Tennessee´s Supernatural: Fact or Fiction?

Tennessee´s Supernatural: Fact or Fiction?

Ethan Gaddey and Brooke Wilson

The month of October is finally here. You know what that means… Spooky Time! As a way to get into the spooky spirit of this month we´ve decided to write a little article all about the ghouls and creatures of our own state of Tennessee.

Bell Witch; 1800´s; Adams, Tennessee

In the early 1800´s John Bell moved him and his family from North Carolina to Robertson County, now known as Adams, Tennesse. Things started out normal and nothing was different, they were just am average family. One day in 1817 was inspecting his cornfield when he saw something that made him second guess his vision. He claims to have seen what he called a ¨strange animal¨ that had the head of a rabbit and the body of a dog. He decided to shoot at the creature, but when he did it just vanished. Bell didn´t think much of at it at the time thinking it probably just dodged into the corn stalks. Later that same evening the Bells started to hear strange beating noises outside of their log house, but whenever John went to investigate he found nothing that could make such a noise. 

As time progressed the sounds continued and grew with intensity and frequency. The Bell kids would eventually start to complain of what they assumed were rats gnawing on their bedposts. It would only get worse from there. The kids would wake up, terrified, due to blankets being ripped from their bodies and their pillows being thrown around the room. The beating eventually turned into faint, inaudible whispers that came from a disembodied female voice. As time continued, the youngest Bell daughter, Betsy Bell, starting having encounters with what they thought to be a ghost. The ghost would attack Betsy at random times unprovoked. For the most part, the attacks stayed nonviolent, with the exception of Betsy; nevertheless, it scared the Bell family into telling their neighbor about what was happening. 

The night the neighbor, James Johnston, decided to come stay the night and see what was happening, the ghost started to act up. James said the phrase, ¨In the name of the Lord. Who are you and what do you want?¨ Nothing elaborate happened, but the activity ceased, for the night, soon after.

Over time, the voice got loud and more distinguishable. It would sing hymns, carry on intelligent conversations, recite bible verses, and, even on one occasion, quoted two entire church sermons.

Andrew Jackson eventually caught word of the Bell family and decided to pay a visit to the residence. He gathered himself, some of his men, and some horses and set out. When they made it to the land the horses refused to walk onto the property. Jackson then said, ¨By the eternal, Boys! It must be the Bell Witch!¨ The voice then responded by letting them proceed to the house but made sure to remind them that she would be back that evening. Jackson´s trip was uneventful, for the most part, with the exception of one of his men being ´beaten´ and ¨stuck by pins¨ by the witch. Jackson´s man responded by leaving, for that Jackson called him a traitor. 

There was a nearby school teacher, Richard Powell, who had feelings for Betsy Bell. It was believed that he was affiliated with the occult. When time came for Betsy to marry she chose Joshua Gardner, and everyone seemed to be ecstatic for the news except, of course, the Witch, who reportedly told Betsy not to marry him on several occasions. Some speculate that the family´s haunting was the result of Richard being jealous and this was his way of seeking vengeance. 

The Bell Witch became increasing hateful and violent towards John Bell. John developed a bad twitch, had trouble swallowing, and even started having frequent seizures. He became increasingly ill over the following year; consequently, John Bell drew his final breath on the morning of December 20th, 1820. Upon his death, a strange vial full of an unidentified liquid was found in the cupboards of the kitchen. The Witch claimed to have fed John a large amount of the liquid. John Bell´s death seemed to bring peace to the house, and the haunting stopped.


Tennessee Wildman & The Flintville Monster; Mcnairy County; Flintville, Tennessee

The Tennessee Wildman is essentially Tennessee´s own bigfoot. The creature is reported as being a tall humanoid figure that is very hairy. The only difference is that the Wildman is more human-like. He is said to be roughly 7 feet tall, covered in dark grey or ginger hair, and has piercing, red eyes. The legend of the Wildman dates back to around the early 1800´s in McNairy County.

Tennessee Wildman is said to possess great strength and agility, and it is said to be aggressive. It is known to let out loud, piercing war screams. The creature is known to target women and dogs, but no one really knows why!

One origin story of the Wildman states he was captured and put on display in a circus as a sideshow. One day the creature escaped and took off into the Tennessee wilderness. 

The latest reported sighting of the Tennessee Wildman was about 20 years ago in Elizabethton, TN. Robb Phillips and his cousin were taking a hike in Bee Cliffs. The sound of a twig snapping alerted them through the rain that it had gone eerily quiet. What followed after was something they wouldn´t soon forget. The Creature let out a blood-curdling scream! The men fled, but later saw what they assumed to be the wildman about 15 feet away clinging to a tree in the darkness. The men recounted that the creature was stout, about 9 feet in height, with red eyes, claws, and a very distinguishable stench that was close to that of a decomposing animal. 

While it is very unlikely that the Tennessee Wildman itself has been able to live for over 150 years, some speculate there are more than one of these Sasquatchesque creatures! 

The town of Flintville, about 70 miles west of Chattanooga, is home to another Bigfoot-like cryptid. The Flintville Monster. Sounds spine-chilling, does it not? Many reports of the monster have occurred, but they first started in 1997. A woman reported to the authorities that a ¨giant, hairy creature¨ snapped her car´s radio antenna and then proceeded to bounce up and down on the roof of her car! As soon as she made her story public others in the community came forth with stories of a similar creature. 

While a giant, ape-like creature destroying a car is horrifying, nothing comes close to what Jennie Robertson experienced on April 26. 1976.  Robertson´s son was playing outside when a giant creature attempted to snatch him. The creature then proceeded to chase Jennie and her son into her house and banged furiously on the door. Robertson then called the police and a manhunt for the man ensued. The search showed no result of the ´giant, ape-like creature´. 

The Flintville Monster and The Tennessee Wildman remain elusive until this very day. It continues to evade the public eye and leave skeptics searching for it, but whether or not he wants to be found will remain one of Tennessee´s many mysteries.


White screamer

Have you ever heard of White Bluff? White Bluff is simply a small town near Nashville. Nothing about it is off. It has no more than over three-thousand people living in it. Small, beautiful, and quiet; Well, during the day anyway. Sometimes, at night, screams can be heard. The town emits horrible cries and sobs, from the White Screamer! Although it is a newer legend, it dates back to the 1920s; when a family decides to move to White Bluff.

Sometime in the 1920s, a family of nine moved to the countryside of White Bluff.  A mother, a father, and their seven children. They found some promising land and built a new house there. It was the perfect start for a new life, or so they thought. It didn’t take long for the family to see some strange occurrences near their new home. That was when the screaming began. Every night, their world erupted with ungodly wailing and crying and screeching that would terrify the children and chill the parents deep in their bones.

These nights would never stop. One night though, the father had enough. He grabbed a gun and walked out into the night. He demanded that the screamer come out, but the deeper he went into the dark woods, the stranger things were.  He realized the sound was becoming louder and shrill. It became clear that it was not a screamer at all. It was a whole crowd of them. The father ran home but found another horror.

What he found was his family, hacked to bits. Their body parts were strewn across his entire home. In the period of a single night, he lost everything. The people of White Bluff are not shy about their legend. Some say that to this day, you can hear the cries of the White Screamer.