Kate Batts was a spiteful old woman who believed that she had been cheated in a land purchase by John Bell and was hell bent (literally) on tormenting him and his children, or at least his favorite 12-year old daughter, Betsy. On Kate’s deathbed, she vowed to haunt the family of the Bell’s who had done her wrong. After her death, she made good her promise. It felt to the Bell family that this ghost took no other pleasure than tormenting them incessantly. Kate pinched their noses, poked needles into them, threw kitchen objects about, screeched at them in her now notorious high-pitched voice, pulled hair and was a presence that none of them could escape. Kate’s wrath was particularly directly at John and his favorite daughter, Betsy. With the wife and other children she was sometimes heard crooning softly, saying something pleasant, or just ignoring them completely. John and Betsy were not so fortunate. Kate enjoyed mentally and physically torturing them with her shrieking voice or physically punishing antics. Gossip moved as quickly then as it does now and this was a much talked about event in the small farming town of Adams, Tennessee. People were deeply fascinated by the rumors and some even came from hundreds of miles away to visit the place of unrest. Some spectators were greeted with handshakes, some with shrieks and some with a full dialog of warning. So popular did the story become that General Andrew Jackson, the future President of the United States, gathered a few friend to investigate the story himself. He and his cohorts wanted to either debunk or repel the feisty spirit of Kate Batts. Jackson and his men were in for a surprise though. When their wagons stuck fast to an otherwise smooth and flat road, their jests of dealing with the witch came to a halt. No matter how they examined, pushed, cursed or whipped the horses, their wagon was not moving. t was said that Jackson, in a fit of frustration and resignation, declared, “By the eternal, boys, it is the witch." Much to the amazement of Jackson and his men, the legendary screech could be heard from a nearby bush that replied, “"All right General, let the wagon move on, I will see you again to-night." Moments later the wagon and horses were suddenly free to move about. There wasn’t a person present that could account for the voice’s owner or its whereabouts. Kate wasn’t miserly in her haunting antics and bestowed upon Jackson and his men the same torturous treatment as she had John and his daughter Betsy. Jackson’s bedcovers were repeatedly yanked from his body and his men were delivered the same pinches and pokes as the family were. Jackson and his men realized they were no match for the Bell witch and hastily abandoned their adventure first thing in the morning. Ghosts never die so it was not surprising that the haunting of Kate lasted the duration of John Bell’s life. In fact, the ghost of Kate Batts was said to have been responsible for John’s death. In October of 1830, John Bell was rumored to have suffered a stroke and taken ill. While he was bedridden, his family found him in a particularly bad state of stupor and position. Alarmed, his son ran to the medicine cabinet to fetch what he thought was his father’s medicine. After administering it, the family heard the witch’s glee as she victoriously declared she had poisoned John herself the night before with that vial and this last dose was surely his undoing. True enough, it was. The contents were later examined by a doctor and found to be very poisonous. Kate was not satisfied with death alone. She sang in merriment at John’s graveside and was still heard singing happily as the last person hastily left. Notable points: This story is popular enough to have spawned several recent movies of which include the Blair Witch Project and The American Haunting. It is also noted as one of the very rare poltergeists that caused a man’s death. Famous hauntings

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borley-rectory

The Borley Rectory

There are enough allegations of emotionally charged events at the Borley Rectory, located near the Suffolk border in the eastern portion of England, to fill all of those requirements. During a séance, co-held by Harry Price, a paranormal investigator who had leased the premise in the late 30’s from Reverend Lionel Foyster and his wife, Marianne, he would uncover what he felt to be one of the strongest presences at Borley Rectory. But before we reveal the results of that séance, a brief history of the house is in order. The history of Borley Rectory begins with the building of a gothic Benedictine monastery in the 13th century. Those were not genteel times and legend has it that a monk and his lovely young love-interest, a nun from a nearby convent, were both done-in while trying to elope the establishment and start a new life together. They were captured and the monk was hung while his fiancé was walled up, alive in the cold walls of her convent. Two lovers torn apart to be isolated forever… Was it she who had been seen wafting through the garden, head bent in sorrow? Was she the girl in white who roamed the property searching for her lost love? After its stint as a monastery, it was sold off as a residence and a rectory was soon added in 1862 by Rev. Henry Bull and his family. Reverend Bull had become pastor of Borley Church in 1862 and despite local warnings, built the rectory on a site believed by locals to be haunted. Over the years, Bull’s servants and his daughters were repeatedly unnerved by phantom rappings, unexplained footsteps and the appearance of ghosts. Reverend Bull seemed to find these happenings as wildly entertaining and he and his son, Harry, even constructed a summerhouse on the property where they could enjoy after-dinner cigars and pleasurably idle away the time waiting for an appearance of the phantom nun who roamed the property. After Reverand Bull passed on in one of the more famous of the haunted rooms (the Blue Room), his son Harry inherited the establishment and position until he himself passed on in 1927. Following Harry’s footsteps was Rev. Guy Smith who was so unnerved by the spectral sights and sounds, that he left the rectory just one year after moving in. After Smith’s hasty departure, the house was then inhabited by Reverend Lionel Foyster and his wife, Marianne. The house only seemed to be getting warmed up as their experiences grew in intensity and frequency. Without any explanation, they found themselves locked out of rooms, windows would suddenly smash and personal items would vanish under their noses. t wasn’t uncommon for them to hear unnerving noises from all over the house. As time went on, these mischievous antics turned aggressive and Marianne was actually accosted one evening. She was thrown off her bed in the middle of the night and even slapped by invisible hands of which she was helpless to do anything about! The final straw was when she was nearly made unconscious by a mattress that was held over her face. Someone obviously didn’t like Marianne. Perhaps it was jealousy from a female ghost that caused these physical transgressions? The involvement of Harry Price came about after a paper asked him to investigate these poltergeists activity following a popular story written by the paper. It was during his investigation that writings on the wall started to appear, usually when Marianne was present. The writing’s ghostly owner seemed more sympathetic to Marianne compared to the other ghosts as some of the messages scrawled were, “Marianne, please help get” and “Marianne light mass prayers”. Price was more of a guest at the manor until the Foysters moved out in 1935 at which point he leased the house for a full year for deeper investigation. Now that Price had the house to himself for an extended period, he ran an ad for other paranormal investigators to help him monitor and document the ghostly activities. He had to weed through some not-so-savory types though, but he ended up working with 40 people to uncover some of the fascinating history of Borley Rectory. During a séance, an alleged spirit named Marie Lairre came through and told the group that she had been a nun in France but had left her convent to marry Henry Waldegrave, the son of a wealthy family whose home had previously stood on the site of Borley Rectory. The tale turned grim when she declared that her husband had taken her life and placed her remains in the cellar. To Price, she seemed to fit the profile of the ghost that haunted Borley Rectory. One spirit during a séance even gave a fascinating prediction that the former nun’s body would be found in the ruins. Though the spirit said the house would burn down that night, thus revealing the location of the bones, it wasn’t until 11 months later that a fire was started by the new owner, Captain WH Gregson, as he was unpacking library books when an oil lamp fell over and started a fire. The fire spread fast through the manor and the rectory was in shambles, later to be demolished in 1944. Since previously unattainable areas were now exposed, Price decided to excavate the cellar where he indeed found a few small bones, which seemed to be those of a young woman. Was this the proof needed to validate the story of the betrayed nun? Regardless who the woman was, she was given a proper religious burial and finally laid to rest.

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