Much more than a haunted house, the Bell Witch put fear into those who knew the tale behind the misery. In this article, you will learn more about the supernatural historic true story that gave the movie, “An American Haunting” a plot.
The time is 2006. The place is Red River, Tennessee. There is a teenager plagued by constant nightmares. Her mother then reads her an old letter written by an ancestor that dates back to 1817. Her relative is Lucy Bell and it seems that after a dispute over lands associated with the churches, her husband (John Bell) was the victim of a curse that was cast by his opponent, who was named Kathe Batts. She had already been well known for practicing witchcraft. It seems that from that day on, something seems to threaten John, as well as his daughter Betsy Bell. Throughout the night, the young girl encounters attacks.
With the help of her school teacher (Richard Powell), brother (John Bell Jr), and a friend (James Johnston), Betsy fights to best a spirit that is haunting their house. The movie also shows a failed exorcism of the house, as friends and family struggle to come to grips with what could possibly be happening to the young girl. Playing the role of John Bell is Donald Sutherland, while Lucy Bell is played by Sissy Spacek. The school teacher is played by James D’Arcy.
“An American Haunting” Facts and Trivia
The movie follows the lead of a true story. So true, that a President is recorded as making mention of the Bell House. Andrew Jackson is quoted as stating, “I would rather take on the entire English Fleet than stay one night at the Bell House.” In later times, he gathered a group of men to test the validity of rumors swirling around the Bell haunting. What they found was documented in a book titled, ” An Authenticated History of The Famous Bell Witch.” The book was published in 1894 and written by M. V. Ingram. However, it is not this book that serves as a reference for the movie. “The Bell Witch: An American Haunting the Famous Bell Witch” written by Brent Monahan provides the literature that the movie is based on.
Although the movie is based on historical events, the letter that comes to light is pure fiction. There is no physical evidence that John Bell ever committed molestation on one of his relative. There is also no proof that Mrs. John Bell took the life of her husband.
“An American Haunting” was marketed as a drama, horror, thriller, and mystery.
A tagline used to market “An American Haunting” was “Possession Knows No Bounds.”
In 2006, at the Golden Trailer Awards, the movie was nominated for a Golden Trailer in the category of Best Horror. At the Teen Choice Awards, the film was nominated for a Teen Choice Award Movie in the category of Choice Scream for the performance of Rachel Hurd-Wood. At these same awards, “American Haunting” turned heads in the category of Choice Thriller.
Filming locations for “An American Haunting” were set in Bucharest, Romania and Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
The film is actually based on the true events that supposedly occurred in the state of Tennessee during the 1800s. In history, it is the only documented case of its kind, where the State of Tennessee truly cosigned that a spirit was responsible for the death of a living being.
An alternate title for this movie was “The Bell Witch.”