Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Ghost · #1826198
Kath and Amy wondered, "Is the cave haunted?" In the cover of darkness, they snuck back...
The Bell Witch Cave Mystery
Kath and Amy heard many ghost stories of the Bell Witch Cave growing up in Brentwood, Tennessee. Now old enough to go there themselves, they packed up Kath's Volkswagen Jetta and took off for a weekend of fun.
A few miles down the road, Kath asked, “Do you remember why the Bell Witch picked on the John Bell family?”
“Sure! She thought Mr. Bell cheated…” Amy paused, trying to remember her last name.
“Batts. Remember, she purchased a slave from Mr. Bell and then accused him of overcharging her. Can you imagine that she even dated him!”
“Yea, that's right! I also remember grandma telling me about Kate, and how she had her dowry all put together too. Then John up and marries somebody else. WOW! This made Kate the laughingstock of the whole town! Not too long after, she passed away under unexplained circumstances…”
“Then came back to haunt the Bell family,” Kath once again jumped in to finish Amy’s sentence.
These stories were told in so many ways that it made both girls laugh, reminiscing over some of the changes. All the neighborhood kids would tell each other their version of this legend at slumber parties, around the campfires, or at picnic get-togethers. It became better and better after each telling.
“I felt the sorriest about these innocent young Bell children. How this unseen ghost would pull their blankets off their beds, then she'd pinch, slap, or stick them with pins. Scary stuff when you’re a child! They'd even hear her sing, talk, and yell which would keep the family awake at night. Wouldn’t that freak you out?” Amy asked
“Sure would! Her sudden disappearance must have been a blessing. People believe she went into the cave nearby because they'd hear unexplained noises coming from inside,” Kath said. "I hope we'll see her ghost on our tour, how about you?”
“No, not too keen on seeing anyone I can see through,” Amy said, shivering, praying she wouldn't see any ghosts.
An hour later they arrived in Clarksville to get a bite to eat. “Boy, am I hungry, I didn’t have any breakfast this morning,” Amy said, stretching.
They entered the café and slid into a booth near the door. A waitress came over to take their order. “We'll have one 'Aloha' Hawaiian Pizza, please,” Kath ordered their favorite and as they waited for it to arrive, she told Amy about her telephone conversation with Chris Walter, who would be giving the tour of the cave. “I asked her how she felt living there, or if she had seen or heard anything strange?”
“Well, did she?” Amy asked, interest peaked.
“She told me she heard strange noises coming from the cave and sometimes even her house,” Kath smiled at Amy. “She believes it could be from an Indian burial ground situated on the bluff above the mouth of the cave. Restless spirits, I guess! Also, the previous owner died in the bedroom, and it could be his ghost that wanders around at night.”
“Yikes! I don’t think I could live in a house where someone died,” Amy scrunched up her face.
The girls finished their pizza, paid the bill, and walked back out to their car. Kath started the car and pulled slowly into traffic once more. "We'll arrive in Adams an hour from now."
“How long do these tours last?” Amy asked
“I don’t know. It’s just a small, two-room cave that has tunnels running between the rooms,” Kath answered. "So, it can't be too long."
Forty-five minutes later they arrived at a sign that read ‘Welcome to Adams, Population 566.’ They stopped at a station and Amy popped out to pump gas while Kath studied a map, trying to find where she wrote down the address. Ah, there it is, 430 Keysburg Road
When Amy got back in the car, Kath started the car and drove half a block before she turned left. “One more mile and we’ll be there. I’m getting goosebumps.”
”Me too!" Amy said impatiently. "Look, there it is and the gate’s open!”
They drove up a long driveway and parked near some other cars that were already there. Chris came over to introduce herself. She welcomed the girls, “You’re right on time, let's go join the others.”
When the introductions were completed all around, Chris led everyone down a wooden walkway that crossed some treacherous areas of the trail, At the cave's entrance, she stopped to explain...
“As you can see how the Red River is to the entrance and a lot of rain causing flooding. Afterward, it can make the tunnels muddy and very slippery. This is the reason you will see loose rock throughout the cave so please watch your step, folks.”
She opened an iron gate and when everyone walked inside, she closed it and walked over to turn on the lights. Leading the way down a long, narrow tunnel into a small room, she stopped in the middle until everyone gathered around her. “Let me begin with a little history of the Bell Witch or otherwise known as Kate Batts. She was not just your ordinary ghost, but the most vicious, verbal, and physically abusive spirit ever to wreak havoc on one family. She would at first just make guttural utterances in the night, which was scary enough. Later, she became a whole lot more abusive and louder.”
“What did she do?” Asked a nervous young girl.
“What didn’t she do?” Chris smiled at the young woman. “She’d begin an incessant ranting which progressed into beatings. This continued almost constantly, and The Bell family became her obsession, especially with those poor children and his wife. Life became unbearable for them. Can you believe this lasted for four years?”
