In October of 1804, John and Lucy Bell and their children moved from North Carolina to Red River, TN. A few years later, the Bell family heard pounding on the outside of their farmhouse. The noises soon moved inside. The pounding changed to scraping, sliding chairs, and blankets being pulled off of beds. Eventually, the entity developed a woman’s voice. She spoke, sang hymns, quoted scripture and stated her ultimate goal was to kill John Bell. She became known throughout Red River as the Bell Witch.
The youngest daughter, Betsy, got most of the witch’s abuse. Betsy’s hair was pulled, she was pinched, scratched, and beaten. The witch often left hand prints and welts. She also relentlessly taunted Betsy and her fiancé, Joshua Gardner, warning her not to marry him. Betsy eventually broke off the engagement to stop the witch’s harassment. John had begun to experience facial twitching and difficulty swallowing. This lasted for almost a year. On December 20, 1820, John Bell died. A vial of poison was found close by, and the witch proudly claimed responsibility. As promised, within months of killing John Bell, the witch left the Bell house, and the hauntings ceased.
The Bell Witch is the only case in US history where a supernatural entity was officially blamed for a person's death. Research shows that Betsy was probably abused by her father who blamed the witch and Betsy, in turn, poisoned her father and blamed the same witch. As he had established the story throughout the area, it was accepted.
The Witch's Kiss is comprised of multiple, contrasting short sections, each influenced by different stories in the Bell Witch saga.