Monday, October 29, 2012

Coffin Hop 2012: Ghosts in Gettysburg

Last year, we took a family vacation to Gettysburg, PA. Lucky for me I have children who are interested in history and educational trips so going to Gettysburg was a no-brainer. (My teen daughter and her dad are also huge fans of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter so, for them, it was a fan event.)

Although we planned all our activities around historical touring, I had a persistent ulterior motive: ghost hunting.

Gettysburg is the site of the three-day battle that ended the Civil War. It was here that Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address. It was also here that tens of thousands of men died, their lives cut short by the tragedies of war. We saw bullet holes in buildings, field upon field of solemn memorials...and about a gazillion places offering scenic ghost tours.

Do you know how hard it was for me to pass them up? Wednesday is my favorite day of the week because it's a Ghost Hunters marathon on Syfy. I LOVE scaring myself. My family, on the other hand, aren't so much into ghost hunting. I really had to bite my tongue and soldier on through a week of no ghost hunting in one of the most haunted towns in the country.

The ghosts of Gettysburg must have sensed my disappointment, though, because, when we didn't go looking for them, they came looking for us.

Here is one of my favorite ghost stories...

As I said, while in Gettysburg, we planned several historic tours. In addition to a guided bus tour of the battlefields, we also visited each of the many museums in town. There was one particular museum that my daughter did not want to visit: The Soldiers' National Museum.

The Soldiers' National Museum is located in the former home of the National Soldier's Orphan Homestead. It's also the site of a spooktacular ghost tour where the brave (or foolish) can descend into the cellars to collection of battlefield relics. It took us a long time to get through the museum and my darling daughter hated the whole thing.
see where the cruel matron chained her children in crude dank dungeons--and worse. My daughter was NOT interested in running into the ghosts of tortured orphans.

I tried a comforting approach when encouraging her to go through the museum. "When we go in," I told her, "Just tell yourself we are a family who is looking to adopt a new brother or sister. That way, if any spirit attaches itself to us, it will be happy, not scary. When we get back to the door, the spirit will pass through and go on to find peace."

She stuck out her chin in stubborn defiance and grumbled at me.

The museum was neat. It had a life-sized scene of soldiers with cannons at the beginning and then went on to display artifacts, detailed dioramas, and a huge
She declared she had a headache when we first walked in. Then, as we progressed through the tour, she developed a stomach ache. Her maladies progressed to the point where, by the end of the tour, my husband carried her: she was completely flopped over his shoulder. At twelve, she was already long and lanky and her arms and legs just hung, listless. She was a total wreck.

I couldn't get her to look in the dungeon display at the end, literally a hole in the floor over in the corner. It seems to be an afterthought to the museum but, remembering what I'd told my daughter, I wasn't going to leave without at least acknowledging those poor unfortunates. My poor child moaned and groaned until we walked outside...

...and she had an instant, miraculous recovery.

I passed the whole thing off as her way of protesting the whole visit. Until, that is, when I looked at the pictures I took along the way.

This is the first photo I took in the museum, where my daughter's headache began progressing into her almost-coma. Look closely between the second and third figures. Although we passed through a lot of dark and dusty rooms in the museum, this is the only orb image I captured. If it had been dust, it would have appeared in other pictures--and I took close to thirty in areas like this one.

Take another look, this time at the zoomed image.

Could it be? Did my daughter attract a child's trapped spirit with the promise of a new home and new life? Did she lead it to peace when she took it out of the museum with her? I like to think so.

Do you have a ghost story and maybe even a photo to share? I'd love to hear your tales!

The Giveaway

The giveaway is a two-part deal. Fill out the Rafflecopter form to enter a drawing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Then, if you love ghost hunting as much as I do, leave a comment with your tale. Anyone who leaves a haunting in a comment will be entered to win a special prize: a skeleton to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. I picked up this fella in the Mexican Pavilion of Epcot Center on my trip to Disney last week. To qualify for the calaca giveaway, you need to also need to fill out the Rafflecopter form.

Have fun, good luck, and thanks for ghost hunting with me. To go back to the main list of Coffin Hoppers, go here.


  1. We have several haunted places in Lima, the most famous the TB hospital. You aren't supposed to visit, for obvious reasons... it's abandoned, floor is rotting... it's dangerous. And then there are the ghosts. They are shy, since they never come out where you can see them, but you can hear them following you as you walk through the building. You ever hear the rattle of a ghost with a persistent cough?

  2. Oooh...creepy! I love it!

    Do you know of anyplaces online I can read more about this haunted hospital?

    I'd love to know more...

    Thanks for sharing your tale...glad you visited!

  3. I went to Gettysburg once, and the whole place really does seem haunted!

  4. My home province of Nova Scotia is full of ghosts; my favourite story is about the three masted ghost ship that haunts the Northumberland Strait. You should check out my Coffin Hop post for tomorrow, I'm reviewing a book of ghostly Nova Scotia tales called The Lunenburg Werewolf.

  5. What do you think of that orb picture? I never saw a dust mote with a face before. :)

  6. Ash--liked your post. And that museum sounds neat, I'll have to check it out. With your interests, you might want to visit Eastern State Prison in Philadelphia. It's cool as a historical tour, it's incredibly spooky (it's been featured on several ghost hunting TV shows), and they put on an excellent haunted house during this time of year.

    1. Funny you should mention that place, Paul--my dad talked about the rison just the other day and said he wanted to go on a Halloween tour of it.

      I'm thinking it would just be the two of us...the rest of the family would abandon us in favor of Chinatown's bakeries and noodle shops.

  7. I took my students to Gettysburg a few years back; the whole area where the battle was fought seemed peaceful yet full of sentience, somehow. I may have entered the wrong raffle (stupid iPad), but I still hope I win!

    1. It is an absolutely beautiful place, to be sure...hard to imagine it 150 years ago.

      We're planning to camp with the Boy Scouts there this July for the anniversary and enormous reinactments so I may yet get a chance for a ghost tour--prolly with the other Scout moms. :) The boys will be too chicken.

  8. On our last trip to Jamaica we took an evening tour of Rose Hall. We didn't see any ghosts but when I looked at my pictures later there were some orbs in them. I took some pictures of the crypt outside and there was an orb directly over it.

    1. That is so cool...I love looking at orbs on pictures, even when I know it's just dust. Some of them, however, can't be explained away so easily...

      One day I'll post my favorites. One picture I took in an old school had so many you'd think it was Lawrence Welk and his bubble machine. :)

  9. The best ghost hunt I ever went on wasn't a hunt at all. I stayed over at a friend's place, and the friend was trying to scare me by saying her basement was haunted. I hadn't come prepared to hunt, but I did the best I could. Nothing much happened except for a few noises that I couldn't confirm or debunk. I fell asleep on the couch down there, and was thrown off at about 4 a.m. I don't mean that I rolled off, I mean I was shoved off from underneath. I looked under the couch for a prankster, and found nothing. Not ashamed to say that I ran.

    Happy Halloween!

    1. Ooh, everyday hauntings are the BEST--they are what makes you afraid of the dark! It's one thing to be in a famously haunted place but another thing altogether to be in someone's home. That's when you realize the scary things can get you ANYWHERE. You're not really safe.

      I think you totally deserve my little amigo de Mexico...I'll shoot you an email, Jason!


I'd love to hear from you!