“What was her reason for this consistent treachery?” a young man piped up.
“I guess she just decided John Bell should be punished for cheating her out of money. She felt he charged her too much for the slaves she bought from him, and his family paid dearly for this wrong right up until the day John Bell died and was buried in his grave. Some say he was poisoned; I mean, everyone knew about this feud between them, so, of course, there would be speculation.”
“Kate turned to be so hateful that many of the town folks became afraid of her and kept their distance. I guess her anger built up to such a crescendo, nobody really knows to what extent she would go. Some tried to talk her out of her hatred but to no avail. So, thanks to the local legend lore and the gossip which kept these hauntings alive. Some people believed back then that the spirit of Kate departed into this cave. Many more believe the cave marks the entrance to a doorway through which spirits can enter and depart.” Chris smiled as some people gasped.
“You mean there could be another ghost in this cave besides Kate?” a young teenage girl, eyes wide, looked around the cave room as if she expected something to jump out at her. She snuggled back into her boyfriend's arms.
“Yes, there could be. Andrew Jackson had the scare of his life. He tried spending one night at the Bell home and fled in terror. For a long scary moment, his buggy wheels wouldn’t move, just kept spinning in place until he thought he would be stuck there with this frightful spirit, which wasn’t a very pleasant experience to be in. People, hearing what happened to Mr. Jackson, knew for certain that an unexplained phenomenon was going on here.”
Kath gave Amy a nudge as she watched the other people look around, becoming clearly uncomfortable with what was just revealed.
Chris smiled and began to give the full history of the Bell family. As she turned, she stumbled backward as if somebody pushed her. Taken aback for a moment, she tried once again to walk forward, but Kath’s question stopped her.
“Hey Chris, are you alright?”
Chris turned, still a little flustered but regained her poise, “Sometimes bumping into something invisible... How can I explain it? It's like an eerie feeling that comes over you - like a cold chill that becomes so overpowering - until it just lets you go.”
“Do you think that was the Bell Witch?” Amy rubbed her arms to get warm, feeling creeped out about what she just witnessed.
“Who really knows? I’m not about to guess on what it can be.” Taking a deep breath, Chris continued, “Now, if anybody wants to go back to the mouth of the cave, I’ll understand. Sometimes nothing happens on these tours and then again, as you just witnessed, it can get weird.” She looked around at everyone; nobody seemed to want to turn back. “Good, we’ll just continue down this next tunnel.”
“Okay, now we’re in the larger room where the Bell children, plus most of the neighborhood kids played their games. People who visit this cave swear they can hear happy children’s voices laughing.” Pausing for effect, everyone went quiet and listened.
When nothing could be heard, she continued to relate some of the incidents that occurred to people who toured the cave. “One person bragged that he didn’t believe in ghosts. A second later a slap could be heard. People turned to look and saw him rubbing his cheek. On other tours, when people voiced the same opinion, they were shoved down to the floor and prevented from getting up. So my suggestion to everyone here is never speaking out loud that you don’t believe, strange things do happen to people who have done so,” Chis warned.
“Do you ever spend any nights in the cave just for curiosity's sake,” asked a middle-aged man.
“No, but the recent owner of this property used to let people spend the night in the cave if they wanted to," Chris looked around at everyone, gaining their reaction to her next words. “In the twenty-eight years he owned this land, nobody ever stayed through the night. Even a TV camera crew swore they could make it, setting up all their fancy equipment and thinking it would be a cakewalk. However, they left in a rush shortly after midnight - citing a screaming woman drove them out.
Everyone was quiet once Chris finished speaking. After a while, she broke the silence, “Well, this is the end of our tour. If anybody wants to visit the John Bell cabin, let me know and I’ll show you around. Thank you all for coming.” As she turned to lead the way back out of the cave, Kath whispered to Amy.
“No, you’re not!” Amy glared at Kath.
The gate slammed shut and the combination lock clicked into its slot. Amy and Kath followed everyone back up the path, and said their goodbyes to everyone else on the tour before walking over to thank Chris.
Walking over to their car, Kath was silent about the whole cave experience, making Amy worried about another crazy idea cooking up in her head.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m not satisfied.”
Amy had to ask, “Not satisfied about what? Whenever you get that look, you’re up to something that’ll get us in trouble.”
“I want to go back tonight. We know the cave’s layout now, so let’s sneak back in. Aren’t you just a little bit curious about who pushed Chris?
“Are you crazy!” Amy stared at Kath. “Have you lost your mind? I’m not going back there, especially at night.”
“What really can happen that’s so bad? I’ve never seen a ghost, and this is our chance!” Kath pleaded with Amy. "She'll be more apt to show herself at night, don't you think?"
