On July 1, 1863, what began as a skirmish soon escalated into the pivotal battle which would ultimately decide the American Civil war. Over the years extremely high levels of paranormal activity have been recorded at the site and surrounding area.
The battle at Gettysburg was the largest of the Civil war it was fought between 97,000 Union Troops commanded by Major General, George Gordon Meade and 75,000 Confederate troops' commanded by General, Robert E. Lee. The Battle lasted 3 days by the end of it almost 10,000 soldiers had died and more than 50,000 had been injured. The fallen Union soldiers were buried at Gettysburg cemetery; the Confederate dead were left on the battlefield for weeks, eventually being buried in mass graves.
Farnsworth House Inn at Gettysburg has been described as one of the most haunted inns in America. Built in 1810, the Inn is said to be the home of 14 ghosts. It was here that the only civilian casualty of the Battle was to meet her fate, Jennie Wade was accidentally shot by a Confederate soldier, an errant bullet passed through the wall and hit poor Jennie.
Jennie's ghost has been seen by staff and guests at the Inn, there have been reports of doors opening and closing. One woman has reported her infant being lifted by unseen hands into the air and gently placed back down. Other ghosts at the Inn include Jennie's sister Sarah Wade her apparition is seen baking bread, and that the bread can actually be smelled relatively strongly in the home. Sarah was also known for wearing perfume that resembled the fragrance of roses, today, this is also still smelled in and around the Inn.
In the Sara Black room, lights turn on and off; faucets have suddenly sprayed out water, shades roll up and down, and window shutters bang from the inside. A man was sleeping when he awoke to feel someone sitting or lying down on the bed beside him. He heard whispered voices, and the sobbing of a crying child.
Over 100 years ago, a small boy named Jeremy was out playing in front of the Inn when a horse and carriage passed by. The driver didn't see the boy and ran him over, killing him instantly. Staff and guests have seen his ghost, replaying the accident over and over, falling to his death beneath the wheels of the carriage. The ghost of his distraught father has also been spotted in a window of the hotel, watching in mute horror as his son is killed.
One guest staying in the Garret Room entered their bathroom and saw blood running down its walls. During the Battle of Gettysburg a Confederate soldier was shot in the attic, he was left to bleed to death directly above that second floor bathroom.
From the battlefield there have been hundreds of ghost sightings and unexplained occurrences. The Triangular Field, situated one hundred yards southwest of the Devils Den is notorious for paranormal activity. It is common for cameras to either malfunction or cease to work at all. Visitors have reported the sounds of gunshots and drum rolls emanating from the wooded area of the field. Others have reported the apparitions of sharpshooters among the tree line.
A local historian escorted a television camera crew out to the field for a special on Gettysburg ghosts. A prior equipment check showed everything was in working order. At the moment they entered the field, all equipment malfunctioned. As they exited the field, the cameras began working again. They entered and exited the field numerous times, only to have this bizarre pattern continue. The only film they managed to take of the field was from just outside of its perimeter, they were later disappointed to find that none of the film recorded of the field came out.
The Devils Den is a large patch of rocks where many Confederate sharpshooters took refuge in order to exact their death toll upon Union officers atop the hills of Little and Big Round Tops. In 1970, a tourist approached a park ranger and inquired about stories of Gettysburg being haunted. The Park Service asked why? The woman stated she was taking photographs of the Devils Den, when a man suddenly appeared beside her and said, "What you're looking for is over there."
Pointing northeast toward the Plum Run, she turned to look and the man vanished. The ranger asked for a description, and she felt he looked ragged and like that of a hippie. Barefooted with torn butternut shirt and trousers, wearing a big floppy hat. This was often the attire of Confederate Texans. Several weeks later, the same ranger was approached by yet another visitor with the same question. The man said he was taking pictures and a man mentioned to look elsewhere and then disappeared. His description was identical to the woman's.
A park ranger while on routine patrol one night noticed a man on horseback. As the rider neared, the ranger wondered who would be on the battlefield so late; on horseback. Upon closer inspection, the ranger noticed the attire of the rider. It was that of a Civil War officer although the allegiance could not be ascertained. The unknown horseman approached to within 10 feet of the car and suddenly vanished.
During the filming of the movie Gettysburg, many extras would find themselves with plenty of free time. Although the movie was not filmed on the battlefield, it was not uncommon for these extras to walk upon the battlefield in their period uniforms. One small group of men found themselves atop the Round Top, admiring the view as the sun began to set. A rustling of the leaves behind them alerted them to the presence of a stranger.
From the brush emerged a rather haggard looking old man, dressed as a Union private. The man was filthy and smelled of sulfur, a key ingredient of the black powder used in 1863. He walked up to the men and as he handed them a few musket rounds, he said "Rough one today, eh boys?" He turned and walked away. The group looked down at their musket rounds, when they looked up the man had vanished.
When the rounds were brought in to town they were authenticated as 140 years old! Many visitors have reported the smell of gunpowder, and have heard gunshots and screams from the Little Round Top over the years.
Pennsylvania Hall at Gettysburg College has been the site of many Civil War era ghost encounters, but perhaps none can compare to what two college administrators saw one night. The Hall had been used as a field hospital during the battle of Gettysburg. The two administrators were taking the elevator from the fourth floor down to the first floor; the elevator passed the first floor and continued on to the basement. When the doors opened, the administrators could scarcely believe their eyes.
What was a storage space was replaced by a scene from the hospital: dead and dying men were lying about on the floor; blood soaked doctors and nurses were rushing about desperately trying to save their lives. No sound emanated from the ghostly vision, but both administrators saw it clearly. Horrified, they frantically pushed the elevator button to close the doors. As the doors closed, one of the nurses looked up and directly at them, seeming to see them, with a pleading expression on her face.
One of the most famous stories is that of the Blue Boy, a ghost of Gettysburg College. The young boy supposedly haunts what was once a women's dormitory. After escaping from the local orphanage, two girls hid the boy on a window ledge in the winter during a room check. When they returned more than an hour later, the only sign of him were footprints. The boy's ghost has been seen by past occupants of the room with blue lips as if he was frozen in the winter weather. That window is known to fly open during storms, even while locked.