The Bell Witch was always a favorite legend growing up here in Tennessee. (Adams, TN, where all the fun took place, is about 70 miles from my childhood home.) Elementary school teachers tended to assign her as a report topic, and naturally Kate (the name the witch allegedly claimed) came up at camp fires and such. However, until happening across the Bloody Mary node (trying to figure out what I was drinking Thursday night) and reading a similar urban legend, I'd completely forgotten about our version, endlessly repeated on playgrounds. With some small variation, the instructions for summoning the Bell Witch went like this:

1. Go into a room with no windows and a mirror. (usually a bathroom)
2. Turn out the lights. (or fail to turn them on, as appropriate)
3. Whirl in a circle three times, repeating, "Bell Witch" each time.
4. Turn on the lights... check out the three new scratches that would supposedly appear on your face.
5. Think up a good story to tell your parents about the origins of the scratches.

While I knew several girls who claimed this worked (usually, incidentally, cat owners), it certainly never did so for me! (Admittedly, not being a big fan of getting scratched, I never tried much.) In playground popular opinion, this was due to faulty instructions and/or some failure to follow them properly.

Also vaguely related to the Bell Witch - near the former Bell family farm, there's a Bell Witch Cave. Some people claim the poltergeist went to it when she left the Bells. A few eerie incidents are still reported from time to time... but whether or not it's really haunted, it's open to tourists. Directions for getting there can be found at