If this is your first visit to my Ghosts of Gettysburg series, you might want to check out the first two parts before reading through this one. Part one is here – Ghosts of Gettysburg-Part One, and Part two is here – Ghosts of Gettysburg-Part Two.
The end of our trip to Gettysburg was rich with paranormal activity. We captured more and more images in photographs, heard more unexplained voices and sounds from our digital recordings, and sensed the presence of ‘others’ with greater intensity than in our first couple of days there.
In fact, our last evening there gave us the most vivid personal experience of the entire trip.
We’d arrived back at our hotel around 10:30pm and had hours of recordings to listen to. Understand, we didn’t choose just any hotel. No. We decided to stay at a hotel that sits squarely on the battlefield. Prior to this evening, we each felt as if something wasn’t quite right within the room but we all agreed not to ‘test’ the room until we were packed and ready to leave.
We are only so brave.
But this night forced a test of the room regardless. Now, if someone were to tell me what I’m about to tell you, I probably wouldn’t believe them. All I can say is that what I’m about explain did happen. We experienced it – audibly, physically and emotionally.
As we sat there listening and comparing ‘evidence’ from the day, I kept hearing sounds – like men yelling. Like hundreds of feet stomping. Like cars backfiring – or musket shot and cannon fire. I dismissed what I heard because we’d had a highly-charged day and because I have tinnitus and thought the sounds in my head, mixed with the white noise of the A/C, had sent my imagination soaring. Besides, there were three of us there, and I seemed to be the only person noticing these strange sounds.
I didn’t know my daughter and my friend were hearing the same thing but not reacting for the same basic reasons I did not react.
It wasn’t until exactly 1:17AM, when my friend was describing a sound she captured on audio, that I distinctly heard distant drumming. It could not be denied, so I said it aloud at the exact time my daughter said the same thing. Each of us, now relieved we were not alone with odd sounds in our heads, explained what we’d heard, were still hearing, and for how long. It seemed each of us heard what can only be described as a battle raging beyond our hotel door.
We sat silently for about twenty minutes, just listening, feeling intense grief, sadness and confusion. It was a powerful physical experience. A weight pressing in on us, making it hard to breathe, to think past the mayhem we ‘knew’ was going on yards away in space, more than a century away in time.
Stiltedly, we talked about peeking through the window. About opening the door to look outside. About taking a step closer to “that side of the room”, to prove what we were feeling was real, to capture some of it on film, on recorder.
We did none of that. We were too absorbed by the moment. Too overcome with a sense of dread. A sense that doing anything other than wait it out would propel us through some unseen barrier into a time and place from which we might never fully escape.
Melodramatic? Maybe. But it is that depth of concern and compassion, that sense of desperation and fear of the known and unknown, that we felt down to our bones.
Thing is, after those minutes sitting there as distant observers, suddenly everything went still. The ‘battle’ had ended and we were left feeling the emptiness of it all.
We had trouble sleeping that night and, in fact, had turned on the television for the first time since we’d checked into the room. Anything to shake the grip of the experience. I believe we finally went lights-out around 2:30-3:00 in the morning.
We would later learn that on the morning of July 1st – this was September 1st – at one in the morning – the same time we experienced this event – a battle raged on the part of the battlefield where our hotel now sat. We were also told that, in the past, other guests of the hotel had mentioned hearing drums at 1AM.
This validated our experience for us but also explained a small something – what we experienced had to be what’s called a “residual” haunting. A residual haunting occurs when an event – like a bloody and vicious battle – is so traumatic, so emotionally charged, that it leaves an impression on time so powerful, it cannot ‘escape’ but rather replays itself continuously.
You know what happens to your vision when you read a block of white text on a black background? You “see” those white words for several minutes afterward – no matter how much you try to blink them away. If you consider how miniscule the impression of white on black is compared to war and death, then you can imagine how the Battle of Gettysburg would leave a powerful imprint on time.
As if the residual battle experience were not enough to convince us more was going on than we could ever comprehend, we had another experience the next morning. In our room.
