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 Elizabeth “Betsy” <I>Bell</I> Powell

Elizabeth “Betsy” Bell Powell

Adams, Robertson County, Tennessee, USA
Death 18 Jul 1888 (aged 82)
Long Branch, Yalobusha County, Mississippi, USA
Burial Yalobusha County, Mississippi, USA
Memorial ID 68406461 · View Source
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Elizabeth "Betsy" Bell Powell, the youngest daughter of John Bell, Sr., was the focus of what is considered to be the most well-known paranormal occurrence in the United States. In the early 1800's not long after moving to what was then Adams Station, Tennessee, from North Carolina, the family of John Bell, Sr. came under attack by a vengeful poltergeist. Although other members of the family were bothered, Betsy and her Father were particular victims of abuse by the "spirit" or "Kate" as it came to be called. While the "spirit" gave no direct indication for its displeasure with Mr. Bell and desire to torture him, it was specific in that it did not want Betsy to marry a young man to whom she was betrothed. The unusual situation, which began in 1817 when Betsy was almost 12 years old, lasted for about 3 years during which the family endured many hardships. Finally in late December of 1820 John Bell, Sr. died under mysterious circumstances and the "spirit" reportedly took full credit. Later, following more mischief by the "Spirit," Betsy broke off her engagement to Joshua Gardner. She later married her former school teacher Richard P. Powell. Several years after the death of her husband, following a Brother and Sister who had settled there years before, she moved to Yalobusha County in North Mississippi to live out the remainder of her life in the home of one of her children. This story of the supernatural has been documented by many writers, with the earliest mention being that of Albert Goodpasture, in GoodSpeed's "History of Tennessee" in 1886. In 1894 a book by Martin Van Buren Ingram "The Authenticated History of the Bell Witch" was published, which included the diary of Richard Williams Bell, the youngest of John Bell Sr.'s sons, entitled "Our Family Trouble." Ingram's book is, today, the prime source for all detailed information on the subject. The story with a slightly different line was recounted in 1933 by the "Guidebook for Tennessee" produced by the Federal Works Project Administration and in 1934 Dr. Charles Bailey Bell, son of John Bell, Jr. published "The Bell Witch: The Mysterious Spirit." More recently, a major motion picture of the incident "Bell Witch, The Movie" staring Betsy Palmer was made in 2002. Most recently author Brent Monahan published a fictional work based on a purported diary kept by Betsy Bell's husband, "The Bell Witch, an American Haunting" upon which the movie "An American Haunting," released in 2006 and staring Donald Sutherland, was based. Betsy's original stone which suffered much damage at the hands of vandals over the years, has been removed and placed in safe storage while a more modern stone, with an incorrect inscription, has been erected in its stead.

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(Original) "A loved one has gone from our circle, on Earth we shall meet her no more. She has gone to her home in Heaven and all her afflictions are o're."

Gravesite Details Original headstone replaced by family, possibly not in correct location, has grammatical and other errors in inscription from original





  • Created by: Jaybegood
  • Added: 15 Apr 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 68406461
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Elizabeth “Betsy” Bell Powell (Jan 1806–18 Jul 1888), Find A Grave Memorial no. 68406461, citing Long Branch Cemetery, Yalobusha County, Mississippi, USA ; Maintained by Jaybegood (contributor 47487882) .