Gettysburg

Ghosts of Gettysburg – Part 4 – Conclusion

For the past few weeks, I’ve shared ghost stories with you – and how fitting that is, since Halloween is just around the corner.

I’ve shared ghostly images and voices. And now I’m going to share a video. This is the one I’ve promised from the beginning. And it’s one I still cannot fully explain.

If you haven’t seen my other Ghosts of Gettysburg Posts, please visit them first, then come back here for the grand finale. Here are the links to the other posts – Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

At this point during our visit to Gettysburg, we were preparing to check out of our hotel. It was the morning of Thursday, September 1st and we not only had a rough night – you might recall the “battle” experience I described in my last post – but we also rose extra early so we could get to Reynolds Woods before sunrise. We did that and it was now 9:30 or so in the morning. Time to ‘read’ our room.

Joanne – the brave one among us – set her digital recorder and K-II meter on the dresser while my daughter and I did some last minute packing and other diversionary tactics like that. Yes. We were unsure whether to tempt the fates.

A K-II meter, remember, is an EMF or electromagnetic field detector. It is said that K-II Meters or EMF Detectors, which are normally used to locate areas of high electrical or magnetic interference, can also detect paranormal activity. Sometimes, however, what appears as paranormal activity is simply electricity in the air. In our case, the K-II did not start bleeping or blinking until Joanne began asking questions like, “Is anyone here with us?” “What is your name?”

Unable to ignore the responses she was getting, my daughter and I joined in. She turned on her laser grid – a “web” of bluish-purple lights – and shined it on the wall near the door and K-II meter. The reason for that is if something were to move between my daughter and the wall, we would know because it would block out the lights. I, meanwhile, grabbed my camera and started to film the experience. After a few minutes, I set my camera – still recording – on the dresser, angled toward the door.

Rather than describe the room and our positions within it, here’s a graphic – and don’t laugh at it. I can’t draw, so for me, this is a masterpiece. 🙂Our hotel room

You can see none of us – even when Joanne switched seats from the edge of the bed to a chair – are in the way of the laser grid. You can also see from our positions, that only my camera was angled toward the door. Nothing else. Once I set my camera down, I had nothing in my hands. My daughter had only the purple laser grid and Joanne had only her video camera.

And yet in this first segment, there is an unexplained red orb floating around near the door and foot of the bed closest to the window.

Segment 1 – Floating Red Orbs

We have NO idea what that orb is, and we did not see it at the time. Of course, now it’s easy for those who were not there to shrug off, insisting one of us must have had a red laser pen. But we did not. And we did not walk between the purple laser grid and the wall, though in this next segment, you can clearly see shadows of not just one person, but two. Going and then coming. And you can also see the room grow light and then dark. There were no dimmer switches in the room, and the curtains were drawn. All we can surmise is that this entity somehow blocked my camera lens, and the camera – set to automatic – tried to compensate.

Segment 2 – Shadows and light

We did not see the details of this as it happened. All we saw was something block out the purple lights – no shadows. After the second flicker of those lights, I was sure something in the room next door – the fitness room – was somehow affecting our K-II and our lights. So, I left the room, only to come back seconds later because the door to the fitness room was locked. No one was in there.

In this next segment – a replay of the end of Segment 2 – I pass the foot of the bed. Note my shadow on the door and wall. It’s nearly the same as the prior shadows… only no one passed in front of the bed before me. No one we could see, that is.

Segment 3 – My shadow

Toward the end, the K-II went quiet. As you watch this segment, note how the K-II responds to Joanne’s questions.

Segment 4 – Settling Down

Here is the full ten-minute video, uncut, so you can see the progression of what happened. Throughout, Joanne is trying to communicate, and when she says, “back away” or “come closer”, she means for the spirit to move to or from the K-II meter that’s blinking on the dresser. Theory is, the closer an entity is to the meter, the faster and louder it would be. If this entity moved away, or disappeared, the lights would go out and the chirping would stop… as you saw toward the end as things settled down.

