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Big Development in the “Bell Witch” Case

Author’s note: This was originally posted to the Facebook fan page several months ago; I have recently decided to move forward with publishing it to a wider audience.  — Pat Fitzhugh

One of the more popular “Bell Witch theories” to emerge in recent years centers on the first book ever written about the case, published by Martin Ingram of Clarksville, Tennessee, back in 1894, seventy-five years after the supernatural disturbances allegedly happened.

A “first book” is often the starting point for those researching an old case, and the researcher’s first job is to try and validate the author’s claims. What happens if the author is deceased? What if the author’s sources were destroyed by the proverbial “courthouse fire,” or simply went missing? It comes as no surprise that many first-published accounts of allegedly true events are open to conflicting interpretations and harsh, relentless scrutiny. People read the accounts, draw their own conclusions, void of any proof, and then argue their conclusions as “fact.” Welcome to the Bell Witch case.

Because Martin Ingram is long deceased, and his source document–Richard Bell’s Our Family Trouble manuscript–has yet to be found, his Bell Witch book has become the prime target of inquisitives, conspiracy theorists, and skeptics alike. Many even think he made up the legend. Did he? Welcome to the jungle. (more…)

Summer Greetings

Time truly flies when you’re having fun–and when you are busy. I apologize for the long delay between updates; it has been a very busy and productive last few months. I plan to post a lot of pictures, videos, and news in the coming weeks.

As 2017 reaches the halfway point, I am repointing and refocusing my efforts on current research and writing projects, and fewer ghost investigations. Not that there is anything wrong with ghost hunting, but planning the investigations, the travel involved, and spending weeks reviewing evidence takes a LOT of time. And so does writing. Finding the time to investigate hauntings, research cases, and write books, all at once, and hoping for the proverbial “big bang,” is daunting at best. Any more ghost investigations? You betcha–but just not as frequently (for a while). It is now time to catch up on my writing projects.

I have several works in progress, some of which are near completion. In my queue is a new, revised edition of “The Bell Witch: The Full Account,” a sequel to “Ghostly Cries From Dixie,” entitled, “More Ghostly Cries From Dixie,” and two new, first edition books: “The Outlaws and Ghosts of The Natchez Trace” and “From Turkey Creek – A Memoir.” The Natchez Trace book is in its early stages, and Turkey Creek is almost finished.

You will be hearing much more about these titles, as well as release dates and upcoming appearances, through more frequent updates of this web site/blog. I will also be sharing pictures from various ghost investigations and my travels.

In the meantime, I leave you with a video from a ghost investigation near Jackson, Tennessee, conducted on January 21, 2017. Three of us investigated an 1850s-era church building and Masonic hall, and the graveyard behind it, which dates back to the early 1820s. Activity was fast and furious, so much that we brought a much larger group for another investigation on June 24th; we encountered the same results.  The area is chock full of history. Watch the video and read the captions for more information!

Thanks for watching. See you soon!

Spring 2016 Update

It’s amazing how I can be shoveling January snow one day and observing Memorial Day the next. Time moves too quickly. I wish it would slow down or, better yet, recycle itself. For that matter, I wish I could, too. The past few months, while exciting beyond words, have kept me super busy.

I still have several books in progress, but I’ve decided to keep them on the back burner while I pursue some exciting new opportunities. But of course, “back burner,” in my realm, only means putting the book together (typesetting, layout, pagination, TOC and index, cover design, and so on). I write the books in my head, then commit them to memory; I save the dirty work until later.

Exciting things are happening behind the scenes, and will continue to happen on into next year and beyond. Hint: Keep an eye on the Appearances page and watch [some of it] unfold. That’s all for now.

Later………..

Radio Interview @ Paranormal Kool-Aid July 15th

I’ll be appearing on the “Paranormal Kool-Aid” radio show July 15th at 9P Eastern / 8P Central. The discussion will center on two local haunts near and dear to my heart, The Thomas House and Octagon Hall, and why they should be on everyone’s paranormal bucket list.

A “listen live” link will be posted closer to showtime. Make your plans to listen now. Get your spook on.

Radio Interview – May 19th

Tuesday May 19th — 8p Central / 9p Eastern, I will be joining Michael Johnson and Steven LaChance for a discussion of the Sultana Disaster, the Bell Witch, and more! This will be on THE FEAR radio.

Click here to listen live!

Thanks for listening!

Lecture and Signing Event — Batesville, Mississippi

Thursday, April 23rd, 7:00 PM Central

Batesville Public Library
206 Highway 51 North
Batesville, MS

This free event is open to the public, and is being held in conjunction with a regular meeting of the Panola County Historical Society. The discussion will center on the “Bell Witch” legend, with special emphasis on its local Mississippi ties. The limited supply
of books to be sold and signed include, “The Bell Witch – The Full Account,” and “Ghostly Cries From Dixie.” Light refreshments will be served.

Photos From the Chattanooga, TN Lecture Event

Here are a couple photos from my lecture event in Chattanooga, TN on March 5th. The venue, a large retirement center, was situated atop a huge mountain. Talk about cold and windy…whoosh!

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More events will be announced soon!

Winter Update

Ice, bone-chilling temperatures, more ice, and very stressful driving. That’s what Tennessee winters are all about. We get little snow, but lots of ice. Kentucky’s weather isn’t any better.

