For those who don't know, here's one version of the Bell Witch story. There isn't TOO much difference between versions. :xbones:
The haunting started as unexplained noises around the Bell house beginning as scratching and knocking sounds and soon progressed to the sounds of dogs fighting, chains being dragged around and "beating" sounds on the outside walls of their house. It wasn’t long until the children began complaining of more terrifying things--having their bed covers pulled off, being touched and pinched by a seemingly invisible force. Soon, they heard what sounded like faint, whispering voices--too weak to understand--but sounded like a feeble old woman crying or singing hymns. The encounters escalated, and the Bells’ thirteen-year-old daughter, Betsy, began experiencing brutal physical encounters with the entity. It relentlessly pulled her hair, beat and slapped her, often leaving visible prints on her face and body for days at a time.
Quickly, the entity’s voice strengthened; it carried on intelligent conversations, and answered questions from visitors. Although the Spirit tormented many people, including the Bells’ slaves, she seemed to adore Lucy Bell, John’s wife. Over a four year period, hundreds of people spoke with the Spirit and witnessed its wonderful and horrifying demonstrations; and ever so many detectives, wise men, witch doctors and conjurors came to exercise their skills on the Spirit and tried to rid the Bells of their tormentor; all were brought to grief by the Spirit and left confessing the phenomena was beyond comprehension. Yet, those who witnessed the demonstrations knew that it had a wonderful power of intelligence, possessing great knowledge of men and things; a spirit that could apparently read minds, tell men’s secrets, repeat sermons word for word and sing every song in the hymn book. It often assumed a pious character, enjoying religious discussions and quoting scripture with absolute accuracy.
The Spirit often expressed its dislike for "Ol’ Jack Bell" and vowed to kill him. As John Bell’s health grew worse, the Spirit would torture him more severely by relentlessly beating him while he was experiencing seizures. On the morning of December 20, 1820, John Bell took his last breath; and when the family found a small vial of unidentified liquid, the Spirit suddenly spoke up exclaiming, "I gave Ol’ Jack a big dose of that last night, and that fixed him!" John Bell’s funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Robertson County, hundreds of people attended, including the gloating Spirit, who cheerfully offered mourners a concert of brawny drinking songs.
I'm a little rusty on this and if I remember my Witch lore, wasn't the reason why the Witch totured the Bells is because John Bell happened to be coming home from either town or a hunting trip, saw a strange black dog, or animal that watched him with too intelligent eyes, unmoving, until Old Farmer John, creeped out, took a shot at it and sent it scurrying away. It was very shortly after this that the tortures began. Do you know anything about this, Raxl, or am I remembering something else? I'm almost positive that this was the beginning of the legend of the Bell Witch. :xbones: :devil:
Your recall is total. What you say is true. From the official web-presence:
One day in 1817, John Bell was inspecting his corn field when he encountered a strange-looking animal sitting in the middle of a corn row. Shocked by the appearance of this animal, which had the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit, Bell shot several times to no avail. The animal vanished. Bell thought nothing more about the incident - at least not until after supper. That evening, the Bells began hearing "beating" sounds on the outside walls of their house.
I rember reading somewere that its belived the Bell Witch was the Jhon Bells former Fience and she died, two days later bell was married. Aperently they say that the dead Fience wasn't too pleased about the lack of greaving, it could have been that Jhon murdered her who knows?
Also as I recall Andrew Jackson came down and when he left he said he 'would rather face the entire British army then go back and face the Bell Witch.' Its said too that the haunting still continuse, to a degree. If you go see the Bell cave and after you walke away you hear someone wisper your name in your ear.
I also heard that it had something to do with a land deal that John Bell screwed the witch out of and she placed a curse on him for it that she would return and torment them. I guess the moral of this story is not to **** off an old hag who may or may not keep toe of frog, eye of newt and mandrake root on her shopping list.
Witchcraft ban ends in Zimbabwe
By Steve Vickers
Traditional healers will only be prosecuted if they cause harm
Zimbabwe has lifted a ban on the practice of witchcraft, repealing legislation dating back to colonial rule.
From July the government acknowledges that supernatural powers exist - but prohibits the use of magic to cause someone harm.