And we captured it on a video that I will post next time, in my conclusion of the Ghosts of Gettsyburg.
I know, I know. I said I’d share it this time but I truly believe it deserves its own post. (You can find Part Four Here)
Here are some more photos and recordings to hold you over until next time…
As a photographer’s wife and a person who’s been involved with photography for a good number of years, I’m not convinced this first picture shows anything more than poor handling – mine – of a camera during a long exposure. However, I’ve seen other photos and heard other explanations for this light trail that make paranormal activity seem plausible. I’ll let you decide:
In this next series of photos, you’ll see one that is bizarre, even to me. It was sunrise – 6:20AM to be exact – and we were in Reynold’s Woods. I decided to take a few shots, panning the area slightly before each so the final effect, if all three were laid out in a line, would be a panorama of the area. So – three shots. One after the other. Nothing changed except the section of woods where I pointed the camera. Each exposure is ¼ of a second and though not one is perfectly sharp, you’ll notice a stark, unexplainable difference between the first and last shot compared to the middle shot. They’re here in the order they were taken:
I’m still confused by orbs, but for those of you who “get” them, here are some more photos:
Soldiers National Cemetery:
Reynolds Woods –
now you see ‘em, now you don’t. Actually, it’s the opposite in these two photos – which were taken immediately after one another –
And now, since I did promise a video, I’ll showing one I created for our tour of the Willis House. There were so many whispers during this recording that I thought a video of it, with the sections indicated, would be easier and more enjoyable to hear. Still, you might need headphones for the best result.
In case you are not a regular follower of this blog, I ask you to view my original post about the Ghosts of Gettysburg, as that will anchor you into my tale and prepare for for Ghosts of Gettysburg Part 2. The experiences I had with my daughter and a friend were as real as the experience I have now as I type. Of course, some of our experiences were solely personal and could not be documented. Other experiences were captured on film and digital recorders and I included some of that “evidence” in my last post, which you can find here – Ghosts of Gettysburg.
If you’ve already read that first post, you should know a lot has happened since then. I’ve had the chance to listen to more recordings and view more images and have discovered more images – some in the photos I’ve already posted. Debunking some evidence has been easy in some cases and rather difficult in others. I have some recordings that sound intriguing but after hearing the same moment from my daughter’s or friend’s recordings, we realize there is nothing paranormal about them. Despite the evidence we feel is indisputable, disregarding or disproving any of it is a disappointment. Alas… as is the saying, “When in doubt, toss it out.”
For the evidence we believe to be accurate – we can start by having a look at the photo below. It’s from an early morning trek into Reynolds Woods. Originally, I saw two ghostly images in it – one on the path walking toward me, the other crouched in the brush toward the front left. It wasn’t until I looked at the image with a fresh eye, that I saw yet a third ghostly image in the same photo.
Here is the original picture with the two images indicated:
Now here is that same image with the discovery of the third ghostly apparition:
In my last post, I mentioned our experiences with temperature fluctuations in The Wheatfields. Well, I’d left my camera in the car so I don’t have photos from there but I do have an interesting recording. I didn’t hear voices while I was there, but on playback, I heard what sounds like mumbling as we speak and then through the silence, I hear something sad – a man whispering, possibly praying… using the words: “Help me.” “Take me.” “Hey.” Each plea is made a few seconds apart with “Help me” at :18, “Take me” at :21 and “Hey” at :26.
Can you hear them? (For a fuller experience, you might want to use headphones)
Voices in the Wheatfields
To move on with our experiences… after all of the experiences we had throughout the audio/auto tour of the battlefield, which I described in my last post, we went back to an area we had been the night before during a commercial ghost tour. This was a small field behind the Jennie Wade House. Jennie Wade was the only civilian killed during the Battle of Gettysburg. She was baking bread for the troops when a stray bullet ripped through the door and pierced her heart. She died instantly. There are ghost tales about her and her home, but I’ll skip all of that and tell you about the field behind the house since that is where we had several personal – and intense – experiences.
