I had a great rant about patriarchal bullshit and Rattle & Snap all worked up, but the weather is so nice and cool and autumnal that, in honor of that, I’m giving the overtly feminist rants a rest until August.
[Someone go get Short & Fat some water and fan W, who's looking a little faint. It's okay boys, we'll get back to that stuff.]
But this weather also has me thinking of ghosts, and what better ghost than Tennessee’s very own Bell Witch?
But the general gist is that the Bell Witch is one of the most famous American hauntings, well-witnessed and well-verified. Over the years, there has been a lot of speculation about just what exactly the Bell Witch was–poltergeist, spurned lover, giant hoax.
And, my friends, I also have a theory.
Let us look at what we know. First, there appeared some strange animals. Then there were sounds and voices. Then there were physical afflictions on the Bell family.
And then, let us ask ourselves, if this were not something supernatural, who besides the Bells could have done this? “No one,” you say, “dear Aunt B. All of the legends say that whenever they went to examine the source of the noises, no one was there.”
But is that really true? Who in 1817 in Tennessee could have been physically present at almost all times and not be counted as someone? Able to move around the property without ever raising any suspicion? Who might have had knowledge of potions and concoctions that could give a powerless person some power over her oppressors? Who would have access to socks, shoes, or footprints necessary to do something “such as removing them from town, jinxing them, bringing them under control in love or money matters, or giving them an unnatural illness”? (and what illness more unnatural than John Bell’s?) Who came from a culture with a well-established history of using ventriloquism in their conjuring? And who would have had the most to lose from John Bell’s history of poor business dealings? Or, perhaps, an unwise marriage?
Yep, I suspect that the Bell Witch was right there under their noses the whole time, and that her legend is evidence of a great and lasting conjuration, perpetrated by one or more of their slaves.