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John F D Taff's The Bell Witch hit Amazon last week, giving us yet another summer release from Books of the Dead Press, and taking us a step closer to the release of my very own Discoredia.
The story of The Bell Witch of Tennessee may be familiar to some of you. It's been covered in books before, and also been the subject of movies, including An American Haunting starring Donald Sutherland; http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0429573/ but Taff's book isn't just a re-tread of the same story. Rather, this is an exercise in historical fiction, taking the "true" story as the basis for a fictional account where artistic licence allows Taff's storytelling to come to the fore.
What really happened to the Bell family will never be known, but this particular take on the legend both entertains and informs presenting the Bell Witch poltergeist as a character in her own right that can be both cruel and kind, amusing and spiteful. It's an intriguing mix that makes the work well worth a read.
Amazon Product Description
The Bell Witch by John F.D. Taff is an historical horror novel/ghost story based on what is perhaps the most well-documented poltergeist case to occur in the United States. It tells the story of the Bells, an early 19th-century Tennessee farm family who begin to notice strange occurrences—odd noises, bangings, gurglings. Eventually, an entity reveals itself to the family, calling itself, simply, the Witch, and makes it clear from the outset that it was sent to kill the patriarch of the family, John Bell, for a reason it never makes quite clear.
The Witch’s antics, while not exactly endearing it to the Bells, make the spirit somewhat of a novelty. Word of its existence spreads, first through the Bell’s slaves, then through the rest of the community. It tells jokes, makes predictions, offers unwanted advice and even sings. It shows an intimate knowledge of The Bible and of history and politics.
It harasses those who annoy it most, saving its ire for John Bell and his teenage daughter, Betsy. These two people become the focus of the apparition’s attacks, both verbal and physical. Ultimately, the Witch fulfills its promise of killing John Bell, while also forcing Betsy and her mother, Lucy, into considering their own roles in what created the spirit.
“An outstanding read by one of my favorite horror writers of all time.”
~ Rhiannon Elizabeth Irons, TrulyDisturbing.com
“A compelling ghost story like no other, which will haunt you long after the last page.”
~ John Milton, Horror Reviewer at AndyErupts.com
“A classic ghost story full of creepy sounds, scary nights, and top-notch dialogue. Fans of great ghost stories now have cause for celebration.”
~ Gabino Iglesias, HorrorTalk.com
“If you enjoy scares and surprises, skillfully wrought human drama, and dark secrets, you must read The Bell Witch.”
~ Award-Winning Author, Erik T. Johnson.
“An American Haunting meets Casper. Kept me entertained the whole time!”
~ Ann Hale, Pop-Break.com
“I enjoyed it quite a bit. The Bell Witch will haunt you long after you finish this well-crafted, all-American ghost story.”
~ Rob Errera, Author of Hangman’s Jam