Living in northern Tennessee, not far from the legendary town of Adams, I have become quite familiar with the Bell Witch legend. Over the years there have been many paranormal films and television shows that tried to bring light to this haunting bit of folklore, but very few have done the story justice. Many have simply told the story incorrectly to suit their needs or simply left out important details, but this is not the case with the most recent documentary by Small Town Monsters, The Mark of the Bell Witch.
I had my trepidations watching the film at first, but I knew after about five minutes that this was going to be a well-done documentary. The story was told more from a haunting historical viewpoint rather than trying to only highlight the frightening aspects of the folklore. Small Town Monsters not only brought in local historians but also local folklorists to get the full well-rounded story of the Bell family and their relationship with “Kate,” the infamous Bell Witch.
If you had ever seen a production from the Small Town Monsters crew before you could expect that this would be beautifully shot. Between the stunning cinematography of the black and white reenactment scenes and the captivating way they shot the interviews, it was exquisite. Some paranormal and historical documentaries can be over the top in their reenactments, but these were not. They were the perfect balance that was needed to give the telling of the legend the depth to be relevant in today’s modern age.
The Bell family, who settled down in the beautiful Red River Valley two centuries ago, was met with unusual and supernatural circumstances that would have driven most from their homes and land. Some of the strange supernatural events included seeing strange animals including dogs with more than one head, apparitions, strange sounds that plagued the family nightly, voices, and violent attacks and possessions. Dozens of people including friends, ministers, witch hunters, and even General Andrew Jackson came to try to help the family rid themselves of the witch. This haunting tale has never truly come to a close, but the family did find some peace in the end when John Bell was reportedly murdered by the witch. This is said to be one of the only known cases of murder committed by a “ghost” in American history.
The Mark of the Bell Witch thrilled and surprised me with their accurate accounts of this story and the stunning cinematography. As a Tennessean, I am proud to say this is one of the best documentaries of the Bell Witch to date, and I highly recommend that every history and paranormal lover own a copy of this amazing work. This documentary comes to Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on December 15, 2020.
On November 24th, we were able to sit down with Seth Breedlove of Small Town Monsters to discuss The Mothman Legacy and The Mark of the Bell Witch. You can check out our interview here with them!