The Bell Witch: An American Haunting

Genre: Paranormal fiction
Secondary genre: historical
Format: audio
CW: child molestation, cruelty to animals, racism, victim blaming, pedophilia
Rating: planchet-3

A word of warning about this book: While inspired by historical events, this is a novel. However, not everyone seems to realize this. My library listed it as nonfiction in Overdrive, it’s listed as both fiction and nonfiction on Goodreads, and the introduction makes it sound like nonfiction. I finally visited the author’s website for confirmation that yes, it is indeed a novel.

Needless to say, my expectations when I started reading were quite different from what I actually got. If I’d been expecting fiction, I might have rated this as 4 stars, but I doubt it, just because of that long list of content warnings. There were a few points where I wanted to throw my phone across the room due to the content.

If you aren’t familiar with the Bell Witch, take a moment to go look up the Wiki. I’ll wait.

The  novel is from an outsider’s perspective, that of a man come to investigate the haunting. Honestly, if I were going to write the book, I would have made it from Betsy’s POV, but the detached outsider looking in is a hallmark of the era; so many books were written this way that it adds to the feel that this is an actual account of the mysterious events.

While it was well written and the author did a good job of making it feel like a historical account, I can’t say this is high on my recommendations list. Why does it always come down to pedophilia?