In 1899, colonial settlers made it a crime to accuse someone of being a witch or wizard - wary of the witch hunts in Europe a few centuries earlier which saw many people burned at the stake after such accusations.
But to most Zimbabweans, especially those who grew up in the rural areas, it has been absurd to say that the supernatural does not exist.
In fact, it is not hard to find vivid stories about the use of magic.
Resident of 'haunted' house critically wounds teen
Prank gone awry stuns Worthington
Resident of 'haunted' house critically wounds teen
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Theodore Decker , Kevin Kidder and Encarnacion Pyle
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Crime scene investigator Gary Wilgus, left, and Worthington Police Sgt. Jim Mosic take measurements of the car Rachel Barezinsky and her friends were in Tuesday night.
The house Allen S. Davis shares with his mother at 141 Sharon Springs Dr. in Worthington.
Rachel Barezinsky is in critical condition after being shot by Allen S. Davis, right.
JAMES D. DeCAMP | DISPATCH
Three of the four friends who were in the car with her when she was shot comfort each other at a vigil last night at Thomas Worthington High School.
Teens throughout Worthington had heard the stories about the home by the cemetery, hidden in a tangle of trees, bushes and weeds, with trails snaking out from the door and around the house. "It's haunted," some said. "Crazy people live there." And one of the favorites: "They're witches."
Police learned only yesterday of those stories and the youthful dares of teens driving to the house at 141 Sharon Springs Dr.
But none of those tales involved a man with a gun.
Late Tuesday night, the homegrown scary tale turned to real horror. Five thrill-seeking girls set to begin their senior year at Thomas Worthington High School on Friday ran afoul of an armed resident of the home, leaving 17-year-old Rachel Barezinsky critically injured by gunfire, police said.
Allen S. Davis, a 40-year-old man who lives at the house with his mother, said during a jailhouse interview that he was defending his home.
He admitted opening fire from his first-floor bedroom window after hearing the girls outside around 10 p.m. He said he repeatedly fired shots from a .22-caliber rifle.
"Did they threaten me?" he said. "No.
"I didn't know what their weaponry was, what their intentions were," he said. "In a situation like that, you assume the worst-case scenario if you're going to protect your family from a possible home invasion and murder."
Police said the girls were mischievous, but they weren't even close to the house and hadn't harassed Davis or his mother, Sondra, when he opened fire.
"It's just a kid thing," said Worthington Police Lt. J. Douglas Francis. "Unfortunately, this time it had some bad ramifications."
Barezinsky was struck twice, in the upper body and head, police said. She remained in critical condition at Ohio State University Medical Center, where she had surgery yesterday to reduce brain swelling.
The other girls with her, Margaret Hester, Tessa Acker, Rachel Breen and Una Hrnjak, weren't hurt.
Davis, who police said had no criminal record, is charged with five counts of felonious assault. He was being held in the Franklin County jail pending an appearance in Municipal Court this morning.
Last night, several hundred of Barezinsky's friends and family filled the football field of the high school, where they signed posters wishing her well and lighted candles.
Barezinsky's mother, Amy Barezinsky, came directly from the hospital to talk to the crowd.
"She's doing really well for someone who had that kind of trauma," said her mom, who is a nurse. "I'm going to have to get on my knees and pray. Maybe you guys could do that, too."
Doctors have told the family that they are "cautiously optimistic" about Rachel's recovery. She has squeezed her aunt's hand and responded to doctors' requests to wiggle her toes.
"It's just so senseless," said her aunt, Tina Wedebrook, who attended the vigil. "We need to focus our energy on healing Rachel. She is such a fighter, so full of energy."
Some of the girls who were in the car with Barezinsky also attended. Una Hrnjak broke down in tears after talking to the assembled crowd. "This is so hard to do," Hrnjak said. "She's fighting so hard for all of us and for herself."
Lt. Francis gave this account of what happened Tuesday night:
The girls had gone to the Walnut Grove Cemetery for "ghosting," which amounts to teens trying to scare one another. The girls told police that the Davis house, right across the street, is known among local kids as the "spooky house."
