Extract from

The Bell Witch of Middle Tennessee

By Harriet Parks Miller

Leaf-Chronicle Publishing Co. Clarksville, Tenn. 1930


A Mysterious Spirit the Bell Witch of Tennessee

By Charles Bailey Bell (A Descendant)

Harriet Parks Miller

Charles Elder – Bookseller


Nashville, Tennessee

Summer 1879

” ‘Mother was of a calm, placid disposition, and not easily aroused by trifles. On this same afternoon that I mention, her attention was attracted by a strange noise from a wash stand in the room. She looked in the direction and saw a pitcher in the bowl on the washstand rocking back and forth.’ “

” ‘She went to see if a string or wire were attached to it, thinking it perhaps a boyish prank; finding none, she resumed her sewing, when she was amazed to see the pitcher lift itself several inches from the bowl, then settle down into it again, with a loud noise.’ “

” ‘Then the pitcher was lifted entirely out of the bowl and placed with deliberate care, beside it on the washstand.’ “

” ‘Immediately after this the bowl was flung from the washstand, and fell in fragments at mother’s feet, and in quick succession the smaller pieces of the entire toilet set followed, adding their several little heaps to the debris on the floor. From that day the peace and quiet of the happy old homestead were destroyed.’ “

” ‘The next day, the family was eating dinner, when a door opening on the front gallery, and which was standing open, began to move slowly, and was shut with calm deliberation.’ “

” ‘ “That was done,” said mother, quietly, “by the wind.” ’ “

” ‘But she had scarcely spoken when the door opened, and was flung back against the wall with great violence. At the same time two windows in the room were raised and lowered many times, breaking the panes into tiny bits.’ “

” ‘These were only small beginnings. Frequently during the meal hour, milk, tea, coffee and soup were flung into the faces of those at the table, several times inflicting painful scalds and burns. Spoons were broken, or suddenly twisted out of shape in their hands.’ “

” ‘At first the demonstrations were confined to the dining room and mother’s bedroom, but after a few days they spread until there was not a room in the house free from the frightful phenomenon.’ “

” ‘At all hours of the day and night, the heavy old fashioned furniture would creak and groan, then as if moved by unseen giants, it would rush from its place in a mad dance about the room, and would either move quietly back to its accustomed place or would be dashed to splinters on the floor, with noise like a thunderbolt.’ “

” ‘One of the most singular phases of the phenomenon was the affect that the presence of the young daughter of the house, Miss Clementine Surrency, had upon the strange demonstrations. From the very beginning of the trouble it was noticed that when she was present, the manifestations were more potent and varied.’ “

” ‘Anything she chanced to lay her hands upon seemed drawn to her by some strange law of magnetism, and would follow her movements through the house, floating slowly through the air behind her, several feet from the floor, as if supported by invisible hands.’ “

” ‘Her mere entrance into a room would frequently be cause sufficient to send all the furniture in its spinning around in a mad whirl, lasting several minutes, and would either end suddenly in profound quiet, or in a loud crash, wrecking some favorite heirloom.’ “



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