you used to have
a face straight out of a magazine
now you just look like anyone
i just had a change of heart
i feel as though i was deceived
i never found love in the city
i just sat in self pity and cried in the car
oh, i just had a change of heart
The Bell Witch or Bell Witch Haunting is a poltergeist legend from Southern folklore, centered on the 19th century Bell family of Adams, Tennessee.
John Bell Sr., who made his living as a farmer, resided with his family in Adams, Tennessee in the early 1800s. In 1817 his family came under attack by a witch, who was believed to be a lady called Kate Batts . Various accounts written after tell stories similar to other poltergeist legends. It began with noises in the walls and grew to include unusual sounds, people being slapped and pinched, objects being thrown, and animals being spooked without visible cause. In the 1894 book An Authenticated History of the Bell Witch, author Martin Van Buren Ingram claims that the poltergeist’s name was Kate and that she frequently cursed the Bell family out loud. The activity centered around the Bells’ youngest daughter, Betsy, and worsened after she became engaged to one Joshua Gardner. Several accounts report that during his military career, Andrew Jackson was intrigued with the story and was frightened away after traveling to investigate. Other stories relate that the family was haunted by scratching noises outside their door after Bell found a half-dog, half-rabbit creature. Some stories end up with Bell being poisoned by the witch. Accounts vary about the witch being someone who had been cheated by Bell or a male slave whom Bell had killed.
The only known account of the “haunting” prior to Ingram’s publication, was in 1886, (over 60 years after the events). This one paragraph in the Goodspeed Brothers book History of Tennessee does not mention Andrew Jackson or the death of Bell Sr.:
A remarkable occurrence, which attracted wide-spread interest, was connected with the family of John Bell, who settled near what is now Adams Station about 1804. So great was the excitement that people came from hundreds of miles around to witness the manifestations of what was popularly known as the “Bell Witch.” This witch was supposed to be some spiritual being having the voice and attributes of a woman. It was invisible to the eye, yet it would hold conversation and even shake hands with certain individuals. The feats it performed were wonderful and seemingly designed to annoy the family. It would take the sugar from the bowls, spill the milk, take the quilts from the beds, slap and pinch the children, and then laugh at the discomfort of its victims. At first it was supposed to be a good spirit, but its subsequent acts, together with the curses with which it supplemented its remarks, proved the contrary.
All of the above accounts of the legend are drawn from two sources. In part, the Goodspeed article was a source, but newspaper publisher Martin Van Buren Ingram provided most of the material. Seventy-five years after the Bell Witch events, he wrote An Authenticated History of the Bell Witch. Ingram states that he based his book on the diary of Richard Bell, who was a son of John Bell Senior. The events happened when Richard Bell was 6–10 years old, but he didn’t write the diary until he was 30. According to Brian Dunning no one has ever seen this diary, and there is no evidence that it ever existed: “Conveniently, every person with firsthand knowledge of the Bell Witch hauntings was already dead when Ingram started his book; in fact, every person with secondhand knowledge was even dead.” Dunning also concluded that Ingram was guilty of falsifying another statement, that the Saturday Evening Post had published a story in 1849 accusing the Bells’ daughter Elizabeth of creating the witch. That article does not exist either.
Paranormal investigator Ben Radford, as well as Brian Dunning, conclude that there is no evidence that Andrew Jackson visited the Bell family home. During the years in question, Jackson’s movements were well documented, and nowhere in history or his writings is there evidence of his knowledge of the Bell family. According to Dunning, “The 1824 Presidential election was notoriously malicious, and it seems hard to believe that his opponent would have overlooked the opportunity to drag him through the mud for having lost a fight to a witch.”
According to Ben Radford, the Bell Witch story is an important one for all paranormal researchers: “It shows how easily legend and myth can be mistaken for fact and real events and how easily the lines are blurred” when sources are not checked. Dunning wrote that there was no need to discuss the supposed paranormal activity until there was evidence that the story was true. “Vague stories that there was a witch in the area. All the significant facts of the story have been falsified, the others come from a source of dubious credibility. Since no reliable documentation of any actual events exists, there is nothing worth looking into.”
Dunning concludes, “I chalk up the Bell Witch as nothing more than one of many unsubstantiated folk legends, vastly embellished and popularized by an opportunistic author of historical fiction.” Radford reminds readers that “the burden of proof is not on skeptics to disprove anything but rather for the proponents to prove… claims”.
It’s hard to know for sure, but I suspect that the first super hero that I followed with any regularity wasn’t Superman or Batman or the Flash–it was Underdog.
