Mississippi Moment: Bell Witch Headstone

Living Local

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – One of the most famous hauntings in America happened just across the state line in Robertson County, Tennessee. The central character in those hauntings was a young girl, even though she lived a long life.

Her grave is in north Mississippi. Her married name was Elizabeth Powell, but her maiden name was Elizabeth Bell. Betsy Bell is what she’s most remembered as in the Bell Witch Hauntings. Movies and TV shows have been made about it.

The occurrences that happened to the Bell family and particularly Betsy back between 1817 and 1821 are yet to be fully explained. There were voices and physical abuse. Google Bell Witch and you’ll find out more than you want to know. 

But what I want to show you is a photograph of her original head stone. My information was that it was either destroyed by vandals or stolen by a souvenir hunter. But John Cox in Laurel, a Bell family relative, wrote me and said that wasn’t exactly true. He said the family took it after the Bell Witch Haunting started growing famous for fear someone would steal it.

Although she is buried in an obscure cemetery, I found it without too much trouble. Someone wanting to make trouble could fine it, too. But I’d hesitate taking an item from the grave of the person who had been the object of the most famous haunting in America for fear of what I might awaken that would start keeping me awake at night.

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