Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hauntings in Gettysburg

More tales of hauntings in Gettysburg exist than can be told in one blog post. The site of the nation's bloodiest battle, this little town is supposedly one of the most haunted places in America. No wonder. According to some, thousands of bodies were never recovered.

This Haunted History episode claims many spirits intend harm to visitors, something I hadn't heard before (and am not convinced is true).

Not all the spirits in Gettysburg are from the Civil War, though. On our ghost walk last weekend, the guide told several such stories. Inside a bell tower on the campus of Gettysburg College, some have supposedly seen a young woman beckoning to them. The tour guide said after hearing the story that two young lovers had made a suicide pact, but only the girl leapt to her death, someone researched it and found two young women had committed suicide in Gettysburg in the late 1800s. No one's ever confirmed that either happened at that spot, but the men she appears to (yes, only men) might argue otherwise.

Unfortunately, my camera doesn't like to take night shots. The few times I tried to take pictures during the tour, it simply refused to focus (not the result of paranormal activity, just a stubborn camera).

I did get a few during the day though. I love the funky architecture there.

I'm pretty sure Zoltar is a rarity - surprisingly, this one's outside.

If you ever go, I highly recommend this little bistro.

You might want to get a vintage photo taken. Without the nameplate, I doubt I'd recognize some of these guys

On the ghost tour, we learned that a home close to campus is haunted by a former maid. Two college girls moved in one day, went out before unpacking and when they returned, their things had been arranged. When they complained to the landlady who lived downstairs, she said she'd never intrude unless it was an emergency. A few weeks later, the distinct sound of someone falling down the steps alarmed the landlady, but when she checked the hallway, her tenants, who'd heard the same noise, looked down the stairs at her. Not until the landlady renovated her back porch did they discover the name Joanna carved in a stone block. The tenants researched it and learned that Joanna Craig had been a maid in the house, but died - you guessed it - after a fall down the staircase.

The video above touches on the sad history of the Gettysburg Orphanage, opened after the Civil War to care for the many, many children who lost parents in the war. The woman who ran the orphanage at its opening loved the children, but the second woman to run the orphanage inspired only terror in the kids - she tortured them by locking them away, starving them, or having an older child beat them. One little boy who ran away found shelter with two girls in the third floor of a Gettysburg College dorm house. The house mother was strict, and suspected the girls of doing something, but she wasn't quite sure what. One winter's night, the girls hid the runaway on the ledge outside their bedroom window during the house mother's night rounds. Something about their behavior raised the suspicion of the house mother, who took the girls downstairs to question them - for two hours. When they returned to their room, they couldn't find the boy, nor any telltale signs in the snow that he'd fallen. Many years later, girls who occupied that room saw the blue face of a little boy in the window. One girl reported he'd scratched something across the pane. It didn't make sense until she realized the lettering was backward and spelled HELP ME. *shudders*

If you do take the time to watch the video, a few people talk about the Farnsworth House (about 32 minutes in). You might remember the photo below I'd taken of the top window in the inn. I still see the face of a man in a floppy hat. Ghost hunters have seen him up close when they go inside the room (which we weren't able to do - that must be the more expensive tour, lol). I was surprised to learn that a soldier's shot from this window might have been the one to kill Jennie Wade, the only civilian killed in this battle - which is amazing, considering a good part of the fighting went on in the middle of town.

I've looked over and over the photos I took on the battlegrounds, but I don't see anything resembling a spirit. If you do a search on YouTube, you'll find plenty of videos of ghost sightings that may or may not be real, but I guess it depends on your feelings toward ghosts in general. I've never seen one but I am sure they're there. Maybe someday they'll appear to me other than the one in the window, above.

At the time this plaque was erected at the National Cemetery, I'm sure they didn't have a clue just how long the bivouac would continue!

Have you ever captured a ghost on film? Or otherwise electronically? Or just seen one hanging around?


Maria Zannini said...

Now why is it I never run into a ghost maid? :)

I've never taken a picture of a ghost, but I was perusing some old photos of hubby as a baby and came across a picture of Greg in a high chair with his father kneeling next to him on the right. I noticed there was a strange orb just above and to the left of Greg.

I thought at first it was a flash, but this was different. The more I looked at it, the more I could make out a faint blur beneath the orb. A body, perhaps? I don't know.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sad story about the little boy trapped on the ledge. I wonder what did become of him?

Cate Masters said...

If you have to have a ghost, Maria, a maid is probably the best sort!

Interesting - I wonder if you could enhance the resolution to see better? Or maybe it's best not to know...

That was a sad story, Alex. And a mystery, since there was no evidence of his death other than his ghost.

Donna Hole said...

Sad and chilling stories Cate. Thanks for sharing them.


~Sia McKye~ said...

interesting tales, Cate. And I still can't see anything in that window.

Sia McKye Over Coffee

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Gettysburg has a lot of spooky places. My son went to college there and we had lots of chances to enjoy the spookiness.

Cate Masters said...

Thanks for reading them, Donna :)

I still can only see one clearly, Sia. Others have claimed to see five.

You're such a tease, Susan. You're not going to share any spooky tales? lol

Yolanda Renee said...

Great post for Halloween. I have got to go on a ghost tour - not! LOL

Don't like being haunted!

Trick or Treat and Happy Halloween!

Cate Masters said...

Happy Halloween, Yolanda! I've never run into a ghost on a ghost tour - that I knew about, lol