Experiencing Nashville: Part Three – The Bell Witch

March 18, 2008 at 7:12 pm (Adams, belief, blog, Blogroll, civil war, experiencing nashville, folklore, ghost, ghost story, ghouls, haunting, historic nashville, history, legend, monsters, nashville, photo, photoblog, photography, pictures, questioning, spirit, struggle, suffering, tennessee, TN, witch) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

For this “Experiencing Nashville” post, I ventured a little farther than I have before. Over the weekend, I took a drive up to Adams, TN. It takes about an hour to get there from here. On a rainy Saturday morning, I loaded into my car and picked up some friends before hitting the road.

I’ve been intrigued by the legend of the Bell Witch for years. I’m such a sucker for anything related to history and the paranormal. I tivo all the Ghost Hunters episodes, and thoroughly freak myself out when no one else is home. I love it.

Here is a little history on the Bell Witch story:

In the early 1800’s, Adams, Tennessee was known as the Red River Settlement. It was an area of vast land with great potential for farming. John Bell and his family moved from North Carolina to the Red River area, aquiring land and developing crops of corn and tobacco. It wasn’t long before strange happenings began to take place on the farm.

It began with a sighting of a strange animal in the cornfield. The family began to hear strange noises, thumbs and scratches on the walls coming from unseen forces. The noises seemed to escalate, then turning into more tangible happenings. Bedsheets were pulled off the bed while the family slept. Pillows were tossed around, and finally, physical assaults on John and his daughter, Betsy.

Over time, John sought out the help of friends and neighbors. They too witnessed the same things the family was claiming to regularly experience. The spirit seemed to acquire a voice, and would verbally taunt the family endlessly. When Betsy became engaged to a neighbor, Joshua Gardner, the spirit strongly opposed and would continue to voice “her” opinion, until finally driving the couple to call it off.

Poor John Bell was relentlessly tortured and taunted. His health grew worse, he began having seizures and eventually became bedridden. After John Bell passed away in 1820, the family found a bottle of a mysterious substance. The spirit boasted of giving the substance to John Bell and “fixing him”. According to the story, she even sang loudly and mockingly at John Bell’s funeral.

The spirit finally decided to leave, promising to return in 7 years. And so she did… although this time, only conversed with John Bell, Jr. and supposedly made several predictions about the coming age, such as the civil war, WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII. Then, the spirit again left, claiming to return in 107 years.

No one knows for sure if the Bell Witch actually returned. It’s possible that she did, in fact, return to the most direct Bell descendant, but no one made mention of it.

On the original Bell farm, there is a cave now known as the Bell Witch cave. It is said that the spirit lived/lives there. Is it another tourist trap to make money off unsuspecting visitors? Or is there any real credence to the stories? Even today, there are reports of strange happenings in the area. While visiting the Adams historical museum (located in what once was the Bell School), I asked one of the employees if there were strange occurences that take places there. She said sometimes things will move around. People will witness strange shadows that are unexplained. There are sounds that are sometimes heard, and lights that are seen in the distant fields.

So, who is the Bell Witch really? There is no way to know for sure. There are many guesses as to the real truth behind the legend. Some theories claim that Native American spirits continue to claim the land that was rightfully theirs. Others say that it was a spirit, demonic in nature, who even claimed to be present at Christ’s crucifixion. The more popular theory is that the spirit was a manifestation of Kate Batts, a local resident, who some suspected of practicing witchcraft. Another theory is that the “spirit” was nothing more than a manifestation of energy that is sometimes brought on by a young girl entering puberty, or even as a result of an incestuous relationship between John and Betsy. None of these claims can really be confirmed or proven… but then they also can’t be disproven.

While visiting Adams, I was a little surprised at how little there really wass to see. There is a little log cabin behind the brick school building, and a graveyard of Bell descendants (apparently the Bell family mostly went on to Mississippi, where they are laid to rest) just down the road.

The cave is inaccessible much of the year, except for the summer months when it dries out. We drove around to no avail, just trying to even find the entrance.

So, decide for yourself on what really can be logically explained away, or just let it continue to be a mystery of the unknown. It’s really more fun that way.

sources:

http://www.bellwitch.org by Pat Fitzhugh

http://paranormal.about.com/od/trueghoststories/a/aa041706.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bell_Witch

http://www.prairieghosts.com/b-cave.html

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Evening

January 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm (answer, belief, blog, evening, film, health, introspective, journal, life questions, movie, movies, questioning, reflecting, review, sadness, struggle, suffering)

I finished watching this movie today.  It is beautiful.  It was a pleasant surprise to be so moved, especially after having to sit through numerous flops with the past several movies I’ve watched.  It actually stirred me pretty intensely.

