Haunted History – Ghosts of Gettysburg – S01E02

In July 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg would begin and before it was over three days later 51,000 men would be dead. It is considered to be the bloodiest battle the US has ever known. And with it many feel the very ground itself is charged with paranormal activity. That the soldiers of the wounded still patrol the area and still cause harm to the living.

Many visitors claim to hear voices and see apparitions. For example, one re-enactor felt as though he was shot in the gut when he played "Dixie" on his banjo. Two sisters swear they heard the song "Taps" being played even though no one was in the field. Others have heard the phrase "I’ll shoot you" and others have seen an apparition crouching in the attic in what some feel is a sniper den. There is even a report of man being dragged down the hill by Confederate soldiers.

So who could these spirits be and why aren’t they at rest?

The area of Gettysburg is made up of several locations each with a potentially sinister past. To start with there is the Homestead Orphanage. It was started as a way to help bring comfort to the 20,000 children who were made orphans after the "war". Things started off well, but then a headmistress by the name Rosa Carmichael took over. It’s claimed she was exceedingly cruel to the children, a woman who would lock them in the outhouse, chained them to the fence and locked them in the basement. It’s even claimed she brought on a teenage henchman named "Stick Boy" to help keep the children in line through fear.

There are claims that dolls left for the children will be moved and later found dismembered. There is another story that a tour guide was locked in the basement after saying she was going to lead the children upstairs and out of the basement. People also say toys will move on their own, balls roll up hill, they see dark figures in the area where the children used to play and a medium felt the presence of a very angry young boy.

What drove Rosa to act out in this way? We’ll never learn that since she simply disappeared after the orphanage was closed.

Another hotspot is the Jenny Wade House. Jenny is the only civilian casualty of the war. She was hit with a stray bullet, perhaps from a sniper. People claim to see dark figures roaming around the house. Visitors feel the presence of a woman and a medium is able to communicate with a entity who claims to be Jenny. Another guest takes a photograph of what she believes is a picture of a woman in period dress. Turns out it’s a mirror and not a picture at all.

The Farnsworth House was a base of operations during the was. The basement was used as a hospital to treat the injured. Treatment is a kind word for amputation. The sheer volume of people needing help meant the injured limb was simply removed. They didn’t have the time, tools or training to truly heal the wounded. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of amputations would have taken place in the basement. Limbs were simply tossed out the window as the doctor moved on.

Many people claim to hear screaming and cries of pain. There are reports of people getting touched and one tour guide says he saw the full torso of a man up in the attic. This is the same attic that is claimed to have been used as the sniper den and the fatal shot that killed Jenny Wade.

Since the surrounding area of Gettysburg is filled with Limestone rock, many believe this stores the energy of the lives that were lost on the blood soaked fields. And everyone would have died in a traumatic way, charging the air and soil with energy and emotion.

While there is no doubt the death and violence is beyond belief, are the claims real? Do the spirits of the soldiers still walk the fields? Are they capable of causing harm to those who don’t support their cause such as the man who played Dixie? Does the evidence support paranormal occurrences or do people feel the events so strongly that they see and feel events that really aren’t there? Is an old rusty door that won’t open the sign of an ill-tempered headmistress keeping children in the basement? Are chills at the sound of horrific tales signs of the paranormal?

Both Paranormal State and the Ghost Adventures team have investigated this area. They both feel the area is alive with paranormal activity even though their evidence is more wrapped in personal experiences rather than tangible proof. What’s going on out there? Are we sympathizing with our tortured past or do the spirits of soldiers want to make contact and tell their story?

Haunted History – Ghosts of Gettysburg

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