|On Saturday 10/20/01, I made my first visit to Adams, TN. It was not like I expected. Except for a post office and a few clustered buildings between the "Entering Adams" and "Leaving Adams" signs, I would have never known there was a town. Located on US 41, ten miles northwest of Springfield, TN, a few farms, churches, and long abandoned business establishments were all that there was to see. I drove around and around on every road that appeared to passed through it, such as US 41, TN 76, and TN 256. A century ago, I would have expected to see a major plantation town, but now, all that seemed to be left was a decaying memory. Entered Adams from the east, I passed the Adams Museum - the old, red brick, junior high school building. Due to trash piled around its small entrance, I was a little leery about entering it.|
|What I saw on the outside of the building was duplicated many times over inside the building. Except in here, each item had a small white adhesive label with an inventory number and price printing on it. Not seeing anyone, I roamed through three or four rooms with mountains of old and dusty collectibles. Eventually, I made my way to the Museum section of the building. In a space about the size of your average 12x 16 foot residential living room, there were a couple of display cases in the center and a dozen exhibits next to and attached to the walls. About half the items pertained to the Bell family and the haunting that made them famous. Old photographs and documents pertaining to the Bell property were interesting and provided more information that I was later able to gather while searching the Internet. The museum also had for sale a collection of the books written about the Bell Witch. I think there were about five on display. I purchased the most recent by Pat Fitzhugh.|
|Behind the museum about a half-dozen outdoor exhibits of antique tractors and farm equipment on several acres, marks the site of the annual Tennessee-Kentucky Threshermen's Show. Almost adjacent to the museum is a log cabin. Built between 1810 and 1820, it once was on the land inherited by Joel Bell after the deaths of his parents.|
About 1/2-mile north of the Adams Museum, on Keysburg Road, was the cave claimed still to be inhabited by the Bell Witch. Its entrance was seventy-five feet up in limestone cliff that bordered on the Red River. Once owned by Bims Eden and later purchased in 1993 by the present owners Walter and Chris Kirby, it is on the opposite side of the river from the original Bell plantation. Only 160 acres still remains in the Bell family, who during the last hundred years were forced to sell most of the original thousand acres.Eden purchased the cave in 1964, ran the lighting systems, and conducted the first cave tours. He died in 1980 and the property stood vacant until the Kirby's purchase.
For a small fee of five dollars, a member of the Kirby family or staff will give you an escorted tour through Kate's final haunt. Besides conducting cave tours, the Kirbies have "haunted hayrides" and psychic readings on their property of some very lovely rolling Tennessee hills. Their home (shown in the background of the picture) is directly above the second room of the cave.
Geologist have estimated that the cave extends for fifteen miles with very little of it ever being explored. In our tour we got to see at best a thousand feet of it: the entrance, about a hundred feet of passage, room number one, about two hundred and fifty more feet of passage, and room number two. At that point the cave narrows down to a small three foot opening above the small stream that flows through the cave and 75 feet down the side of a cliff into the Red River.
|For a small fee of five dollars, a member of the Kirby family or staff will give you an escorted tour through Kate's final haunt. Besides conducting cave tours, the Kirbies have "haunted hayrides" and psychic readings on their property of some very lovely rolling Tennessee hills. Their home (shown in the background of the picture) is directly above the second room of the cave.|
Ancient Indian burial grounds were report to be above the cave. Bims even found a 300-year old Indian skeleton buried in the cave. Many of the psychics that visited the cave claimed these graves were the source of the energy that created a paranormal vortex at this location. The Bells once used the cave for cold storage. Kate, the more familiar name of the witch, had been seen in it on numerous occasions.
|The entrance was a hole about ten-foot tall and five-foot wide. A small stream ran out the bottom. The passageway, which was lit by a small string of lights, narrowed down to less than six-feet high and three-feet across.|
|Walking on loose rock for about one hundred and twenty-five feet, we moved into the first room. It was about a hundred-feet wide on each side and the ceiling was about twenty feet above us. Chris showed us the now empty tomb of the Indian. Vandals stole it many years ago.|
There was another narrow passageway leading about two-hundred and fifty feet farther back to a second room. As we walked we could tell this cave hadn't seen a lot of recent traffic. There was a small bat hanging a rock at shoulder level next to our path. We carefully avoided disturbing it as we walked within inches of its perch.
|The second room had been the source of all the unusual phenomenon. The Bims used to let people attempt to spend the night in it. Chris claimed, that in twenty-eight years, nobody ever stayed through the night. She described an incident were a TV camera crew swore they could make it. Confidently, they set up all their equipment and settled down for what they were sure would be a cake walk. However, they left in a rush shortly after mid-night. They said a screaming woman drove them out.|
Chris said that she has experienced many strange occurrences in the cave, such as a screaming woman, orbs, corpuscular mists, and unusually cold spots. She couldn't explain what they were and made no attempt to suggest anything supernatural. But, she said that she would never enter it alone. On her walk with us, she had her black Labrador retriever with her.
Pat Fitzhugh in his book, The Bell Witch: The Full Account reports of dozens of strange and unexplainable (his claim, not mine) occurrences in the cave, witnessed both by its past owners and by visitors. Walking in that dark, damp hole, with noises being channel through fifteen miles of tunnel like a wave guide while anticipating ghostly apparitions, I could easily understand how a susceptible person might imagine about anything.