"They dare each other to walk into the property," Francis said, saying this week was the first police had heard of the practice because the Davises had never filed a complaint.
Two of the girls stayed in the car while the other three started up the concrete walk to the Davis home. They didn't get far before turning around.
"One of the girls honked the horn to scare them," Francis said.
After they all were back in the car, the girls heard what they thought were firecrackers, but was gunfire instead. They made the mistake of circling the block, Francis said.
Davis said he fired again as they returned.
"To the best of my knowledge, that did the trick," he said. His mother, he said, was asleep upstairs, and he didn't learn he'd hit someone until police arrived later.
Police said no one got out of the car the second time the girls drove past. They discovered that Barezinsky, in the front passenger seat, was shot as they drove off. The panicked girls headed for N. High Street, where they found police.
When Rachel Breen called saying, "Mom, I'm all right but ..." Kathy Breen assumed she had wrecked the car.
"Instead, she said Rachel got shot," said Mrs. Breen, of Worthington. "I thought, 'This can't be. This is Worthington. Those things don't happen here.'
"All the kids talked about an old lady - a witch - living there," she said. "They're good kids. They didn't ring the doorbell or knock on the window. They had just taken a few steps on the property when they ran back to the car."
Sam Steiner, a friend, called Barezinsky the "typical, upbeat, lots of fun, always-smiling cheerleader-type." Indeed, she's a member of the Cardinals cheerleading squad.
Davis, who said he is a selfemployed writer, said he and his mother had put up with mischief for months. Teens would bang on their windows and doors, shout and cause a ruckus, he said.
"The main goal was to drive these people off and to teach them to stop coming and harassing and trespassing," he said of shooting out of his window.
"I regret that (Barezinsky was shot)," he said. "However, I would ask, why was that teenage girl engaging in delinquent behavior?"
He said he and his mother didn't notify police of the ongoing harassment because of their poor relationship with the city.
Worthington officials have responded repeatedly to complaints about the property over the years, most recently when a picket fence collapsed and neighbors complained of overgrown shrubs. "They did the absolute minimum," said Don Phillips, the city's chief building inspector.
Diana Gilmore and her husband lived next door to the Davises for 18 years, until moving in April.
She said the few times Allen Davis came out to tend to the mass of vegetation growing around the house, "He'd swing that sickle like he was killing it."
Her 33-year-old daughter, Melissa, said that even when she was a teen, she joked with her siblings that the grayhaired Sondra Davis was a witch. The large black caldron Davis used as a planter in the front yard, made the story perfect, she said.
The caldron is still on the property, obscured by brush but visible to anyone who heads up the winding dirt trail that leads to Davis' front door.
One sign on the trail warns, "Enter at your own risk. Falling walnuts." Posted on the front door is another that reads, "Armed response." But the door, along with most of the house, can't be seen from the street.
Sondra Davis remained in her home yesterday but would not comment.
From jail, her son laughed at the legend that had brought five girls to his home.
"Wow, a haunted house, huh?
Dispatch staff reporterDean Narciso contributed to this story.
A shotgun and some rock salt would have done the trick nicely since there was a history of pranksters in this case, but this guy seems pretty disturbed and obviously over-reacted.
I read this article at Fark.com last week. Some readers there were actually familiar with the community and the situation--many details have been left out of the news stories. Seems there is a lot of upscale development going on in the area and harassment of the old lady who owns the house (the shooter's mother) was actually overlooked and almost encouraged in hopes that she would sell out to someone else. The property is also considered an eyesore by the city and the homeowner had been cited numerous times for issues like overgrown vegetation, broken fences, etc. Between having a bad relationship with the city over the appearance of the property and having past calls about pranksters and property damage ignored by the authorities, the old lady gave up on reporting any more incidents to the police.
I feel sorry for the guy's elderly mother. She's now lost her only companion (such as he was) and now has to deal with even more scorn heaped upon her by her neighbours.
:xbones: Official sick days, from witch doctor :xbones:
POSTED: 10:27 a.m. EDT, September 6, 2006
HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Tribal healers, often known as witch doctors, are to be permitted to give patients official sick days recognized by employers, the state media reported Wednesday.
