Among the sites I visited in Salem Village this past fall, was the Rebecca Nurse Homestead. The grounds were open but since it was off-season, the house was sealed tight, docents were unavailable and I, along with my two friends, were the only visitors there.
I would have loved to tour the house. It has stood all these centuries. Was the place for sharing honest thoughts and deep emotions about the hysteria gripping the village… where that hysteria hit hard as Rebecca Nurse, herself an aged and pious woman most respected as a church member, was accused, arrested, thrown into jail, tried, convicted and eventually hung as a witch.
Her body was dumped unceremoniously with the others hung that day in 1692, since a witch could not receive a Christian burial. Yet, under the cover of night, her loving son and husband retrieved her body and buried her properly on the homestead grounds.
That property, the property of the Rebecca Nurse Homestead, pulsed with history when we visited. The energy was undeniable. We found it impossible to remain for long in two specific spots on the grounds. One was by a window at the back of the house, near the garden. I wanted to take a picture through the glass, but as I lifted my camera, I felt a sudden wave of extreme dread and danger. I was certain, if I turned, I would find someone behind me. I did turn, but no one was there.
I backed away quickly, still feeling uneasy, then turned to take a picture of where I had been. The first image here is the full shot I took, untouched except to size it for web-view. The second is an extreme close up of the windowpane on the door by the garden where I felt so uncomfortable.
Do you see what I see?
The other spot oozing with energy, was the Meeting House. It’s a replica of the original Meeting House that would have been in the area, though it would not have been on the property as it is now.
I don’t know why I would feel anything strange about the structure itself since it is a reproduction not a building actually connected to the witch hysteria. I was not alone with those feelings, however. I had friends with me, and both felt the same. In fact, one believed she was being watched through the front window and so, from a distance, I took a picture of the building and that’s below.
Of course, if you look closely at the windows, you’ll see branches from the bare trees reflected in the glass. But do you see the window to the left of the front door? I zoomed in on it below. Look at it closely – if you have to – and you just might see what we saw so clearly in the window that brisk fall day in Salem Village.
You would think with the winter months upon us, I’d be home in front of the computer pounding away at posts for this blog. Well, this winter in New York has been so mild, so lovely, that I’ve been out and about for much of it.
One of my outings took me to Old Bethpage Village Restoration, a historically rich location that makes me think of Colonial Williamsburg and how it might have looked in its earliest planning stages.
Known as the Jewel of Long Island, Old Bethpage Village Restoration (OBVR) has been severely underfunded and budget cuts have cost it the “living history” part of its description since almost all of the full time costumed interpreters have been laid off. Fortunately, new management seems interested in revitalizing the Village and our hope is for a rebirth.
Meanwhile, as the Village stands cold and closed for the winter months, a skeleton crew – of sorts – is charged with maintaining and cleaning the buildings. Each house in the Village was brought there from another part of Long Island, each teaming with its own history. Some of the furnishings in the homes belong to the family that once lived there, other furnishings are mismatched.
All of this makes OBVR a prime location for paranormal activity. Because of that, one of the updates I would love to see in this village is a regularly scheduled lantern ghost tour. When I am in the Village, there is no question in my mind – Here, there be ghosts.
On a particularly sunny cleaning day, we brought our cameras and digital recorders. There wasn’t much activity that day, mostly personal experiences of cold spots, unease, dizziness and headaches. In each home, however, we captured whispered voices, barely audible. I will share four that seem the most vivid and urge you to use headphones for a fuller experience.
If I sound less than disappointed about our soft bits of audio evidence, it’s because of the phenomenal visual evidence we captured. At first, I was excited, then I became frightened. I don’t know what or who we captured in the pictures I’ll be sharing here, but as I considered it, I realized, we’ve never felt threatened in those homes so our perception of what ‘good’ and ‘bad’ looks like is just that, perception. We don’t know what’s on the other side and so we shouldn’t make judgments – can’t judge a book by its cover, right?
A word about the recordings on this page. For some reason, the player will play all of the recordings in succession. Just press pause to prevent if from continuing until you’re ready to hear the next track.
And so without further ado…
In the Schenck House – a home built in 1730 by a Dutch Farmer – We are standing at the front door having just walked into the house and locked the door behind us. I just noted the size of the floorboards and beams – HUGE gorgeous wood – when a light sing-songy female voice comes from the space immediately around us. We know it’s not us because it happens as I’m talking about the beautiful wood and my daughter laughs. We didn’t even hear this voice at the time.
SCHENCK HOUSE 2:06 Ghost Child – SCHKANK FOYER
The Williams House – build by a master house carpenter, Henry Williams, in 1820 – is known for its hautings and though presumption is its residual not intelligent, some of the otherworldly ‘comments’ tell us the opposite. Take for example this bit of recording while we stood in the parlour –
Listen hard for the whispers, there are two. The first is at 7 seconds, about two beats after I say, “You have a beautiful house”, the whisper sounds like, “What?” The second, at 11 seconds, sounds like a slow, drawn out, “They’re here.”.
WILLIAMS HOUSE – Parlour Ghost Hunting – WILLIAMS HOUSE PARLOUR
Eventually, we set the recorder in the family room and went about our work in the other rooms and upstairs. While the recorder remained alone on a table by a bible and spectacles, there were separate comments made – we, remember were in the other rooms or on the second floor and our voices, when heard, are distinctly ours.
Listen at 14 seconds. We hear “go”. At .21, .25 and .27, we hear, “That’s you.” “Go.” “Take them.”
WILLIAMS HOUSE BIBLE Ghost Voices – WILLIAMS HOUSE by Bible
At this point, we are upstairs, talking while we work. Listen at 4 seconds. We hear a frustrated – almost weary and bored of our presence – “Go home.” Just before the whisper, you’ll hear silence then us talking in the background.
WILLIAMS HOUSE “GO HOME” GHOST HUNTING – WILLIAMS HOUSE – GO HOME
And finally, at the Noon Inn, built in 1835, we climbed up to the attic. Well, I didn’t. I stood on the steps to the attic and had to come back down. I felt heavy, the air thick. Cold. My daughter followed me down and our friend remained on the stairs, feeling uncomfortable and asking me to take her picture at that moment because something did not feel right to her. The first picture you’ll see is the photo I took at that moment and cannot explain. Look to her left. Right there in black on the stairs.
BLACK MASS NOON INN
Please forgive me, but I’ve chosen to delete this image due to some ‘darker’ comments I’ve received (and also deleted) regarding it.
Not one of us ‘knows’ what is beyond this world. We can only judge by what we experience, what we believe and what we feel. In all my years visiting the Village, I have never felt that I or my family was in any type of danger and I would never want others to be turned off because of what they interpret from our experiences there. This image seemed too much of a hot button, and I thought it best to simply remove it.
This next photo is one I took once we were all down the stairs. I cannot explain this one either. Look toward the top right.
FACE NOON INN
This last picture is one I took almost immediately after the one above.
NO FACE NOON INN
I’ll leave it to you to decide what these images mean. Your comments, opinions and/or personal experiences are VERY welcomed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…