Produced in 1964 by a portion of the team that worked on Rocky & Bullwinkle as well as a number of cereal commercials, Underdog was a surprisingly good show, one that still holds up despite its limited animation. Some of that is the fact that it was written on multiple levels in the manner of Rocky & Bullwinkle (though not to the same extent or depth), and the fact that it’s simultaneously a very funny send-up of the super hero concept that at the same time functions as a legitimate super hero show, with recurring colorful villains, life-or-death traps, a cliffhanger structure, and a hero you could root for. It also had a great voice cast, led by Wally Cox as the lead character.
Underdog first appeared as a pilot segment of the Tennessee Tuxedo Show before being spun out into its own program. By the time I would have started watching it in the late 1960s or early 1970s, it was in syndication–where it and a number of other shows controlled by Total Television, the producers, had been mixed and matched together. A typical Underdog storyline ran for four 4:30 minute chapters, but in each episode of the syndicated package, you would get one chapter as an opener and one as a closer, with the center two sections taken up with either a Tennessee Tuxedo story (starring the great Don Adams as Tennessee, and F-Troop’s Larry Storch as the all-knowing Phineas J Whoopie), or a Go-Go Gophers short (one of the most racist cartoons ever made, and one I never really warmed to) and a Klondike Cat (not much better.) There’d also be a quick Commander McBragg short in the mix–those I loved, as the Commander told tall tales of his many absurd adventures around the globe.
For those to whom this ancient cartoon is a new thing, Underdog (a name I just accepted as a four-year-old, having no idea what an underdog was) was typically the humble and loveable Shoeshine Boy. But when trouble would break out (typically because Underdog’s Lois Lane-style girlfriend Sweet Polly Purebread had gotten into a jam–although I always thought that Polly was a heck of a lot sharper and more capable than the Lois of the 60s), Shoeshine would make for a nearby phone booth, and explode out of it as Underdog, a flying canine super hero with all of the typical Superman/Captain Marvel powers one would expect. Underdog was hell on phone booths–it’s no wonder they no longer exist. He seemingly had to destroy one in order to power up.
Underdog was also a drug addict, of sorts. In those more innocent days, when Underdog would find his energy waning, or he was in a spot from which he couldn’t extricate himself (typically in chapter four), he would open up the secret compartment in his ring and gulp down an Underdog Super Energy Pill. These sequences started to get cut out of reruns by the end of the 1970s, which I somehow find a shame, as they were perfectly harmless.
Underdog also had a crew of great villains. My favorite was always Riff Raff, a Warner Brothers-esque gangster who carried a tommy gun and who was a dedicated gangster of the old school type. I will still occasionally evoke his war cry of “camouflage and sabotage” to people. Underdog’s main foe, though, was Simon Bar Sinister, a Luthor or Sivana-esque evil mad scientist who sounded like Lionel Barrymore. His straight man henchman Cad was also a hoot. But there were a dozen more. Overcat, his evil counterpart, and Battyman, the vampire, and Tap-Tap the Chisler, who looked just like Underdog. And Riff Raff’s secret weapon, the guy known as “Just In Case”.
Another thing I dug about Underdog was his sense of social justice, as it developed–and, in fact, I more recently advocated to give the same sort of approach to Squirrel Girl. In several different episodes, Underdog would face threats from outer space, from other planets who were attacking the Earth because of some problem they had. Underdog not only warded off these attacks and triumphed over the invaders, but in virtually every story he went the extra mile and fixed the attacking planet’s problem too. That’s such a small thing, but so significant in these take-no-prisoner days. I suspect that Underdog helped to form my own underlying sense of morality in this way–the job wasn’t done just because the good guys won, it was necessary to help the bad guys as well.
Underdog also had a great theme song and title sequence–so great that there were two separate versions with two different stanzas. All throughout, the music, while only a few cues, is good and strong and fits the piece. Plus, Underdog always spoke in rhyme for some reason (which he didn’t do as Shoeshine Boy.) The classic Underdog rejoinder from the pilot being: “I am a hero who never fails. I can’t be bothered by such details.”
