Gettysburg, PA, is one of the most active paranormal hot spots in the world. This is the place where 94,000 Union troops under General George Meade clashed with 72,000 Confederate soldiers under General Robert E. Lee in what became the bloodiest battle of the Civil War. From July 1 to 3, 1863, more than 51,000 Americans were killed, wounded or went missing. it’s hardly surprising Gettysburg has its fair share of ghost stories. But oddly enough, one of the stories comes to us from the time of the battle itself.
Although the Confederates were ultimately devastated on July 3rd, 1863, the Union soldiers were actually in trouble at one point. The 20th Maine Division had arrived to reinforce the flagging troops, but they had no idea where to go. The division told the story that a striking figure in an old-fashioned uniform appeared on a white horse and led them up to Little Round Top, a strategic point that enabled them to rout a flank of Confederates and ultimately win the battle. The soldiers insisted that the glowing apparition they followed bore an uncanny resemblance to George Washington. There’s no denying this story reeks of propaganda—it’s only one step away from the old claim that “God is on our side”—but the story has had remarkably long life nevertheless.
If you visit the National Military Park on a clear summer night, you will sometimes see fog creeping in and surrounding the field where so many people fell. Fog is always brings a creepy sensation with it, but such sudden ground mists are not exactly unusual weather for this kind of topology. But what’s inside the fog is a little more unusual. Lights flash on and off, appearing to advance along the same path that the Confederates took to Little Round Top. Sometimes, shadows or transparent apparitions appear on horseback. Although it’s hard to see anything in those conditions, these riders are often reported as being headless—though this may be due to an overactive imagination fired by too many readings of Sleepy Hollow.
Here we present four of the biggest hot-spots in this famous and revered battlefield. These sites have their generous and fair share of reported apparitions seen and caught on photos, EVPs (digital audio captures), disembodied voices / audible conversations and, or course, validation with use of paranormal equipment (K2s, infrared, etc.). We ask that you respect this hollowed land, since it represents one of the biggest tragedies and loss of life in our American military history.
- National Soldier's Orphan Homestead: During the battle of Gettysburg, this building was the headquarters of Union General Howard. In 1866, it was turned into an orphanage and at one time housed 130 boys and girls. The head mistress was Rosa Carmichael, who was infamous for her cruelty and was eventually convicted of child abuse. The orphanage closed in 1877, but Rosa's dark spirit is said to be lurking in the basement, trapped and angry.
- Jennie Wade House: On July 3, 1863, 20-year-old Jennie Wade became the only civilian casualty during the Battle of Gettysburg when a Confederate sniper's musket ball smashed through the door on the north side of her house, killing her instantly.
- The Gettysburg Engine House (Gettysburg and Northern Railroad): It was here that the Union soldiers made a desperate stand against charging Confederates on July 1, 1863. Confederate dead were haphazardly buried around the scene of the battle by local laborers. The large, metal Engine House was built in 1991, long after the battle of Gettysburg, but it was constructed on the hallowed ground where men died and are likely still buried. Did the construction stir up paranormal activity?
- Hunterstown Battlefield: At this site, Union Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer's Cavalry clashed with General Wade Hampton's Division of J.E.B. Stuart's Cavalry on July 2, 1863. Of his 3,500 men, Custer reported 32 dead and wounded. The roughly 2,000 Confederate soldiers suffered 100 casualties. Some Civil War re-enactors have reported strange encounters around this battlefield.
Gettysburg National Military Park
1195 Baltimore Pike, Suite 100
Gettysburg, PA 17325-2804
717-334-1124, extension 8023.