Wear garlic around your neck. Carry a wooden stake. Hang a crucifix on the wall, and never, ever, open the door for Dracula.
The superstitions that were meant to protect our ancestors from vampires taught them the most important lesson of all: never invite a monster inside. Yet with the birth of Spiritualism in the 19th century came a rise in the belief that the dead harbor secret knowledge from the living, and inviting a monstrous spirit into your home became easier than ever.
The Ouija board, printed with letters and numbers, has entranced generations as a gateway between this world and the next. Groups gather around the board, hands touching the planchette, and hope to make contact with lost loved ones or benevolent guides with insight that only comes from beyond the grave.
But when you open the door into the darkness, you can’t control what may come slinking through. Murder, madness, and possession have haunted Ouija board users since its inception, but where does this evil really come from?
The spirit world? Or our own minds?
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Early 19th-century America was a time for the pioneer, the robust adventurer who leaves the familiarity of home in search of fortune and success. One such man was John Bell, a farmer who settled in Adams, Tennessee with his family and slaves. Their idyllic country life was soon disturbed after the youngest Bell child, Elizabeth, drew the attention of a sinister spirit. Strange creatures stalked the property as the sounds of clawing, choking, and banging haunted the Bell household, whose inhabitants demanded answers from the spirit who tormented them - “Who are you? What do you want?” Answers whispered from the walls around them as the spirit claimed to be a tormented soul, the resident of a disturbed grave, an immigrant, and finally -- a Witch.
John Bell died gasping in the night, the disembodied voice of the Bell Witch cackling as it told his horrified family that he had been poisoned by the spirit. As the centuries passed, the legend of the Bell family haunting has become twisted with age, leaving modern listeners with these final questions: Who killed John Bell? Was it a Witch?
Or someone much closer to home?
An Authenticated History of the Bell Witch by M.V. Ingram
The Bell Witch: An American Haunting by Brent Monahan
“Who are you? What do you want?”
“Women who lived on the margins of society, especially older women, had always lived with the possibility of being cast in the role of the witch”
“Whoever this was, whatever this was, it wanted John Bell dead”
“It is killing me by slow tortures and I fear the end is nigh”
“Like any good mystery, the killer may be the person you would least suspect”
“We know that there was a voice whispering in the dark, but the question remains - whose voice?”
Everyone knows the story of Little Red Riding Hood. The young child in her bright red cloak who gets lost in the forest, only to be preyed upon and devoured by the big bad wolf. Red Riding Hood is freed from her fate by a passing Huntsman, who slaughters the In the time when fairy tales served more to caution than to entertain, Little Red Riding Hood was a warning to always follow the marked path, listen to your elders, and never talk to strangers.
The sad, strange story of Elisa Lam mirrors the familiar fairy tale -- except in this version, the lost little girl has no Huntsman to come to her rescue and perishes in the belly of the beast of Los Angeles. But who, exactly, is the beast? Is it the ill-fated hotel? A murderous stranger?