Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content

The Bell Witch

 

 Content Editor

 
​​

Chuck Denney, Narrator (UT Institute of Agriculture)
Adams is a prety farming community, quaint and welcoming. But is there something more sinister lurking here? Adams is said to be the home of the Bell Witch, a spirit who calls herself Kate, arguable Tenessee's most famous ghost.

Paul Hart (UT Extension - Robertson County)
"I heard about the Bell Witch for many, many years growing up, and of course there's been movies made about that, so it's gotten some national and international noteriety."

Chuck Denney
Kate reportedly haunted the Bell family of Adams in the early 1800's. She was especailly cruel to teenager Betsy, and is said to have poisoned patriach John Bell. Kate supposedly still lives in a nearby cave, but apparently doesn't like video cameras. 

Over the years a number of media crews have come here to do stories on the Bell Witch. People often joke that cameras and microphones mysteriously malfunction here. But we;ve been for about an hour and our equipment is working fine.

All around Adams, Kate remains a celebrity. There's a Bell Witch cafe, festivals, and a theater production about the spirit. Add to the lore, the Bell cemetery and this log cabin and school built by the family. But can a witch be good for agriculture?

Paul Hart 
"This is a farming community, Adams, and Robertson County is still one of the top five agricultural counties in Tennessee."

Chuck Denney
UT Extension director Paul Hart says Ag generates 100 million dollars in sales to local producers each year, and a good bit of that coming in agri-tourism. The Bell Witch legend draws visitors here, and they spend money. 

Tom Head (Shade Tree Farm & Orchard)

“It’s a built-in marketing tool is what it amounts to. We have people that come all the time year ‘round. They happen to be in the area, and they’ve heard of Adams and they’ve heard of the Bell Witch, and they want to come see the school, go out to the cemetery.”

Chuck Denney

If the Bell Witch is real, Tom Head has no desire to chase her away.  He appreciates Kate’s contributions to the local Ag economy. Farms and frights – in Adams, it’s a bewitching combination.​


Of Note: The Bell Witch story was the inspiration for the movie “An American Haunting” - starring Sissy Spacek and Donald Sutherland. Also more than 40 books have been written about the witch. Part of the lore also includes the tale of President Andrew Jackson, who reportedly visited the Bell farm, and had his own spooky encounter with the spirit.​