Deputy Health Minister Edwin Maguti told a gathering of traditional healers and herbalists that only members of the 1,500-strong state-approved Traditional Medical Practitioners Council would be allowed to grant sick leave of up to a week, The Herald newspaper, a government mouthpiece, said.
As government health services crumble in the ailing economy, the move was part of efforts to improve the collaboration of traditional healers in providing health care.
Maguti said medical doctors would also be encouraged to refer patients to traditional healers for additional treatments.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
'They say I ate my father...'
By Edmund Sanders
Los Angeles Times
Posted on Sun, Sep. 24, 2006
KINSHASA, Congo - Naomi Ewowo had just lost her parents when her family branded her a witch. She was 5.
After her mother and father died unexpectedly less than a month apart, Naomi's care fell to relatives who struggled to cope with the tragedy. They sought counsel from a neighborhood "prophet," who warned that a sorcerer was hiding in their midst. Soon all eyes turned on the family's youngest, most vulnerable member.
"They blamed me for killing my parents," said Naomi, now 10, swinging her short legs under her chair.
The girl was cast out and lived on the streets until she moved to a rescue center three months ago.
"They say I ate my father. But I didn't. I'm not a witch."
On a continent where belief in black magic and evil spirits is common, witch-hunts are nothing new, usually targeting older, unmarried women.
But in the Congo, most allegations of witchcraft and sorcery now accuse the young, making them the primary cause of homelessness among children.
Of the estimated 25,000 children living on the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, more than 60 percent have been thrown out of their homes by relatives accusing them of witchcraft, child-welfare advocates said.
The practice is so rampant that Congo's constitution, adopted in December, outlaws sorcery allegations against children.
A rise in religious fundamentalism, revival churches and self-proclaimed prophets is one cause. More than 2,000 churches in Kinshasa offer "deliverance" services to ward off evil spirits in children, according to Human Rights Watch.
"Some prophets who run these churches have gained celebritylike status, drawing in hundreds of worshipers in lucrative Sunday services because of their famed 'success' in child exorcism ceremonies," the group reported in April.
But poverty is the real culprit, some experts said. Decades of dictatorship, instability and war have unraveled the social fabric, tearing apart family and tribal support systems. It's no coincidence that most accused children come from poor, broken homes. Most are orphans or have lost one or both parents to divorce or abandonment.
When relatives are unable or unwilling to cope with an additional mouth to feed, they may look for ways to get rid of the child, said Charlotte Wamu, a counselor at Solidarity Action for Distressed Children, which assists street children.
In Africa, kicking out a relative, even a distant one, is considered shameful, but allegations of witchcraft provide a hard-to-disprove justification.
My exorcisms get results, says voodoo priest of north London
By Tariq Tahir
The nondescript red-brick block in north London barely warrants a second glance, but inside one of the flats is concealed a bizarre world barely comprehensible to most people. This is the home of Malcolm Poussaint, a self-styled "voodoo priest" who performs harrowing exorcism rituals on children as young as six whom their parents believe are possessed by demons.
Mr Poussaint sees nothing wrong with what he does. It is, he insists, work that has to be carried out. "If the child is not exorcised then it will grow up to be horrible. I get results," said the 75-year-old, who is originally from Benin in West Africa.
He is one of scores of exorcists, mystics and psychics offering their services to London's large African community.
The world they inhabit has been thrown open by the recent conviction of Sita Kisanga and her brother, Sebastian Pinto, immigrants from Angola, for the horrific abuse of an eight-year-old orphaned girl they believed to be a witch. The girl's aunt was also convicted for her role in the abuse. The child was cut with a knife, beaten with a belt and shoe, and had chilli rubbed in her eyes in an ordeal that lasted several weeks. A disturbing Scotland Yard report also revealed fears that young boys were being brought into Britain from Africa for ritual sacrifice.
Speaking at his flat in the Harlesden area of north-west London, Mr Poussaint insists that exorcism is necessary for children possessed by evil spirits. The girl's tormentors went about their work in the wrong way, but "she was possessed by demons", he said. Dressed in the white robes he wears during the exorcism, he described to The Sunday Telegraph the ritual the children are subjected to in order to cleanse them of "evil spirits".
