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Gettysburg Ghosts

One of the most haunted sites in America is the Civil War battlefield at Gettysburg. As the

bloodiest engagement of the war, the horrific suffering was unparalleled in American history. For

three days, July1-3, 1863, the fate of the nation was at stake. During this time, over 7,000 men

died on the battlefield. And some believe that this grim toll at Gettysburg has resulted in

an extraordinary amount of paranormal activity.

Dr. Andrew Nichols of the American Institute of Parapsychology, has written that spiritualists

believe that ghosts are earthbound spirits of dead people. After death our spirits continue to

exist in another dimension, but that some spirits—often in cases of sudden or violent death—

become attached to a certain location where they can sometimes be seen, heard, or felt by

certain people.

For those conducting paranormal research, Gettysburg is a veritable goldmine of first-hand

ghostly accounts, including photographs, videos, audio record

ings and other unexplained

activities. As Burke and Roth wrote in their book, “Ghost Soldiers of Gettysburg, “Some of the

most compelling eyewitness testimony associated with paranormal activity in Gettysburg comes

from people who live and work in town…Almost every historic building in Gettysburg is

reportedly haunted.”

The question among Gettysburg residents is not whether they believe in ghosts, but whether

they’ve seen one lately. Ghostly visitations are an everyday occurrence, according to the “Ghost

Mistress of Gettysburg,” Patti O’Day. O’Day’s family purchased Gettysburg’s historic Farnsworth

House in 1972 and converted it into an inn. The house is named for General Elon Farnsworth, a

Union Cavalry General killed on the final day of the battle.

According to the inn’s staff, it is home to at least 14 different ghosts. The old house was occupied

By three Confederate sharpshooters who fired upon Union soldiers from a small window in the

Garret. The spirits of the three are among those that still roam the building. One of the

sharpshooters may have fired the bullet that accidentally killed Jennie Wade, the only civilian

casualty of the battle.

To the skeptic, all the talk about ghosts is based on one thing—money. Ghosts are indeed big

business in Gettysburg, with theater performances, books, tapes, videos and candlelight ghost

tours, which attract thousands of visitors. In an increasingly technological society, people enjoy

believing in the unexplainable. The thrill of a ghost story on a dark and stormy night delight those

who seek an escape from everyday realities.

Some claim that spiritual “energies” are greater in places where tragic and violent loss of life

suddenly occurred. If that is true, then battlefields like Gettysburg surely qualify. The carnage

was incredibly horrific, resulting in over 23,000 casualties during three days of vicious fighting.

Writers Bachar and Worel state in their book, “Haunted Gettysburg,” that when death comes to

a young man, it is unexpected, resulting in his soul not being at peace. This may cause the spirit

to remain where he died, seeking some sort of closure. Another theory is that persons dying a

long way from home roam about, searching for their family and friends. Or, a spirit may even

occupy an inanimate object, like a rock or a tree.

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