This move probably got to me more than it normally would, just because of recently watching my mom deal with her cancer.  In the movie, the main character is an elderly alzheimer’s  patient, remembering her past and reliving certain times.  It jumps back and forth, a lot like The Notebook.

I’ll admit that I’m a complete basketcase right now.  It definitely dug up some emotions I was not expecting to have to deal with on an otherwise normal Wednesday morning.   Life is such a strange entanglement of hope, and joy, and pain.  I hate that so much suffering comes along with aging.  It’s been the most difficult thing in my life this far, just to have to sit back and watch my mom suffer.

I found out this past weekend that my mom’s bloodwork, is again, coming back abnormal.  Which means, the cancer is still present in her body.  What a devastating thing to hear.  Just when she was recovering from her second surgery, having her second round of chemo.  We were all hoping that maybe this would take care of everything and allow her to live her life normally again.  I guess that is too much to ask.  In her own words, we are all just slowly dying.  I know it’s a reality, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

It’s hard for me to process it all.  Hearing my mom talk casually about the end of her life is not something I ever could have prepared for.

So, with all of that said, I have to push forward, with a heavy heart.  I need to head into work and hope no one notices my puffy eyes.

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desperately needing normalcy

January 22, 2008 at 2:01 pm (asthma, belief, blog, Blogroll, depression, health, journal, life questions, nashville, questioning, struggle, suffering, support)

It’s sort of strange to sit down and try to think back to the time when things felt “normal”.  After all, it is a very relative idea.  What is normal for me may not be normal for you.  I guess that is the first step, figuring out what normal should look like, then figuring out how to get there.  It seems like such a gradual process that life runs on.  Things creep along, until suddenly it’s out of control.

I’m feeling pretty down and out today, for some reason.  I guess it is the effects of all the meds.  I hardly slept a wink last night… lots of weird, shaky, anxiety-type feelings.  I’ve read that the medicines can do that, as well as contribute to the fatigue and mental confusion/brain fog.  I hate that feeling.  I’m also dealing with muscle aches and pains from the physical tension of everything.  It feels like I ran a marathon… jello legs and all.  Geez

So, I’m going to lay low for one more day, and hopefully tomorrow I can resume life.  I’m really nervous as to try and jump back in, since I usually have the tendency to sort of  push myself when I shouldn’t.  I need to learn how to recognize what my body is telling me, and respond accordingly.  I guess that is a lesson that should apply to most areas of life.

I’m battling extreme cabin fever, but I know that I really can’t chance doing much of anything right now.  I may leave the house for just long enough to get out, but that will be the extent of it.  Maybe a visit to the bookstore wouldn’t hurt.

I’ve also got some photo assignments that I need to do for my classes.  We are starting with black/white photography, which I love.  I’ve gotten so out of the habit of taking random photos.  I need to work on that.  Maybe I’ll take my camera with me, just in case I run across anything particularly interesting.

I guess that is all for now

Until next time

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Beware Blue Monday

January 20, 2008 at 11:12 pm (746, belief, blog, blue monday, christian, depression, god, introspective, judging, judgmental, life questions, nashville, reflecting, sadness, struggle, suffering, support)

read the article here if you’re interested

I’m a sucker behind the psychology of this sort of thing. I wonder how much the power of suggestion is going to play into our feelings about Blue Monday. I know I am going to take some additional proactive steps, just to try and head it off. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Tomorrow is also MLK Day, which means a lot of people are off work (sorry to those of you who aren’t!). Let’s all try to remember the teachings of MLK and the idea of equality that he was so focused on. We still have such a long way to go.

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Reflections on Christmas Eve

December 24, 2007 at 6:45 pm (belief, blog, Christ, christian, christmas, friendship, god, helping, introspective, jesus, journal, life questions, reflecting, support)

I hope most of you are in the company of people you care for, and who care about you.  Something about Christmas makes everyone take a moment to reflect.  Whether they believe in the power of the birth of Christ or not, people are someone taken by the spirit of this season, and all of the good that goes along with it.  We all seem to embrace the idea of giving to those in need, in appreciating the things we have, and of celebrating the relationships we have.  I feel some sort of common ground with everyone at this time of year.  It seems to strip away our differences and leave us with nothing more (or less) than the knowledge that we are human, and in need of each other.