I’ve loved sharing our Ghosts of Gettysburg experiences with you and hope you’ve enjoyed reading about them. Hopefully, if you didn’t see certain images in the pictures I posted, or hear certain voices in the recordings, you’ll come back to look and listen again.

This was an exciting adventure. One we will not soon forget. One that has given us new respect for that which we otherwise might never have seen.

Ghosts of Gettysburg – Part 3

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 Gettysburg Address

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.

Civil War Reenactor on Battlefield Path

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.

Don't open the door 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.

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:

Light flare or Spirit Light?Ghosts of Gettysburg - Flare or Spirit

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:

Reynolds Woods 1

Reynolds Woods 2

Reynolds Woods 3

 

I’m still confused by orbs, but for those of you who “get” them, here are some more photos:

Soldiers National Cemetery:

Orbs - 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 –

Reynolds Woods AM - 1

Reynolds Woods Orbs - 2

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.

Ghosts of Gettysburg – Part 2

GHOSTS OF GETTYSBURG Part 2

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:

Ghosts of Gettysburg Part 2 - Soldier on path and kneeling in bushes on left

Now here is that same image with the discovery of the third ghostly apparition:

Ghosts of Gettysburg Part 2 - Reynolds Woods

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.

Admittedly, the image is dark. I did not use flash and the area was back-lit by the hotel and streetlights. Still… if you look closely, you should be able to see what I saw here:
Ghosts of Gettysburg - behind Jennie Wade House

Here is the shot immediately after the one above – notice the soldier image is no longer there:

Ghosts of Gettysburg Part 2 - for comparison - no ghostly image

 

Perhaps they’ll both be easier to see here:
He’s here –

Ghosts of Gettysburg - ghostly soldier 'dead' against tree

but not here (in the very next shot):

Ghosts of Gettysburg - for comparison - no ghostly image

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:

Ghosts of Gettysburg - soldier standing between the ladies

In case you can’t see him, here he is:

Ghosts of Gettysburg - Soldier between ladies - indicated

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:

Ghosts of Gettysburg - odd mist in one of 4 images

Orbs:

Ghosts of Gettysburg - Orbs in field behind Jennie Wade House
Ghosts of Gettysburg - Orbs - Field behind Jennie Wade House

 

Outline of man in mirror (Jennie Wade House):

Ghosts of Gettysburg - Ghostly outline of man in mirror - Jennie Wade House

Here’s that last one cropped and indicated:

Man in mirror 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 –

Culp’s Hill

 

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…

Ghosts of Gettysburg

I’ve neglected this blog through August but have good reason. I’ve been vacationing. 🙂

My family had much to celebrate this summer. My fifteen year old graduated high school and was about to celebrate her Sweet 16. As a combination gift, as opposed to a party, she asked to visit the Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios in Florida and to go ghost-hunting in Gettysburg. We did both (and more) and had a phenomenal time. So phenomenal, that I couldn’t bring myself to break up the action by posting here. My bad… but oh so good. 😆

I’d love to share all the details of Disney’s Magic Kingdom and Universal’s Harry Potter, and maybe I will. Eventually. But our trip to Gettysburg was so incredible I must share that first.

We arrived in the Historic area of Gettysburg around 4pm on Monday August 29th and we left on Thursday, September 1st, around 1pm. In that short time, we had one spirit experience after another. Some of our experiences were physical – feeling pressure, like being submerged. Feeling intense fear or complete peace. Feeling cold – freezing cold. And even feeling as though we’d walked through spider webs. None of that can be proven. Each event was a personal experience we will always remember but cannot document.

However… we have photographs and voice recordings that prove, to me at least, that what we saw, heard and felt was indeed something from another realm.

Wednesday was our biggest day, the day with the most activity. It started in the early evening when we visited an area of the Dobbin House that had been part of the Underground Railroad.

