The Blair Witch Project was one of the most highly successful hoaxes by a film maker in order to bring a buzz around a fictional topic by touting it as real. After the film was released in theaters, search parties were assembled to look for the abandoned cabin in the woods, and the film’s lost creators. Of course this soon turned out to be merely a piece of fiction. But it was based around a legend that was based in history. Kate, also known as The Bell Witch, was the primary basis for the film’s supernatural background.
In the years between 1871 and 1821 there was a mysterious witch who tormented one pioneer family in Tennessee named Kate. The historical records of the event have backed up the claims by historians that this was indeed America’s strangest ghost story for almost 200 years. It all began, as many frontier stories do with one man moving his family west in order to cut out a new living away from the ever growing crowds of people on the Eastern coast. As john Bell settled into one Tennessee community in Robertson county, he purchased a small plot of land to live on and farm. As time progressed, his land ownership grew and soon he held over 300 acres, which he began setting out to cultivate for farming. As life settled into a state of prosperous normalcy, the Bell family had several children, and became prominent members of the local church.
Then one day, as John was strolling through his fields he came across a mysterious creature with the body of a dog, but the head of a rabbit sitting near his corn. Alarmed by the mysterious creature’s size and appearance John shot the animal several times, but as it lay bleeding it vanished in front of him. Casually, Bell reloaded his gun satisfied that the creature had been dealt with and went home for dinner. That night there was a mysterious thumping sound along the exterior walls of their cabin as though something were trying to get in through the walls. The first night was harrowing, but was soon followed every night afterward with more thumping sounds. As the mysterious events continued, the Bells found themselves being flung from their beds by invisible hands and having the covers ripped from them in their sleep. The children complained that they could hear rats chewing at the edges of their beds. Soon this was followed by whispering voices that sung mysterious indecipherable hymns or cantrips. Then Betsy, the Bell’s youngest daughter, would feel an invisible entity slap her and pull her hair leaving bruises and moving Betsy to tears. It was only then that John Bell found it necessary to tell his neighbors, who spent a night in the house and suffered similar disturbances.
The story of the Bell Witch continues for years after this initial first wave of encounters, even incorporating into it several witnesses who testified under oath on the veracity of their claims about this supernatural entity. But who was Kate? And why did she find it so necessary to torment the Bell family? Prepare your nerves for part two of what many people call America’s Greatest Ghost Story.