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Bell Witch Museum curator/guide dies in home fire

Nina Seeley, 82, was overcome by smoke and perished when her two-story 19th century home burned up on Friday in Adams, Tennesee. Nina ran the Bell Witch Museum for many years, dedicated to telling the story of "Kate," America's nuttiest poltergeist.

The fire may have started in an electric heater, and authorities are investigating.

Nina also managed an antique shop, and was a founding member of the Bell Witch Opry. The museum, which opened in an old school building in 1996, was funded by a grant from the town. Adams also holds an annual Katefest.

From our database notes: The Bell Witch Legend started in 1817, when a rabbit-headed dog appeared on the Bell family property. Later, an invisible force made noises throughout their house, slapped children, sang hymns, and roamed the county, calling itself "Kate." Andrew Jackson reportedly met the ghost.

Kate, an ectoplasmic prankster, persuaded the Bell family to search for things -- secret treasure, or her missing tooth. She even brought a spirit family home -- Blackdog, Mathematics, Cypocryphy and Jerusalem -- by all accounts a bunch of deranged, drunken ghost asses.

When not scaring the bejesus out of folks, Kate predicted the Civil War, World War I and II, and the total destruction of civilization by rapidly increasing heat, followed by an explosion.

[02/02/2003]
Address:
430 Keysburg Rd, Adams, TN
Directions:
Northeast of town. From US-41 turn north (no stoplight) at the Bell Witch Cave sign onto Keysburg Rd. Drive a half-mile, then turn right at the Bell Witch Cave sign.
Hours:
June-Aug W-Su 10-5; May, Sep Sa-Su 10-5 (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Phone:
615-696-3055
Admission:
Adults $19.
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