Summer, the time for freedom and fun and the chance to find
new love. Summer is the time you meet people from out of state who are on
vacation or even from out of the country. Taylor was on vacation in LA for her
father’s company annual conference, although he was always busy working instead
of being with her and her brother. However, summer had been the time for a new
relationship for Taylor even though she’d sworn at the beginning of the summer
that she would never fall for another guy in the entire world. This summer had
been the summer where she’d met and fallen in love with Adam Wiles, a upmarket
boy studying at the prestigious Boarding School in New York but in LA for the
summer to lifeguard as his family lives and works in LA. At least that was what
he told Taylor when they spent the summer together but that wasn’t entirely
true. Sure he was entitled and he had a bit of worth to his name but he wasn’t
going to a boarding school in New York. He was going to the local high school,
on the basketball team and trying not to fail all his subjects. School and Adam
just don’t get on and he hated going but thankfully he really only had one more
year to go and then it would all be over and he could go do whatever he wanted.
Adam had no real plans of what to do with his life after high school he just
knew that he wanted it all to be over with and he wanted it to be done soon.
The summer spent with Taylor though was one of the best summers of his entire
life and honestly he would rather spend time with her than have to go back to
school. But sadly the summer did end and they went their separate ways. They
said that they’d try and stay in contact but then again they were living in
different parts of a huge country and Adam was sure that Taylor would forget about
him and he should probably forget about her – he didn’t want to though.
Although they’d gone their separate ways at the end of the
summer, Taylor and Adam were going to get to see each other sooner than they
both thought. Taylor’s parents had officially moved to LA for the next couple
of years as her father’s business needed him out here more permanently than
before. Taylor’s parents had enrolled her in the local high school to where
they were living and it was the same high school that Adam was going to even
though neither were aware at the time.
“Taylor, don’t forget you’ve got tutoring with the Andersons after school
today?” Andrea said before handing Taylor her lunch and giving her a kiss
goodbye. She didn’t have a car here yet so she would be taking the bus which
was alright with her, she’d meet new people this way she was sure.
“Yes Mom, tell daddy I love him and I’ll see you guys later” Taylor said before
making her way out the front door. She was always very determined to be the
good girl in her family and make her parents proud which is why she studies so
hard to get straight a’s in all her subjects and she tutors some of the
neighbourhood kids. She’d started in the summer and since they were staying in
LA for at least the next year she’d arranged to make it a more permanent thing.
It gave her the chance to make a bit of money of her own and well she loved
children so it was the kind of thing she actually loved doing.
Adam leant on the hood of his car, talking with the other
boys and some of their girlfriends before the first day of the new school year
commenced. It was the final first day of the school year for him considering
that he was a senior now. He was captain of the basketball team so he was one
of the popular kids, not as big as football players but still the Basketball
was rather important in the school. He didn’t have a girlfriend but he didn’t
really want one after spending the summer with Taylor as he was still hurting
in the fact he’d had to let her go but that was life and Adam had to deal with
it of course.
“Cheer up mate, it’s the first day. You can’t be depressed over school before
it’s even started” Charlie said as he sat down next to Adam. Charlie had heard
about Taylor and could see that his best friend was hurting but he was the only
guy who knew about her. Adam hadn’t told any of the other guys and only told
Charlie because they’d been talking over the break and well Adam had been so
happy that Charlie had to know the reason why.
“It’s alright, I just wish summer wasn’t over as the ending kind of sucked”
Adam remarked before the bell rang and everyone rushed inside. There was never
the real urgency to get to home room as there was on the first day. Adam
thought it was the fact that it was a fresh start and everyone was excited to
see everyone else before everything got really busy.
“Well we’re in the final year now, before we know it things will all be over
and we can just live our lives” Mark, another one of Adam’s friends remarked in
the break from making out with his girlfriend. Adam was kind of jealous of mark
right now considering Mark got a girl by his side and Adam didn’t. But it was
in that moment when he looked across the carpark that he saw that familiar head
of blonde hair, the hair that could only belong to one girl – Taylor. What is she doing here? I thought she was
going back to Tennessee Adam thought doing a double take across the carpark
at the blonde haired girl walking with a group of other girls in their year. It
made no sense to see Taylor walking into the school yet Adam had to fight the
urge to go and talk to her, after all she did break his heart whilst he broke
Adam found Taylor in the halls after Home Room, she was
walking with Cara who was one of the most popular girls in school and happened
to be the biggest bitch to everyone else outside of her friendship gang. Adam
didn’t want Taylor hanging around with her because he was worried that she’d
change but he’d not spoken to her yet and he wasn’t even sure that Taylor knew
that he even went here. But how he was wrong, Taylor had heard all about Adam
and seen in when she was walking into school this morning so she knew that he’d
lied to her about some school in New York even when he knew how much she
dreamed of going. Besides the fact that he’d not even come over to talk to her
and she was sure that he’d seen her already walking with the girls in the hall
considering she’d felt his eyes on her. Since they spent the whole summer
together, she could tell when he was looking at her even when she wasn’t
looking at him or if they were out separately but in the same place, she had
the habit of feeling his eyes on her. The girls she hung out with were lovely
though and she was glad to have some people helping her out on the first day in
the new school even when they talked about things she wasn’t really into.
