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
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
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.