Friday, October 26, 2012

Book Review - An American Haunting by Brent Monahan

I'd heard of the Bell Witch before reading this novel but didn't know anything about the story. This fictional tale based on historical events is written from the perspective of the local teacher, Richard Powell, who taught the Bell children, including Betsy, who receives the brunt of the torments. The witch has commonly been linked to a curse from the Bell's neighbor, Kate Batts, (I kept picturing Kathy Bates as this character while reading, but Gaye Brown is the actress who plays her in the 2005 movie version.) who was in a land dispute with the patriarch of the Bell family. Although John Bell was excommunicated from the local Red River Baptist Church after being charged with usury, he and his family seem to have been randomly and undeservedly picked for ethereal torment. The spirit's dialogue and antics are humorous at times, but the true horror in this tale is revealed near the end. You will be both saddened and "mesmerized" by the revelation. (In the movie version of this story, there is a modern day opening and ending scene that relates to the 19th century story. It reinforces the fact that evil is often both familiar and right underneath our noses, a fact that should never be ignored.)
(I like to read spooky books in October. My next review will be on Possessed: The True Story of an Exorcism by Thomas B. Allen. This is the story that The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty was based on. I'm reading it at night...with the lights on.)


  1. This all took place about 3 1/2 hours from where I live. :)

  2. Oh...that's right! I remember thinking about that while I read the story. Have you ever been to the sight and the cave?