As we climbed the dark, narrow stairs to the attic, we saw a cupboard cut into the wall which once held pottery and stoneware. Behind that cupboard, in the attic crawl space – no higher than four feet, no wider than 20 and with no windows – runaway slaves were hidden. We walked up a few more stairs and entered the main attic – with 8-foot ceilings, windows… and another door. To another level. I opened that door to peer in and immediately jumped back in fear. I cannot tell you why. I didn’t see anything and I didn’t hear anything. I simply felt an unbearable dread that left me wanting to crumble to my knees and sob.

It took all my strength and resolve to go back to that door and slip my digital recorder into the opening. I felt a strong cool breeze on my hand, but heard nothing until I played back the recording. I am convinced the breeze was simply an attic breeze and nothing more. However, I cannot explain the voices captured on my recorder.

Listen for yourself… there is talking that can be explained. I was with my daughter and a friend. It is their voices you hear ‘mumbling’ in the background. But listen closer. At 14 seconds in, see if you can hear a whimper/cry of fear. Then at 21 seconds, listen carefully for a child’s voice “I don’t like this.” and another child’s voice picking up on the ‘s’ saying, “See it open?”, immediately after that, at 24 seconds, is the whimper/cry again. THAT was not from us.

And yes, the voice at 3 seconds saying, “I can do this. I can’t do this. Alright, I can do this.” is Gemini me working up the nerve to open the attic door again. 🙂

Dobbin House

After we left the Dobbin House, we went back to finish an auto tour of the battlefield that we had started the day before. It was nearly 5pm when we reached Culp’s Hill. A short trek into the woods gave each of us a feeling of being watched. It wasn’t a good feeling. I didn’t feel it as strongly as the others. At first. Then suddenly, I couldn’t get out of their fast enough. At one point, before I high-tailed it out of there, my daughter, who had walked ahead of us, started heading back toward us. I knew she was behind me but heard footsteps coming from somewhere on my right. We were in the woods. Could be rabbits, chipmunks, snakes or any other animal. I shrugged it off. THEN, from the same spot, I heard what sounded like the hammer of a rifle being pulled back. It wasn’t loud but I heard it. On playback, that sound is right against the recorder – which was in my hand. A few seconds after that, before I acknowledge hearing the sound, my daughter starts to speak and a ‘voice’ says, “whisper”. We did not hear that voice until playback later that night.

It’s all in this recording – “rifle hammer” at 10 seconds and “whisper” at 18 seconds – see if you can hear it:

Culp’s Hill – Gun and Voice

We spent about an hour at Culp’s Hill and moved on to the next Battlefield location – The Wheatfield. The Wheatfield was the scene of a horrific battle – not that all battles aren’t horrific. It is said that more than 4,000 men died in the Wheatfield and that if a person wanted to cross the field, they could walk across without their feet ever touching the ground. That’s how many bodies of men and horses covered the area. Heartbreaking.

We had an experience at the Wheatfields that we cannot prove – though I haven’t listened to all of the recordings yet and there are still more photos to look through. However, my daughter went to one area as if drawn to it, and set out all of her equipment – Camera, EVP Device, EMF Meter, Ambient Temperature gauge – and then she stood up, moving back and to her left. Only thing is, as she moved, she raised her right foot as if stepping back and over something. We asked why she did that and she said she didn’t know. I took her temperature gauge and did some readings. The air around us was about 80 degrees. The air in the spot she stepped over was 25.

We spent a solid amount of time in the Wheatfield then moved on to the next stop – the site of Picket’s Charge. As we listened to the audio CD for the auto tour, I gazed out at the sky. The sun was setting and it looked beautiful. I took a couple of pictures then noticed a sliver of moon to my left. As I was about to photograph it, I saw movement in the brush. Like someone popping their head up to get a quick look around. That scared the begeebers out of me but I quickly aimed my camera and fired off two shots. One of them, to my eyes anyway, shows a group of Union Officers having a pow-wow. Can you see them?

