Each Fall since 2002, David Alford's play, Spirit: The Authentic History of the Bell Witch of Tennessee, has been produced on the grounds of the Bell School in Adams, the very land settled by John Bell and where the hauntings took place. As the play says, "In this place, on this ground" — only yards from the graves of the Bell family. The play is performed by professional actors from Nashville as well as local talent.
SPIRIT is based on Richard Williams Bell’s memoir entitled Our Family Trouble. Written as a journal in 1846, the manuscript was first published as a chapter in M.V. Ingram's The Authenticated History of the Bell Witch in 1894. Richard Williams Bell's memoir is the only known eyewitness account of the Bell Witch hauntings, which took place between 1818 and 1820 in the Bell home in Adams. Ingram honored the Bell family's request that the account not be published until after all of John Bell Sr.'s immediate family had passed away.
In 1804, middle Tennessee was still the frontier. That year, for reasons never fully explained, John Bell uprooted his large household from North Carolina and settled in rugged Red River, now Adams. Some time later, strange noises were heard in the house. The sounds slowly evolved into an eerie voice that called itself Kate. She tormented the Bell family, moving objects with invisible hands, even pinching and slapping members of the household.
Kate held particular hatred for John Bell and Betsy, his youngest daughter. Betsy bore the brunt of the witch’s physical abuse for years, even when guests would visit the Bell home to be “entertained” by the witch. Even Gen. Andrew Jackson, who knew John Bell Jr., reportedly encountered the Spirit, prompting the remark "I'd rather fight the British in New Orleans than to have to fight the Bell Witch." The events culminated in John Bell’s mysterious death in 1820, for which Kate gleefully claimed responsibility, even singing bawdy songs at his funeral.
Word of the events quickly spread, and today the legend is known worldwide. Countless theories have emerged to explain the phenomenon, but the mystery of the Bell Witch remains unsolved to this day. Today, visitors come from around the world to Adams to get a closer look at the site of the Bell Witch hauntings.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO CHECK THE WEATHER AND DRESS APPROPRIATELY FOR THE EVENING
NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES ALLOWED