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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Historical Accuracy and the Bell Witch

I really want to bring you some of the accounts I am coming across as they are written. I mean, it's one thing to tell you the story, but direct quotes are always stronger.

The problem is that these events occurred back in the early 20th-Century. Things were a lot different back then. And I don't say that to insult anyone's intelligence; I say that to make the point: things were very different back then. Nowadays, the way people talked, the way certain people were treated, the very issues-at-hand, are far from politically correct.

Now, this goes every which way. I mean, it isn't just about white people using "The N-Word." In fact, the very quotes I wanted to bring you are from black people using "The N-Word." But that isn't the extent of it; there is a lot of disparaging talk about Native Americans because these events occurred not long after Red River was settled. Red River has a long and violent history of Indian attacks, which are key to Tennessee's history, and to leave that portion of the story out is detrimental all the way around.

Even more, there are some religious issues as to denomination: John Bell was "excommunicated," or banished, from the local Baptist Church (even though many of the congregation - including the pastors - continued to associate with both him and the family) and began attending the local Methodist chapel. While the specific language involved isn't necessarily derogatory to either denomination, Southern Baptists are... well, it's hard for me to even discuss them without my blood rising. If you are a Southern Baptist who gets drunk and beats his children, you "have problems"; if you are of any other denomination and act the same way, you are "possessed by The Devil." But it isn't just that I worry that my personal issues and experiences with such people will tarnish my coverage, it is also that I would be forced to dredge-up a lot of religious history and personal experiences in order to put things in perspective.

So, I put it to you: how would you prefer I handle these things?

We rarely get comments here - in fact, we don't even get that many visitors, in general - so I don't want to offend anyone. On the other hand, I also don't wish to whitewash this historical event or bow down to self-appointed PC "peace officers."

The story of the Bell Witch really is one of the best-supported cases of an entity infestation in American history. And since I am mere hours from the site where it happened and have access to a host of important information concerning the events, people, places, and history surrounding it, I feel it incumbent upon myself to bring you what I can. But I want to do so the right way: not "tone it down" or modernize it - nor do I wish to sensationalize it.

Of course, I am truly not looking to offend anyone. So I'm a little confused as to where I should go from here.

1 comment:

  1. It is what it is... Tell it that way. If you sugar coat it, why tell it. :)