“You’re awfully quiet? Is everything ok?” Ellie asked as
they sat down for lunch, Ellie was one of the first girls to talk to Taylor
when she arrived at the school and she was the one who brought Taylor into the
“I just, it turns out people aren’t always like they seem in the holidays…I’ve
seen someone here who I spent summer with and well I’m discovering now that he’s
nothing like he was when we were together over the summer”
“Darling no-one is like who they are in the summer when they’re at school, I
know I’m most certainly not” Cara interrupted and Taylor nodded but it still
didn’t make sense considering that she was generally the same person over the
summer and at school.
“What’s his name?” Karlie asked, she was another girl within the group and
Taylor looked at her hands awkwardly
“Adam, Adam Wiles” Taylor explained the girls all looked between themselves
with a concerned look on their face. It was like they knew exactly who Taylor
was talking about.
“I’ll tell you right now, you’re better off without him. You do not want to be
going to get yourself involved in his mess of a life.
“Look out world, he’s walking over now” Cara said and Taylor stood up to talk
to him, slightly away from the girls considering that whatever she and Adam
spoke about, the girls would interrupt.
Adam stood in front of Taylor
with the boys behind him, they were in the cafeteria for lunch and yet it felt
like they were in their own little world. Adam wanted to take back what he had
said and done in the past couple of weeks, he wanted to take back their break
up. But with the boys behind him, he couldn’t been seen like a sudden wimp all
because of a girl.
“Hey Taylor, I thought you….ah ha, I mean you must be the new girl” Adam remarked
looking back at the boys. Taylor looked up at him and couldn’t tell why he was
being like this, he knew who she was and had said her name, yet she was “the new
girl” to him with the boys.
“Some boarding school in New York then, Hi Adam” Taylor said but Adam just
shook his head, trying to act all cool but knowing that she’s hurt that he lied
to her, considering that he didn’t want her thinking that he was really some
low life who only lifeguarded at the beach this summer to be able to earn some
extra money and admire girls.
“Boarding Schools were never my thing, but you know if you need someone else to
keep you warm at night, just let me know”
“Yeah scamper away Wiles, she doesn’t need a douche like you” Ellie said
drawing Taylor back to the table, Adam was nothing like he was at summer now
and Taylor didn’t know how to talk to him any more. They had the best talks over
the summer and they had the best time together yet here they were and it was
like Adam was a completely different guy to the one Taylor had known over the
So this was just a little something that I've been working on over the past couple of weeks. I had an idea late at night a couple of weeks ago and well I've liked where my brainstorming was going so i decided it was time for me to post it up for you all to read. Don’t worry there will be other one shots but for now Learning What True Love Feels like is on the back burner as i’m stuck for inspiration for that story at the moment. However i hope you enjoy this one :)
The site where John Bell and his family were tormented by a ghost now known as the Bell Witch is open to brave visitors who wish to explore the spirit world. The legend varies, but most accounts claim that Kate Batts, a neighbor of the Bell family, believed she was cheated out of property in a land purchase. Kate continued to torture the entire Bell family, physically abusing the youngest daughter Betsey, and cursing John. Visitors claim that any object taken from the site is cursed, while many have reported encountering a violent force while on the property. Technology doesn’t work there either, with cameras mysteriously malfunctioning when users try to capture an image
52 miles. Robertson County. Adams, Tennessee. The place where the Bell Witch hauntings occurred. I really really want to go but I have to convince mom to go with me! The legend is something that I’ve been told since I was like, 7 years old. Go read the story! bellwitch.org.
Bucket list: Tequila shots with Matty Healy and my best friend ✔️😍
Chattanooga, TN- Matty Healy
Honestly, the best night of my life… It has been my goal to drink with him and it FINALLY happened. I’ve never been happier. We drove all the way from Miami, FL to Chattanooga, TN just to see them live again and maybe have the glimmer of a chance to meet them again and drink with them. Those sleepless long hours in the car were COMPLETELY worth it.
Tonight was definitely the best night ever. The 1975 put on the greatest performance. Afterwards I said hi to G & talked to Matty for a lil bit. He was so sweet and wonderful, I’m so grateful to have seen such a perfect band live.