be near us added excitement to the kiss. I always felt that I was educating my dates when I included visiting the Bell Witch Family Graveyard during a date. I was thinking of her.
Find out Things about the Bell Witch on the Internet
If you are interested in learning about the Bell Witch, you can perform an internet search on the words, “Bell Witch” and “Adams, Tennessee.”
President Andrew Jackson supposedly visited Adams, Tennessee, to find out the truth about the Bell Witch. He supposedly had an interesting encounter with the Bell Witch.
There is supposed to be a Bell Witch cave. I never heard about the cave when I was visiting the graveyard. I found out about the cave from reading about it in an internet web site.
I am not sure what I have heard and read about the Bell Witch is based on some actual experiences or made up tales that turned into folk lore.
The Bell Witch Discussed on the Radio Program, Coast to Coast AM, Staring George Noory
Several years ago, I had the Coast to Coast AM radio program turned on while I was working late at night. The topic was witches, and the Bell Witch was discussed. This got my attention. As a result of this radio program, I got to visit my memories of the Bell Witch and the Bell family.
I enjoy listening to the guests on the radio program. Sometimes I think some of the topics are weird, but I enjoy being introduced to the weird topics.
This is the end of my tale about my experiences with the Bell Witch family.
A former resident of Pot Neck, Tennessee
Date last modified, 9-05-2010
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