Years before I realized my ability to connect with spirits, I dabbled in ghost hunting – paranormal investigations if you want to be formal or scientific. I was out there doing amateur hunts before it became trendy (which is one of the reasons I stopped). But during that period of my life, the most active place I ever visited was Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, which never disappointed me. Every time I searched for spirits there I found them: saw them, heard them, and even interacted with them.
My first trip was on my birthday, a Tuesday in late September after the busy tourist season had ended. We arrived at the historic battleground before sundown and our first stop was at Devil’s Den which was intriguing just based on the name alone. I walked around the huge boulders where Confederate snipers once hid, shooting pictures here and there including the infamous spot where a dead sharpshooter was photographed lying lifeless next to a rifle. But nothing supernatural appeared in the pictures. After an hour, we decided to move on but before we left I took two more photographs of Devil’s Den with the last one having a visible orb. Nowadays, I do not put much stock into orbs since these transparent circles can simply be the blurred image of dust or a bug. I normally agree with skeptics regarding matrixing – which is the brain’s tendency to see human features in the patterns of an object. There’s always that story about an old lady from Cleveland who found the image of Jesus in a piece of burnt toast. So, it’s hard for me to even validate my own photograph, but I must admit that it is a mysterious picture of a circular image with what appears to be a bearded man in the center it.
As we drove through the military park we saw very few people since it was now after eight o’clock at night and closing time was at ten. When we approached Cemetery Hill others were leaving the area. Cemetery Hill was the site where the Union soldiers fended off Pickett’s Charge, the Confederate’s epic final engagement of that three day battle. Paranormal activity began the moment I exited the car. As I readied my camera and voice recorder, I heard the sound of cannon fire, war cries, and bullets striking the branches of a nearby tree. I took a moment to focus my hearing, but the echo of the phantom battle faded before I thought to push the button on my recorder. This phenomenon mystified me as I caught up to my friend who was now walking into the fields facing Emmitsburg Road. As we slowly crept through the grass we heard a man’s voice shout “God Bless the North Carolina 26th Regiment!” We turned towards the direction of the sound where we saw two soldiers walking less than thirty yards away from us. Both of them wore light tan uniforms, one was an infantryman wearing a kepi while the other was an officer wearing a brimmed hat. I stood there stunned at the sight while I cast my flashlight directly upon them. I asked if they wanted me to light their way but the officer said “We’ll follow the path…” As they walked into the darkness my friend and I looked at each other in amazement then looked back to see that the two men had disappeared.
The encounter left me excited, disappointed, and skeptical all at the same time. I was excited that I had the experience, I was disappointed that I didn’t take a picture of the soldiers, then I was skeptical of what had just happened. Did I really just see ghosts? As I pondered the question I was 100% positive that absolutely no one was in the area where the soldiers appeared let alone near this section of the military park. And really, who hides in the battlefields of Gettysburg dressed in uniforms after sundown on a Tuesday in late September just to screw with people? If indeed it was a farce then yeah they got me, but otherwise all signs pointed towards yes.
My last paranormal investigation took place during the 140th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg. On the morning of July 3rd, a friend and I entered the park just after 6 a.m. in the fields of Seminary Ridge which was the Confederates’ staging area during Pickett’s Charge. As we walked through the field I heard the sound of wagon wheels turning and soldiers running through the knee-high grass. We trudged on when all of a sudden we heard a horrific scream cut through the early morning air. This shriek sounded like a man screaming in agony in the distance. I stopped walking then envisioned a soldier writhing in pain from a devastating leg injury. No one was in sight and we shrugged our shoulders, unable to explain the sound we’d just heard.
I have visited the battlefield twice since I have begun my spiritual journey, but only once tried to connect with spirits. It was at Devil’s Den where I came in contact with a Confederate soldier’s spirit who was hiding in an alcove at the base of a huge boulder. As I stared into the dim pocket I felt a male presence then saw a bright purple cloud of energy floating back and forth inside. I encouraged the spirit to emerge from the small cave, telling him that the war was over and it was safe to come out. But he was hesitant because of the people walking around – he was unsure whether they posed a threat. I tried to assure him, but it seemed the more I tried the more he stalled. After a few minutes, I decided to let him be because ultimately it was his choice and I got the impression that he would not have known what to do once he came out.
Now that I am more in tune with the spirit world, my intention at Gettysburg (or anywhere for that matter) is to connect with spirits in order to learn from the experience and if possible help them. I am no longer interested in hunting them down and coaxing them to appear – for one out of respect; and two: I do not want to encounter a spirit who still harbors animosity and wishes to take revenge upon the living. Psychics always try to surround themselves with positive energy so to arbitrarily seek out spirits where they dwell, baiting them to manifest just doesn’t seem ethical or safe. Although there are some paranormal investigators who do their work professionally and respectfully there are others who entice spirits with aggression, rely on expensive equipment, and are quick to label questionable evidence as bonafide paranormal activity. Personally, I find it more rewarding and authentic to make direct contact with a spirit rather than using cameras and other gadgets.
Read more about ghosts in Gettysburg
and other sites of Civil War battles in
Ghost Stories of the Civil War
by Dan Asfar and Edrick Thay.