Press Release in the Portland Leader, TN by Julie Durbin
One-Woman Show performed by Professional Storyteller Debbie
Dunn: BELL WITCH UNVEILED
The Elmer Hinton Memorial Library and the Nashville Community Foundation will sponsor a storytelling
performance by professional storyteller Debbie Dunn. She will perform a One-Woman Theater Piece entitled The Bell Witch Unveiled
At Last! The True Story Of A Poltergeist. The performance is scheduled for Thursday, May 15 from 7:00 PM until 8:30 PM. The
evening includes a 45-minute storytelling performance followed by a question and answer session. All middle school and high
school age, college age, and adult audiences are welcome to the free performance at the Elmer Hinton Memorial Library (no
young children, please).
This carefully researched and investigated piece (told from Cate Batts' perspective) is for more mature audiences and reveals
the true Bell Witch of Adams, Tennessee (1817-1821). To discover the true roots of this saga, the professional storyteller
had to research the early years of Isle of Wight, VA, Rocky Mount, NC, and places in-between. This performance attempts to
clear the name of Cate Williams Batts, a woman, according to Dunn, wrongly accused.
The story of the Bell Witch is probably one of the most widely documented ghost stories of all time. To put it briefly, a
strange spirit haunted the family of Lucy and John Bell. After three years of this poltergeist-type activity, John Bell mysteriously
died. The spirit or witch (as they called it) claimed the credit for killing John Bell. Then it continued its tortuous activities
until Bell's teenage daughter, Betsy, agreed to break her engagement to Joshua Gardner. Only then did the poltergeist leave.
It returned to resume haunting for a two-week period in 1828 and promised to return in 107 years.
As this performance suggests, there was actual rhyme and reason to this haunting. John Bell allegedly murdered two men and
provoked a third into not being able to rest in peace. Strangely enough, it was not one of these men who was thought to be
the ghost. Instead, a woman still living at the time, Cate Batts (often spelled Kate), received the blame.
It was claimed that Cate Batts possessed many psychic abilities - including that of being a healer. She was said to have never
used her spiritual gifts for anything but good. So why did she get the finger of blame?
This first-person performance piece, told in the words of Cate Batts, will give an alternative viewpoint of what could have
truly taken place. The performance will theorize who the actual perpetrators were and why.
Professional storyteller, Debbie Dunn, invites everyone to delve into the world of the Bell Witch. It is possible that some
will never view life or death the same again.