He does not advertise but is a well-known figure in the local African community, so recommendations come through word of mouth. After payment of £70, an initial "consultation" is held with the parents to determine how the child is possessed. Then the child is brought to his flat for the ritual. Mr Poussaint says that if the child is agitated he tells the parents to give it a bath in an effort to make it relaxed.
He is adamant that the children he sees "are possessed" and "look like lost souls". Midday is the best time for exorcisms, he explains, as it is when the spirits are liveliest. When the child is ready, it is brought into the living room by its parents where Mr Poussaint is waiting, beating a small drum. The room will have been blacked out and on the table a dozen different candles are lit. Dried beans, beads and a bottle with water in it are laid out symbolically for the coming exorcism.
Oil is dabbed on the child's head and Mr Poussaint says he and the parents hold the youngster as they go into a trance, all the time chanting "prayers" for the demons to leave. "Sometimes the child is shaking because there's a bad spirit in the child. The child sometimes cries and I hold onto the child so the child is not able to move. I will get the mother to hold onto the child so I can send the vibrations across to the child. "The spirit that is calling to remove that spirit is a good spirit. After the child is relaxed and soothed."
Mr Poussaint says his last exorcism was on a six-year-old boy. "He was having problems and the mother was in a mess herself. She tried to get help but nobody was able to help her. The child was running around, screaming, making noise, acting abnormally, hitting things, hitting people, jumping on the sofa. The spirits were provoking that child. After we did the exorcism he was calm."
Mr Poussaint denies his exorcisms will do any long-term damage to the children. On the contrary, by making the evil spirits leave them, the children will not drift into crime, drugs or violence. When asked if he ever inflicts violence on children, Mr Poussaint gives an emphatic "No" in response. His customers are only ever satisfied, he claims. "I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm helping people. There have never been any problems. Once the children get older they are OK. Parents never come back to see me."
Mr Poussaint says there is considerable demand among adults for the services he performs and knows of another 10 so-called "voodoo priests" who are called on to exorcise evil spirits. Among others, people in trouble with the law, seeking promotion at work or wanting to fix broken relationships all seek his help."
He describes how adults attend mass exorcism sessions in rented halls. Those attending stay overnight and many are given what he claims are cleansing baths to rid them of evil spirits. Many become hysterical while others are overwhelmed and faint.
"When I first started going I was frightened myself. These people are acting abnormally because they are possessed by spirits and I help them."
His beliefs and others, such as "kendoki", the belief in witchcraft, are a misunderstood aspect of African culture, Mr Poussaint insists. "British people don't understand it. There has been a lot of animosity towards black people."
Killings strike fear into Indian witch doctors
By Biswajyoti Das
37 minutes ago
With a traditional woven cloth covering her hair, elaborate jewelry and a red mark on her forehead signifying her married status, Dimbeswari Bhattarai looks like any other woman in this corner of isolated northeast India.
But Bhattarai, 62, is far from ordinary.
She claims to possess special powers which enable her to cure diseases, predict the future and drive away evil spirits. Bhattarai is a witch doctor, or ojha, as the tribal people of Assam state call them.
Ojhas are figures of awe, fear, and suspicion among the illiterate village people living in remote areas of the state.
But now the tables have turned and it is Bhattarai who is living in fear in her village of Uttarkuchi after more than a dozen killings of ojhas in Assam over the past few months.
Police say that around 300 people have been killed in the state in the past five years for allegedly practicing witchcraft. The killers are believed to be dissatisfied customers who believed the ojhas' potions or spells did not work.
"These days, after the recent killings, I am scared. But I have decided to continue practicing even if it means death," she told Reuters in her village mud house built on the edge of a forest, 80 km (50 miles) north of the state capital, Dispur.
Her neighbors say they don't believe in her powers. They recall an incident in which residents of two nearby villages came to blows after she made a wrong prediction.
"We have lots of such ojhas here. But their claims are very hard to believe. A handful of us know they are fooling people and sooner or later they have to face the music," said Nakul Chandra Boro, a local schoolteacher.