I was on my way home from doing some Christmas shopping the other day.  As I came around a curve on a small, residential road, I pulled up right upon a wreck that had just happened only a second before.   One car (we’ll call this car #1)  was sitting sideways in the middle of the road, while smoke billowed from underneath the hood.  The other car (car #2) had skid across the road, through someone’s yard, and into a tree.  I quickly pulled over and rushed to the cars to see if anyone was hurt.  An elderly African American couple were the occupants of car #1.  The older gentleman was getting out from behind the wheel, limping along with his cane to examine the damage as I came up to them.  Thank God everyone was ok.  I’m so surprised there weren’t at least some minor injuries.  I chatted with the older couple, and finally convinced the guy to have a seat since it would probably be a while before the police would get there to write it up.

Emerging from car #2 was a middle-aged “soccer mom”.  She was visibly shaken up, almost to the point of tears.  She had, thankfully, just dropped off her 4 year old son with her husband and was on her way to work.  She called her husband, who was there in a matter of minutes, with 4 year old in tow.

As all of this unfolded, a few neighbors from nearby came out from their various houses.  One older hispanic looking woman directed the traffic around the car #1 that was still in the road.  A young African American dad  and his daughter came out, bringing snacks and toys to occupy the busy little boy that was much more interested in anything within close proximity to the street.

I started pulling out things I had in my car:  a classroom calendar with little velcro dates you can place accordingly, a counting matching game, and most importantly, marshmellows.

It seemed like forever before the cops actually showed up.  Since I had no where I needed to be, I stuck around and, if nothing more, tried to keep the kids involved in something.  Over two hours had passed before I finally offered to run down the street and pick up some lunch for everyone.  I sped over to McD’s and ordered a sackful of burgers.  As we sat around and ate our picnic lunch, I was struck with a sense of overwhelming gratitude.  Here I was, in the midde of a potentially chaotic situation, but was able to witness people from all walks of life offering all that they had.  I really have no idea what social status anyone belong to… and it really doesn’t matter.  It was quite a site to see everyone come together, despite the many differences that has the ability to separate us from each other.

I think this is how it was meant to be.  This captures the true spirit of Christmas, reaching out to those in need, regardless of whether or not you feel like what you have is enough to offer.  I have a feeling there is rarely anything that is not appreciated.

I hope I have the opportunity to do that more.  I want to be able to love in spite of circumstances.  I want to be able to reach out and touch someone in a positive way, regardless of how inadequate I may feel.

May we all have these opportunities in our lives.

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Going back in time

December 24, 2007 at 3:12 am (belief, blog, Blogroll, christian, god, introspective, journal, judging, judgmental, life questions, questioning, rant, reflecting, struggle, support)

Like so many other people around the world, I am visiting my family for the holidays.  They live in a tiny little mountain town in north Georgia.  I actually grew up in Atlanta, but we moved farther north at the end of my 7th grade year (what an awful time for any kind of life transition!  Junior High years are hard enough as it is!)

Is it just me, or does everyone seemingly go back in time when they are around family for an extended period of time?  Suddenly, I feel like I’m 14 again.  All of our silly little neuroses that are endearing and amusing when simply experienced from afar make me want to find the nearest heavy object to bash into my head repeatedly.  The nagging and excessive worry on my behalf nearly sends me over the edge on a regular basis.  I guess I just don’t know any other way.

I’m the first to admit that I have really grown up a lot over the past several years.  It has taken a really intentional effort to take some small steps in, well, any direction really.  It’s not a pleasant experience to be stunted in any sort of way.

So, imagine my horror when all of the steps I’ve taken go out the window, with only the utterance of a single word.   It’s not necessarily the word that brings out my inner adolescent, but the tone and underlying unspokens that go along with it.

Dang, it sure takes a lot to grow up.  I’m still learning, and still messing up.  But, I guess any progress at all is a good sign, indeed.  Though still, it makes it really obvious to me just how much I need the one and only One that’s bigger than myself and my situation.  That repeated realization can only be a good thing.

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photos from Bethlehem

December 20, 2007 at 2:48 pm (belief, Bethlehem, blog, Blogroll, Christ, christian, christmas, god, jesus, photo, photoblog, photography, pictures)

I went through the Walk Through Bethlehem a week ago. A local church creates a little Bethlehem town that you can walk through and see different shops and how some of the things were done around the time of Christ.

