This cemetery in rural Mississippi, near Water Valley, is the final resting place for Elizabeth Powell, more commonly known as Elizabeth "Betsy" Bell. Between the years of 1817 and 1821, Elizabeth and her family were the subjects of a haunting in Adams, Tennessee that would forever be known as The Bell Witch. The entity focused its efforts on Elizabeth and her father, John Bell, and both were reportedly beaten and taunted by the unseen force. Its stated goal was to stop Elizabeth from marrying local boy, Joshua Gardner, and to take John Bell's life. In both cases, the entity never gave any reason for its motives. However, it accomplished its goals in December 1820, with the death of John Bell, and shortly thereafter in April 1821 when Elizabeth broke off her engagement. Though the Bell Witch would later appear to Elizabeth's brother, there is no official record of the entity ever bothering Elizabeth again.
Life After the Bell Witch
In 1824, Elizabeth would marry her former schoolteacher, Richard Powell and they would move from Adams, Tennessee to the nearby Cedar Hill area. Her life would continue to be plagued with tragedy. She would lose four of her eight children at a young age and another to the Battle of Franklin in the Civil War. Her husband would suffer a stroke in 1837 and she would spend the next eleven years caring for him before he ultimately died. By all accounts, Elizabeth never spoke with anyone outside the family about the incident with the Bell Witch and was still traumatized by it for the rest of her life.
Bad Memories Resurface
Those memories would be dug up in 1849 when the national publication, The Saturday Evening Post, would publish an account of the legend of the Bell Witch. The article attempted to place the blame of events on the shoulders of Elizabeth and she was forced to threaten legal action if the weekly magazine did not retract its allegations. The magazine recanted the story and apologized to her in a later edition.
Move to Mississippi
In 1874, Elizabeth would move here to Yalobusha County, Mississippi to be with her daughter, who could care for her mother and her failing health. It was said that Elizabeth had gained a lot of weight in her latter years and her health was in constant state of decline. On July 11, 1888, Elizabeth Powell would die in Yalobusha County at the age of 82.
Long Branch Cemetery
Buried alongside Elizabeth are her daughter and son-in-law. Betsy's former tombstone stood in place for years, but after it was the target of vandalism, it ultimately had to be replaced. The new tombstone features this inscription: "A love one have gone from circle, We shall meet her no more, She has gone to her home in Heaven and all her afflictions are over."
The Bell Witch in Mississippi
There are claims of strange paranormal activity at Long Branch Cemetery and the surrounding areas, even up into Water Valley. These claims include strange lights and voices and even an apparition that has appeared to local residents, which many believe to be the spirit of the Bell Witch. Some even believe that the entity never left Elizabeth Bell and tormented her for the rest of her life.