Many villagers turn to ojhas to cure diseases such as malaria, jaundice and pneumonia which are widespread in the far-flung hilly areas along the India-Bhutan border.
Home to half a dozen insurgent groups, some fighting for an independent homeland and others for more political autonomy and tribal rights, Assam has largely failed to attract much investment or boost the standard of living of its people.
Uttarkuchi is a short drive from the frontier with Bhutan. There is no electricity, safe drinking water or health care facilities for its 2,500 residents.
Anyone seriously ill has to be taken by handcart or bicycle along a rough road which passes through thick bamboo groves and forest to the nearest hospital about 10 km (six miles) away.
As urban India hurtles headlong toward a 21st century way of life, the daily rhythms of many of the Bodo and Santhal tribes who live in the remote province are guided by ancient superstitions and a belief in evil spirits.
Sociologists say that many of the ojhas are con artists, making money out of gullible and vulnerable people.
"Illiteracy and lack of proper health care facilities are behind the powers of the ojhas in tribal-dominated areas," said Bhupen Sarma of the Omeo Kumar Das Institute of Social Changes and Development in Guwahati, Assam's main city.
Nripen Patgiri, a 45-year-old shop owner who claims to have ojha powers, says he learned magic spells from a book a few years ago. Yet the workers at his shop insist he is illiterate.
Bhattarai said she obtained her powers 32 years ago when a middle-aged man dressed in white appeared to her in a dream and passed on the names of disease-curing herbs.
"He still visits me in my dreams," she said, as villagers listened.
Problems arise when ojhas' predictions fail to come true, when villagers blame them for casting evil spells, when crops fail, or epidemics sweep through remote hamlets.
"Our medicines and predictions do not work at times when the planetary positions are not favorable," said 57-year-old Mahim Madahi, his breath reeking of local rice beer.
Sometimes when passions run especially high, villagers set up kangaroo courts and sentence ojhas to death, police say. Police rarely file charges because there are seldom any witnesses.
"Not a single person has been convicted of witch killing in a court in the last five years due to lack of evidence," said Kuladhar Saikia, a senior police officer, who is trying to educate the tribes and rid villages of a belief in black magic.
Police said that some alleged ojha killings were nothing more than murders carried out by people with their eyes on land owned by the victims.
In an effort to stop the murders of witch doctors, officials are now considering fining villages where killings take place.
"We need to take a long-term approach to stop this menace," said Anwaruddin Choudhury, deputy commissioner of Baska, a district which has seen a large number of deaths. "But the key lies in education to put an end to such practices."
The Witch of Pungo is no longer a witch. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine on Monday gave an informal pardon to Grace Sherwood, who 300 years ago became Virginia's only person convicted as a witch tried by water."I am pleased to officially restore the good name of Grace Sherwood," Kaine wrote in a letter Virginia Beach Mayor Meyera Oberndorf read aloud before a re-enactment of Sherwood's being dropped into the river."With 300 years of hindsight, we all certainly can agree that trial by water is an injustice," Kaine wrote. "We also can celebrate the fact that a woman's equality is constitutionally protected today, and women have the freedom to pursue their hopes and dreams." Sherwood, a midwife who at times wore men's clothes, lived in what today is the rural Pungo neighborhood, and she later became known as "The Witch of Pungo."Her neighbors thought she was a witch who ruined crops, killed livestock and conjured storms, and she went to court a dozen times, either to fight witchcraft charges or to sue her accusers for slander.She was 46 when she was accused in her final case of using her powers to cause a neighbor to miscarry.
On July 10, 1706, Sherwood was dropped into the Lynnhaven River and floated _ which was considered proof she was guilty because the pure water cast out her evil spirit, according to the belief system of the time. The theory behind the ducking test was that if she sank, she was innocent, although she would also drown.Sherwood may have been jailed until 1714, when records show she paid back taxes and with the help of then-Gov. Alexander Spotswood she was able to reclaim her property. She then lived quietly until her death at 80.Belinda Nash, 59, has been researching Sherwood for years and asked for the governor to exonerate the woman. A group annually remembers Sherwood with a re-enactment in the river.