Gettysburg Ghosts - Soldiers in field

How about now…

Gettysburg Ghosts - Soldiers in field closeup

We left the battlefield soon after this because once the sun set, it was too easy to lose our way along the unlit paths.

We had several more experiences that night but if I write about all of them here, this post will go on for pages. For now, I’ll leave you with a few more photographs and a promise to post more about our experiences next time.

Can you see the soldier walking along the path – straight toward the camera? Or the soldier kneeling in the left hand bushes?

soldier on path

See them now?

Soldier on path and kneeling in bushes on left

You’d have to look REALLY hard to see the ghostly images in this picture. Trust me, I know, because I did just that. I saw not only a couple of soldiers walking, but one in the woods (possibly) and a closer image – in color no less – of a Union soldier’s face. They’re all boxed so you can find them easily:

Face on left and ghosts right of three people on rocks - indicated

And one more for today and that’s it, I promise:

Debora Dale

No. No ghosts in that last one. Just me playing dress-up. 🙂

Days 7 – 10 Vacation

What South Carolina vacation would be complete without a trip to Fort Sumter?

On our last day in Charleston, we hustled about the historic district, trying to fit in as many historic building tours as possible. We also managed to tour the oldest original plantation home in the state – Dreyton Hall.

This home was built in 1725 and while it stands empty, it stands. The paint on the walls has faded with time, but the history and grandeur of the home is still quite evident.

We were fortunate to have a tour guide whose expertise was in architecture. The details of the structure were too many to recall but fascinating as they were heard.

The reason this home escaped Sherman’s burning of the city, was because of a sign posted on the property. What was written on that sign? It stated that the home was used as a hospital to treat people infected with small pox. Was this true? Well, we will never know for sure but we are grateful for the sign whether sad truth or ingenious lie.

This final day in the Carolinas was the hottest. Nearly 100. We’re told that’s actually about 20 degrees cooler than it normally is there at this time of year. That worked out well for us, because of all days, we lost our car. <sigh> We must have circled the same area seven times before we finally found it. I’m guessing all the driving, touring and heat finally caught up with us and delirium took over.

However, we found the car and managed to get to our Fort Sumter ferry in the nic of time. NIC of time. What an amazing place this fort is. The outer walls are five feet thick. Mortar shells can still be seen in the walls and the original flags – from Union as well as Confederate troops – are on display in the museum there.

Did you know…

The Union officer in charge of the fort at the start of the war  – Anderson – told his men to sleep in the morning of the original bombardment of the fort by the confederates. He knew the fort was tenths of a mile further than was needed for a cannon ball fired from the mainland to do damage. However, Beauregard, a confederate officer who had trained under Anderson before the Civil War (which in Charleston, btw, is referred to as either The War Between the States, or more often as The War of Northern Aggression) ordered his men to fire up the cannon balls. They heated them to a red glow and fired them off. They didn’t blast through anything but they did start several fires and between putting out the fires and firing back, the limited Union troops were overtaken and Fort Sumter fell into enemy… oops… Confederate hands.

😉

We were up early the next morning, ready for a 9-hour drive up to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Our goal was to get there in time to have dinner at the Farnsworth House. If ever you are in Gettysburg (I may have already said this, but it’s worth repeating) GO to the Farnsworth House. Eat in the garden or in the dining room, it doesn’t matter, just eat there and make sure you have their spoon bread and pumpkin fritters. Heaven on earth. With a few ghosts thrown in. LOL.

Seriously, the Farnsworth House is one of America’s top ten haunted inns. We were going to take their ghost tour after dinner, but the screams from the basement while we dined sorta changed our minds. One day…

We barely made it in time for dinner, btw. We hit traffic in D.C. and lost a full hour. Ten hours on the road made us want to drop into bed instead of eat, but we went anyway and were VERY glad we did.