According to our enthusiastic, intriguing and lovely tour guide, Kendra Belgrad, some Confederate soldiers who were outnumbered in this spot by Union soldiers, chose to play dead rather than fight. On retreat, the Confederate soldiers who did fight ‘captured’ these men, called them cowards and said they would never have a hero’s burial but would instead remain in the spot where they failed to fight. The fighting Confederate soldiers then murdered the ‘cowardly’ soldiers and buried them in that field. It is said ghostly images are constantly captured in that field. There are images of orbs, of heads peeking around trees and of men leaning against the trees and holding their muskets.
These are the images we hoped to capture the evening after our auto tour. And we did capture them. Almost immediately.
Once on the field, I turned my camera toward the tree where a lot of activity has been reported. I took a few shots and noticed a red ‘glare’ in them. I’m a photographer’s wife, so I considered the first flare to be simple reflection of tail lights from cars parked in the lot beyond the tree. However, in each photo, the red glare was in a different position. First next to the tree “peeking”, then just around the tree’s edge and then more toward the center of the tree. I looked at each digital image as I shot it and on the fourth or fifth shot, I was stunned. So stunned, that when I glanced at my daughter, the expression on my face scared her into insisting I not tell her what I saw.
What I saw in that startling image was what looked like a soldier who had just been shot and had slammed back against the tree. His hat looks like it tipped down over his face as he slumped back and the red glare is on his shoulder – perhaps where the bullet hit.
Here is the shot immediately after the one above – notice the soldier image is no longer there:
Perhaps they’ll both be easier to see here:
He’s here –
but not here (in the very next shot):
A few minutes later, in a different spot of the field, my daughter’s K2 readings went wild. K2 meters register high magnetic fields. The meter flickered throughout this experience but registered noticeably seconds before our friend said she felt as if someone was standing right between her and my daughter. I fired off three shots and the first one shows a soldier standing precisely where she said she felt a presence. The other two shots show nothing.
I’m pretty sure this one will be very easy to see:
In case you can’t see him, here he is:
Of course, we captured a lot of orbs and other questionable images during our time there. I don’t know enough about orbs to say whether what we caught were spirits, bugs or some other natural phenomena. But… here are a couple of our orb photos and a couple of possible ghost images:
Odd mist in only one of four images:
Outline of man in mirror (Jennie Wade House):
Here’s that last one cropped and indicated:
Don’t think this is it. We captured more voices and suspicious – or should I say “curious” – images and sounds. Here we were walking along Cemetery Ridge when we came upon some black walnuts lying on the ground. As we discussed them, there’s a long labored sigh then a very clear – stern – male voice seems to say, “Open!”. Not sure why he said that but, from his tone, he expected his order to be obeyed. Listen here…the ‘sigh’ happens as we’re walking at :08 and the ‘Open!” is at :15 ,right after I ask, “Are they edible?”
Sigh and “OPEN” at Cemetery Ridge
In my last post, I mentioned how each of us felt uncomfortable at Culp’s Hill. I posted audio of what sounds like the hammer of a rifle/musket and a voice saying, “Whisper!” as my daughter speaks. There are a lot more sounds – some clearly voices – from that spot and I’ll post another one here. It happened as we walked along an unsteady incline on our way further into the woods. Listen as my friend says she hears something and feels like she’s being watched. You’ll first hear my, “Ooo!” as I slip on an wobbly rock, then you’ll hear the drawn out whispered voice talking over us at :04 –
What do you think it says? We hear the words, “Get home!”
I’ll wrap up with two more experiences – in my next post. 🙂
One experience is something I cannot prove. I can only say all three of us endured it at the same moment, sharing our perceptions in real time and noting how each of us knew what the other was going to say before it was said. The experience was that vivid to us all. The other is one that just might make a believer out of the most skeptical among us. It made a believer out of my husband… and since he’s a photographer and our ‘proof’ is on video… that’s saying a lot.
Until next time…