“You’re asking me how bad it can be! First, I really don't want to see any ghost,” Amy said. “You've heard all the stories and then there’s the new ones that I haven't even heard before until Chris informed us about. What if Chris catches us snooping around? I like her and I don’t want to trespass on her property.”
Kath pulled up and parked alongside the station in Adams. “It sounds as if you’re giving in just a little bit.”
Amy said reluctantly. “Well, I can’t let you go in there alone!”
"Good, then it’s settled," Kath hugged Amy and started to lay out her plans for how they’d sneak in.
That night, they crept along the tobacco fields until they came to Kirby’s driveway. They followed it up, keeping near the large plants until they reached the fence. Climbing over, they cut across to the wooden walkway that led down to the cave.
Kath opened the gate and both girls walked into the darkness. They clicked on their flashlights and started walking through the first tunnel.
"So far so good,” Kath said, as they made their way to the first room. In the middle, she shone her flashlight around the room. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, all she saw was a couple of spooky shadows.
“Ouch! Did you just pinch me?” Amy shivered, rubbing her hands along her arms, feeling chilled and stood as close to Kath as she could get. “Ouch, somebody just pulled my hair!”
Kath said. “We’ve got a live one, let’s continue to the big room.”
“I’m out of here,” Amy tried to pull from Kath’s grasp but she just guided her down the second narrow tunnel. Upon reaching the larger room, a faint sound of laughter could be heard. This time Amy wrenched herself free of Kath’s hold and ran back down the tunnel to the first room. The laughter grew louder and louder until it turned into a piercing scream that echoed all along both tunnels. This time Kath didn’t waste any time following behind Amy.
As they entered the smaller room, a mist of white hung in midair in front of them and slowly began to take on the shape of a woman. Mesmerized, the girls stared until the face materialized.' Red eyes looked directly at Kath. Evil showed from every angle as an eerie moaning sound and words began to make themselves clear, “Whaat dooo yooou waaant?”
Amy took a couple of small steps forward, edging herself around the apparition. The apparition elongated itself to block her path, its face mere inches from Amy. Screaming as loud as a banshee, she fled back to where Kath stood.
Amy, shivering and barely forming her words clearly, “I-I w-w-want o–o-o-outa h-h-h-here n–n-n-now!” The temperature began falling rapidly, getting colder and colder as Kath tried to think of a way to escape.
The ghostly form began to laugh once more, then wail louder and louder, turning once again into an ear-piercing scream. Covering their ears, Kath pushed Amy ahead of her as the apparition seemed transfixed at the moment over the horrible sound it was making. Slipping and sliding into the first tunnel, Kath prayed Amy wouldn't stumble. Racing toward the mouth of the cave, Kath cried out in pain, over and over again all the while they were running away from this evil being. Not pausing one little bit, she slammed the gate shut at the cave's entrance. Amy regained some of her composure and they ran up the wooden walkway, climbed back over the fence, and ran past the tobacco plants to their car.
When they finally reached it, Amy became worried about Kath's cries of pain. She
turned to Kath. “Okay, what did that thing do to you?”
“I don’t know but it felt as if I was being stabbed with a thousand pinpricks. We must have disturbed her beauty rest or something, she’s one angry wraith!” Kath winced as Amy made her turn around. Shining her flashlight onto her back, she could see Kath’s shirt had spots of blood all over the back. Lifting it gently, she gasped at what she saw.
“That’s it, I’m taking you to the hospital,” Amy helped Kath into the passenger seat. She got behind the wheel and drove back to Adam’s. Stopping at the gas station to ask where the nearest hospital was, Amy, asked the attendant for directions. He told her to go back to Clarksville and gave her a street address. Following his directions, they arrived twenty minutes later at the hospital’s emergency entrance.
She helped Kath out of the car and inside the hospital. When the nurse saw Kath’s back, she called the doctor immediately. He looked her over carefully.
“These wounds look as if they’ve been made by a hat pin, some of them look fairly deep,” he informed Kath. “I’ll have the nurse dress these wounds.” He called the nurse in and gave her the instructions for the treatment. Then he turned to the girls. “Now, how did this happen? I heard you mumbling about someone being stabbed by the Bell Witch.”
Amy explained everything that happened, “Kath wanted to see a ghost. We first took the tour and witnessed something strange happen. After that, Chris just gave us the history behind the cave. So, this tour was too boring for Kath. We snuck back in at night and this is what happened,” Amy glared at Kath for being so foolish.
The doctor shook his head as he gave the nurse one more order, "Give this young lady a Tetanus shot to be on the safe side.”
He left the room and the nurse finished dressing Kath’s back, gave her the shot, and said, “Come back in the morning so the doctor can recheck these wounds. Here, take these sleeping pills so you’ll get a good night’s rest.”
They thanked her and left the hospital. Finding a motel nearby, they settled in for the night. The last thing Amy heard Kath mumble into her pillow before she succumbed to sleep was, “I got to see a real live ghost…”
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