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.