There is something incredibly eerie about historical war sites. Standing at a location where thousands of soldiers fought and died can unsettle you to the bone. Knowing of reported ghost sightings in that area? That is just downright terrifying.
Welcome to Gettysburg, a vicious three day battle fought during the height of the American civil war that left a total of around 51,000 casualties. Most people are taught the details of this battle during history class, but the continuous ghost sightings are conveniently left out so as not to scare little kids. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves though.
A Brief History of Gettysburg
Commonly referred to as the turning point of the civil war, this battle raged from July 1st to July 3rd in 1863. Following a Confederate victory at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Union General George Meade made the decision to chase after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Meade’s army was 90,000 strong whereas Lee’s comprised of 75,000 troops. When Lee learned the Northern army was pursuing him, he ordered his troops to form a line around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
When a Confederate division entered the town, they accidentally stumbled across a Union division which sparked the first day of the battle. Not before long, it became 19,000 Union troops versus 24,000 Confederate troops which led the Union to retreat to just south of Gettysburg.
On the second day of the battle, the entire army of the North had arrived and fortified their positioning. When the Confederacy attempted an attack later in the day, they were pushed back as the Union held the line. This led to thousands of dead in just a few hours.
Finally, the third day of the battle saw, what is perhaps, the most famous charge in history: Pickett’s charge. General Lee bombarded the Union army with artillery for over an hour. He then ordered Confederate General George Pickett to charge across no-man’s land with 15,000 troops while the Union was weakened. Little did either general know that the bombardment was ineffective. Pickett attempted to lead his men across a mile-long open field to surprise the Union army. When he realized the artillery had little effect, it was too late. The Union army obliterated the Confederate troops in the open field with artillery and flanked the soldiers from behind. This led to over 7,000 dead or wounded Confederate troops in under an hour.
The next night saw the Confederate army retreat back to Southern territory and the end of General Lee’s campaigns on Northern soil. All-in-all, there were 23,000 casualties for the Union and 25,000 casualties for the Confederacy. This was a brutal and bloody conflict that caught everyone by surprise. Considering the horror of what occurred on that battlefield years ago, it is unsurprising that so many soldiers have never moved on. To that end….
The Haunting of Gettysburg
The Battle of Gettysburg occurred in and around the whole town. Therefore, reports of hauntings are widespread throughout the entire town as well. With so many dead soldiers on both sides, one doesn’t have to look far to find something paranormal. From a civilian caught in the crossfire to creepy guests at renowned colleges and inn’s, there are no shortage of spirits unable to seek peace even over 150 years later.
Jennie Wade House
Jennie Wade was the only known civilian to die during the Battle of Gettysburg. She was a mere 20 years old when a stray bullet hit her in the heart and ended her life. Jennie was in the act of kneading dough to provide Union soldiers with bread when she was shot down. Her fiancé was a Union corporal who was injured just a couple of weeks before her death. Neither of the lovers knew of the other’s injuries and subsequent deaths.
The house has been relatively untouched, and the floors are the same exact ones where Jennie Wade collapsed too upon being shot all those years ago. It is said her spirit cannot be at peace because of what happened. EVP recordings are played for visitors where eerie and mysterious sounds can be heard. Visitors have also reported seeing a ghostly Jennie wandering around her home and the surrounding countryside, perhaps waiting for her long dead fiancé to return to her.
Farnsworth House Inn
This inn served as a house for Confederate snipers during the time of the war as well as a makeshift hospital. It is also rumored that the bullet which killed Jennie Wade originated from the Farnsworth House Inn. By the end of the battle, the soldiers within had been all but wiped out.
There are a reported 16 spirits residing in the Farnsworth House Inn today with distinct personalities. Among them appear to be a midwife and several soldiers. Heavy footsteps and the smell of cigars lead people to believe that the soldiers never gave up their duty of patrolling the house, even long after death.
This college is considered one of the most haunted in all of America. The oldest buildings on the campus were used as an infirmary and as a morgue when more and more soldiers arrived. One of the creepiest encounters occurred in 2003 when a former student took the elevator down to the basement in the same building soldiers were layed to rest. He recalled the elevator doors opening and seeing a full Civil War hospital with bloody soldiers and doctors rushing around. The doors closed and after he got over his shock, he opened them again. Mysteriously, though, the basement was now empty.
Two other administrators of the campus claimed to have experienced the same thing in the same hall. It seems that the gruesome practices of the make-shift hospitals were horrific enough to trap spirits to the campus forever. Reports of alarms going off at random times and misplaced student items, as well as the occasional touch of an apparition, make this one college experience sure to give you a fright.
The above spots are just a few of the places that make Gettysburg one of the scariest places in the entire country.
The Baladerry Inn
If you are brave enough to visit the city, consider coming to the Baladerry Inn.
Check out our schedule where we offer a psychic medium development class and ghost hunt, with psychic mediums at this famous bed and breakfast to anyone bold enough to stay the night.
There seems to be a theme with old makeshift hospitals, and this is no exception. Seven Confederate soldiers are buried near the grounds and are believed to be the source of the hauntings, making this one of our favorite spots to catch the paranormal in Gettysburg.
Though, don’t worry, all the ghosts are quite friendly to visitors. Just don’t mention they’re dead.