I would like to extend a big thank-you to the many people who braved 5 inches of snow and 2-degree temperatures last Thursday night to attend my Bell Witch / Southern Ghosts lecture, Q&A, and book signing at the library in Bowling Green, Kentucky. After having done a TV filming in Adams, TN, earlier in the day, followed by a slow, 1.5-hour drive over Kentucky’s backroads toward Bowling Green, I was warmly relieved to find so many upbeat and welcoming people at the end of my journey. It was a lot of fun. Thank you!

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On March 5th, I will be traveling to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to give another lecture (to a private organization) and then spend the evening of March 6th performing paranormal research at possibly the Read House or the Choo Choo, followed by an investigation at UT Chattanooga and a nearby location. Then on March 14th, it will be an all-night paranormal research and investigative session at Octagon Hall in Franklin, Kentucky. The following week, I will likely return to The Thomas House for some research and possibly some writing. The rest of my year looks about the same as this; it’s going to be a very busy and productive year.

Several more lecture and signing appearances will be announced in the near future, including another visit to Kentucky (Owensboro) on October 15th. New book releases are also in the works. It’s going to be a fun year. Stay tuned!

 

Fall Update

I hope everyone had a great Halloween and is enjoying this creepy fall weather.

I’ve been involved with several projects as of late, one of which is more ghost hunting and paranormal investigation. If you write books about ghosts and the paranormal, you need to live the part. Right? I’ve been to several places over the past year, most notably The Thomas House in Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee. Why there? Why so many times? That’s because it’s one of those places where you will always be guaranteed action. I like action, lots of action. With its sordid past, the place stays active around the clock, every day. It’s also a short drive for me, the overnight room rates are cheap, the food is great, and the place makes an excellent getaway for reading, writing, or just relaxing and rebooting the old mind. It should come as no surprise that I am including The Thomas House in the sequel to Ghostly Cries From Dixie, which I am currently working on.

The sequel, still unnamed but using “MORE Ghostly Cries From Dixie” as its working title, will be released in the spring of 2015. As was the case with its predecessor, it will be a compilation of weird and ghostly tales from the South. Sound easy? Given the South’s reputation for haunted places and campfire tales, one would think it easy to find plenty stories for the book. Not so. Finding ghost stories for inclusion in a book is one the hardest projects I’ve ever worked on. The story needs to be rich enough in history to create a backdrop and backstory, yet creepy enough to be consistent with the book’s theme. Well-grounded ghost stories, especially those from the South, contain not only spooky elements, but also a strong sense of place.

During my search for bookworthy ghost stories from the South, I kept finding stories from the Natchez Trace, a footpath through the Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee wilderness back in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Apparently, some of the early travelers along the old path, who never made it home, are still wandering up and down the trail or lurking in the nearby woods after more than 200 years. There were a few Native American attacks, a couple disease scares, and a handful of natural deaths, but most of those who died on the Natchez Trace were murdered by outlaws and bandits. Money was not always the motive. Some “land pirates,” such as the Harp Brothers, killed people just for the sake of killing. They thought it was fun. The Natchez Trace is full of history, outlaw stories, and ghosts. So, guess what? In addition to the “Ghostly Cries From Dixie” sequel, I am also writing a book about the infamous ghosts and bandits of the Natchez Trace. Look for it in the summer of 2015.

Also, at some point, I will hopefully get From Turkey Creek – A Memoir and the Bell Witch update book done as well.

Later……

New Venture in Video: ParaTakes (First Segment: Bell Witch)

This is the first of many ParaTakes With Pat Fitzhugh that I intend to produce and distribute. A ParaTake is my short take on any topic related to the paranormal. The first few ParaTakes will cover popular myths and misconceptions associated with Tennessee’s infamous Bell Witch legend. Why the Bell Witch? Although there is more to my work than just the Bell Witch, I’ve spent two-thirds of my life researching the terrifying legend. Over the course of decades spent researching a legend, the researcher accumulates a list of pet peeves. And naturally, the researcher occasionally feels the urge to share them. Sounds like a job for ParaTakes!

Filmed in Mississippi, this first ParaTake segment features my analysis of the so-called abuse theory, which has been used in several recent attempts to “explain” the Bell Witch legend. Before we watch the video, please take moment to familiarize yourself with the story. Here’s the condensed version…

“From 1817 to 1821, a Tennessee family experienced a series of terrifying disturbances at the hands of an invisible, malevolent entity. Known as the Bell Witch, the entity beat on walls and floors, tugged on the children’s bedcovers, sang hymns, and predicted the future. Along the way, she mercilessly brutalized the family’s youngest daughter, Betsy, and killed her father.

“Scholars have attempted to explain the mystery for almost 200 years. Although nearly everyone has an opinion about the so-called Bell Witch, a provable explanation continues to elude researchers. A popular theory posed in recent years suggests that the entity evolved from Betsy Bell’s subconscious mind as the result of her [allegedly] having been abused by her father.

“In this ParaTake, author and longtime researcher Pat Fitzhugh provides his take on the oft-controversial abuse theory.”

And now, the video…

ParaTake #1: The Bell Witch Legend’s Abuse Theory — Fact or Speculation?