The uniquely American story of the Bell Witch haunting, in which a ghost took up residence in the home of a Kentucky farming family in 1817, began when John Bell, the head of the family, was out walking through his cornfield. He sighted a strange, dog-like creature in the distance that suddenly disappeared. Around the same time, Bell’s son and daughter were walking through an orchard when they noticed an old woman walking beside them. When the daughter spoke to the old woman, the old woman simply disappeared.
These sightings were followed by strange, inexplicable noises in and around the Bell house, such as knocking sounds on doors and windows, wings flapping against the roof and animals fighting and scratching. As the noises became more intense, the family tried desperately to find the source but found nothing. Then bed coverings began slipping off the beds as if being pulled by someone. Sometimes one could hear noises like lips smacking and gulping. The Bell household became a noisy nightmare.
Medium and UFO observer Shawn Robbins adds to the knowledge of the “Bell Witch” poltergeist by traveling back to the time of the event under the direction of the original “ghost hunter,” Hans Holzer.
“The Bell Witch Project” also offers the perspective of present day psychic Shawn Robbins, a protégé of the late ghost hunter, Hans Holzer. Hans often relied on Shawn’s psychic abilities in order to facilitate contact with spirits from the other side since he possessed few such powers himself. In the book’s opening chapter, Shawn talks about the day Hans invited her over to try to establish a “remote-viewing” link to the Bell Witch house. After Hans put Shawn into a hypnotically-induced, trancelike state, she revealed aspects of the story previously unknown.
“I immediately encountered the ethereal spirit, Kate Batts,” Shawn writes, “who had a distraught and distressed look on her face. She quickly pointed to her belly and said, ‘It is not my child.’
“‘Who then?’ I asked. ‘The slave Wilbur,’ she replied. I asked Kate why this was important. She answered, ‘I was raped.’ At that very moment I knew this was the information that Hans sought and had eluded so many others. In further conversations with the Bell Witch, Kate revealed to me she carried the child for seven months and gave birth to it prematurely. The male child died a few hours later. When her husband saw the baby was not his, he immediately went into shock and accused Kate of having an affair.”
The relationship between Kate Batts and her husband Frederick was never the same afterward. Frederick never forgave what he took to be her adulterous union with a slave, and Kate never forgave herself for never telling Frederick she was raped.
When Shawn awakened from her trance, Hans wrote down everything she said and later used the material on the Bell Witch in one of his many books. The idea that Kate Batts was raped by a slave adds credibility to the notion of her anger and desire for vengeance and its expression from beyond the grave.