The stories of the Bell Witch haunting and tormenting the Bell family in Adams, Tennessee are well known and documented (see The Bell Witch Historical Marker). However, there is another part of the story that is seldom told. Following the death of John Bell (some say at the hands of the entity), the life of the other focus of the spirit's taunting, Elizabeth “Betsy" Bell, was not much better. Though the “haunting" had seemingly finished for the time being, Betsy continued to suffer a variety of hardships and tragedies. She would live to see the death of five of her children (four at a young age, the fifth died fighting in the Civil War). Her husband, Richard Powell, would suffer a stroke and Betsy (now Elizabeth Powell) would spend 11 years caring for him before his death.
The story of the Bell Witch haunted Betsy for the rest of her life. In 1849, she was forced to threaten a lawsuit against the Saturday Evening Post who had recounted the legend of the entity, but alleged that the paranormal accounts were fiction and that Betsy was actually responsible for the events themselves. The magazine recanted the article and publicly apologized to Betsy.
In her later years, she moved to Mississippi to be closer to her children. She died there July 11, 1888 and was laid to rest at the Long Branch Cemetery in Water Valley. However, the story was not quite done. There are many that allege that the Bell Witch's torment of Betsy Bell continued until the day she died. In fact, there are many that report strange activity in and around Long Branch Cemetery to this day and that whatever taunted Betsy Bell in life has stayed around her even in death.
Visit the Long Branch Cemetery in Water Valley, Mississippi.
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