There are over 100 civil war bullet holes in the side of the Farnsworth House. All still quite visible. The food is scrumptious with contemporary fare as well as that of the period. Best of all… I GOT RECIPES!!!! They now offer a cookbook that contains recipes for their famous spoon bread and pumpkin fritters. Of course, just because I can now make them, it doesn’t mean we’ll ever miss an opportunity to dine there… and maybe one day we’ll even work up the nerve to stay overnight at their inn…despite the top-ten haunted inn rating… and then again… maybe not. :-/

The next day, we walked around the town of Gettysburg…

…and then we drove the battlefield with an audio tour CD. Too much information to absorb on one listen, but clearly bloody and disturbing. Then again, it was war.

After the battlefield tour, we drove an hour to Hershey, PA. Chocolate Town! With Hershey kiss-shaped street lights.

The park was a thrill – what amusement park isn’t?

And though it rained on us the next day – so hard at one point, they shut down all the rides – we had a blast.

This vacation put 1804 miles on our car. I drove about 1700 of those miles and loved almost every minute of it. Considering we went from views like this in the south and in Pennsylvania…

To views like this as we neared home…

I’m guessing you can understand which part of the drive I enjoyed, and which I didn’t. 😉

It took us two days at home to recover but we’re raring to go now and already looking ahead to next year. But first… we have over 1,000 photos to sort through and place into albums. So… if I’m AWOL again, you’ll know where I am. Sitting in front of mounds of photos trying to recall every facet of our wonderfully adventurous trip.

Thank you for letting me share my family vacation with you. We, obviously, had a great time and I hope you enjoyed hearing about it.

Vacation

I can’t believe our vacation is finally here. Well… almost finally here. We leave Tuesday for nearly a week in Charleston, South Carolina.

I’ve been researching Charleston activities and have come up with an exciting list of must-dos. First on the list – because we’re all into anything historic – is the Civil War Walking Tour. That is a must. Actually, we’ll do that on our last day there because straight from Charleston, we’re driving up to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where we will do the Union’s version of a Civil War walking tour.

We’ve been to Gettysburg several times already but I’m going to say this upfront for any of you planning to go – Visit the Farnsworth House Inn.

There is a civil war cannon shell sticking out of the side of the building, a building riddled with civil war bullets. They offer a ghost tour in their basement – which we have yet to attend but hope to this time. It is said a ghost walks the halls of this Inn – and people spend the night there!! And, best of all, in my opinion, they make the most amazing – A. Mazing. – spoon bread and pumpkin fritters in all the world. Every time we go there, I say I’m going to ask for a recipe but I chicken out. This time… this time… well… we’ll see.

An hour closer to home from Gettysburg is Hershey Park, so, we’ll spend one day and night in Gettysburg and the final day in Hershey then head home.

Ah, but Charleston will be the highlight. My must-do list is packed with exciting things – the Festival of Houses and Gardens, which says it all, I think. A visit to the Heyward-Washington House – which is a house built in 1772.

1772!

Charlesston offers Ghost and Legend walks, Slavery and Freedom walks, of course the civil war walks and for one evening, a dinner cruise. Daughter is excited about the glass-bottom boat ride in the marsh. Yikes. Being on the water in a glass-bottom boat when crocs are following us with their eyes and hungry mouths… I dunno. “Fun” isn’t the word that leaps into my head.

Of course, we will also visit Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. I’ve heard some truly amazing things about this place. It sounds like a full day trip. Sprawling grounds with bridges and ponds, gardens… ah, imagine how some of us lived way back when. As opposed to how others of us survived.

Our week will be filled with excitement, I am sure. But two of the most exciting things I’m looking forward to are the ride down – there’s something about packing up the car with luggage and cooler and leaving in the wee hours of the morning that I find thrilling – and the hotel pool. Yay! Swimming. In a pool. I don’t care what state we’re in – a pool is a pool and we’re diving right in!

The only downer is leaving the cats behind. <sigh> I do miss them so when we’re on vacation. And I worry about them – do they miss us? Are they scared? Of course, I have great cat sitters, so in my head, I know they’ll be fine, but…

Well… seriously, if these were your furry loves, you’d hate leaving them, too, wouldn’t you?

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