Check out the photos from it. Unfortunately, the lighting was awful, and the flash sort of ruined the mood. Still, take a look:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sallykent2006/

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I guess it’s time

November 26, 2007 at 6:48 pm (belief, blog, Blogroll, god, introspective, journal, life questions, photo, photoblog, photography, pictures, questioning, rant, reflecting, support, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

First of all… there are some new photos to check out. I did my first pet photoshoot with my cousins’ dogs. Surprising enough, there are some really cute ones. I didn’t think the dogs sat still long enough to get anything at all, but they sure were cute in their little Christmas outfits. Take a look:

You can see larger images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/sallykent2006/

 

 

 

 

Ok, so it’s been a while since I’ve updated this here blog. I am back from my Thanksgiving trip to the north GA mountains. It was the first time since I’ve lived in Nashville (almost 9 years!?) that my parents haven’t come to Nashville for Thanksgiving. I guess it sort of became a tradition without us really meaning for it to. At first my mom was so anxious and worried about me traveling alone that she didn’t want me to make the drive for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. That was the compromise we came up with.

I am so thankful for so many things that I can hardly put it into words. If I start, then I might not stop. I am constantly astonished and amazed at the good things I have been given in life that I don’t at all deserve.

I think that is what makes me hold back when I am having to face such contradicting emotions. The past couple of years have been difficult, just because of having to watch my mom’s health decline. It is something none of us were prepared for. Yet, still I am so thankful that there are people, and skilled doctors, and believers out there that have had the wisdom and knowledge, and energy to do things when I have not.

So, all of that to say… even when I don’t have the energy to give thanks, I am thankful. If you are out there, and you are a part of my life in any way, know that you are on the list of things I am thankful for.

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the Beginning of the End

November 21, 2007 at 11:12 pm (autumn, belief, blog, Blogroll, fall, friendship, god, introspective, journal, photo, photoblog, photography, pictures, reflecting, Uncategorized) (, , )

Well, we finally made it back around to the holiday season. At this time tomorrow, people will begin their journeys to countless retail stores to get the first pick at the hot deals. This officially begins the Christmas season, as well as the final leg of the year 2007.

Actually this is the first time since I’ve been “on my own” that I’ve come back to Georgia for Thanksgiving. Normally, my parents make their annual voyage up to Nashville for their Thanksgiving visit. This year, due to my mom’s cancer, I decided to come down here instead to save them the trip.

This time of year is always bittersweet for me. This year more so than usual, but I can’t really articulate just why. I will have to take some time and really reflect before I can write much about it all.

As of now, it is time for me to turn in for the evening. Tomorrow morning I will be helping out in the kitchen, trying not to completely ruin Thanksgiving dinner with my horrible cooking skills. My family is known for cooking huge meals. This time will be no different.

I am really looking forward to some great food! I’m sure there will be a football game on at some point. I want to make a point to watch part of the parade, and see the huge tree be lit in NY.

My thoughts feel disconnected tonight. I need sleep. And I need to be able to breathe. That’s always a good thing. For the past couple of days I have felt like I’m coming down with a cold. That always leads to chest congestion and awful breathing problems. I’ve started on some medication and have been trying to drink a lot of water and hot tea. I hope I can keep it at bay. We’ll see how that goes.

The leaves were gorgeous on my drive from TN. Here are a few shots I took out my car window as I drove down the interstate. I will leave you with these:

Until next time…

May visions of turkey legs dance in all of our heads tonight

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when things aren’t what they seem

November 8, 2007 at 11:37 pm (answer, belief, blog, Blogroll, friendship, god, introspective, journal, judging, judgmental, life questions, prejudice, pretending, questioning, rant, reflecting, struggle, support, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Let’s face it… we all jump to conclusions. It’s really easy to interpret something totally backwards, and opposite of how it was intended. Quite often people miscommunicate because they act too quickly on what they think someone meant by what was said.

I just watched a movie called The Reaping. I was skeptical, and it didn’t blow me away. The plot had me intrigued when I read it in Blockbuster. It is about a girl (Hilary Swank) who works at scientifically explaining different myths. She works to find the logic and reasonable explanations to what some think are unexplained miracles. Then suddenly, there are plagues that overtake a small town, and she goes to investigate. Everyone is blaming a young girl for bringing the plagues to their home, and some sort of witch hunt ensues.

Over the course of the movie, I went from mildly interested, to bored and unconvinced. But, as the story continued to go on my interest got the best of me. I watched as the truth about the girl was revealed, and what that really meant for the small town she called home.

Things are rarely as they seem. I always try to remember that, but it’s way too easy to jump to conclusions. It leaves me again realizing my need of a God with infinite wisdom to snap me back into that reality.

So I’m learning to give things a chance. It takes a conscious effort to take a step back when I feel my mind jumping ahead of my heart. It’s something I need to remember to do more often.

I’m also learning that I’m a big fan of Hilary Swank!

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