From nearly the first day the Ghosts of Gettysburg tour company bought the Civil War Era house on the corner of Baltimore and Breckenridge Streets, strange, unexplainable events have been occurring. Doors have been opened by some unseen, helpful hand, for workmen repairing the house. Some have speculated it is the ectoplasmic hand of Jacob Heck who owned the carriage trimmer’s shop in the oldest section of the building, one laborer helping out another…across death’s door. Children have been heard, seen and felt, rattling a restroom doorknob, appearing in the stairway or in a paranormal investigator’s photo, pulling on an employee’s sweater, or pushing a customer out a door. Communications have been established with a former owner as well as the soldiers from Georgia and Louisiana who once occupied this section of town, building a rubble barricade across Baltimore Street where it hits Breckenridge. They speak freely on digital tape recorders, resulting in “EVP” or electronic voice phenomena—the voices of the dead recorded. They utilize “ITC” or Instrumental Transcommunication—operating various electronic instruments such as phones or computers to reveal the secrets denied to us by their deaths. But one recent event piqued the curiosity of two veteran guides and frightened an entire tour and their leaders.
On a weekend in late April 2010, Amy , our guide with the most years with the company, was leading a group of 8th Graders and their chaperones on a tour. Toward the end of the tour, it began to thunderstorm. The group was close enough to the Tour Headquarters that, even though the building was closed, she could use the covered porch for her last few stories. Amy’s stories were dramatically punctuated by flashes of lightning. She told the classic story of the Blue Boy of Stevens Hall whose cold blue face is seen by female occupants of the dorm floating outside their window…three stories up! She had finished that story and had just started the story of the elevator in Pennsylvania Hall which took two unwitting college administrators on a trip to a Civil War Hospital in the cellar. The series of e-mails from Amy will explain what happened best:
“We made it through the thunder and lightning storm. Just wondered, who was that STOMPING through the Ghost Office when we were in the courtyard??? Someone who wanted to go home? If it was a ghost—it was a loud insistent ghost. Got the group going!”
The e-mail was referred to me by Katie, our manager, who assured me that when the storm hit and Amy and her group were on the porch, she had locked up the office and set the alarm. I wrote back to Amy, telling her that no one had been inside the house when she had arrived, and asked what it sounded like.
In her return e-mail she admitted that she thought maybe it was an employee trying to scare them into leaving the porch. But whatever it was seemed to be able to appear, vanish and reappear in a different place virtually instantly, stomping its feet persistently:
“At first it sounded like they were in the guide room/kitchen, behind the door, but then the insistent steps seemed to stomp back and forth across the length of the pre-1880 downstairs. As we were all reacting and I wondering what to do, stay or go, the sound changed, as if ‘whoever’ had very quickly gone upstairs and was now STOMPING rather insistently and very loudly overhead, back and forth, on the balcony. I couldn’t see anyone up there, and I didn’t hear any doors open. The whole change of position happened so quickly. It sounded like somebody wanted us out of there, that they had enough, we were annoying them, and we had to go. I looked to a couple chaperones and one said simply, ‘Let’s go.’”
For most of the stories see, Ghosts of Gettysburg VI, by Mark Nesbitt
Over the years since the battle, stories of scores of sightings, stranger than reality, have emerged from the quaint houses and gentle fields in and around the town of Gettysburg: Stories of sightings of these soldiers, moving again in battle lines, across the fields where they once marched. . . and died; tales of visions through a rip in time into the horrible scene of a Civil War hospital; whispers of a look at men long dead held eternally captive by duty. These apparitions -and more- come back to remind us, in one way or another that they are not to be forgotten for what they did here. . .
In research for his books, Mark Nesbitt collected hundreds of these tales of the unexplainable sightings, entity activity or those strange echoes from a time long gone that can mean only one thing: Gettysburg may very well be, acre for acre, the most haunted place in America.
Now, armed with tales from these ghost books - and with a few that aren't in the books - knowledgeable guides will take you on your choice of several evening tours through sections of town that were bloody battlefields 13 decades ago; through night-darkened streets to houses and buildings where it's not as quiet as it should be; to sites on the old Pennsylvania College campus where the slain once lay in rows, and the wounded suffered horribly, waiting to become corpses themselves; to cemeteries where the dead lie. . . sometimes not so peacefully.
Former Park Ranger Mark Nesbitt has over the years gathered many ghost stories from other park rangers, visitors and people who live in the area. Nesbitt tries to gather factual data on the stories he receives so he can offer a background as to why these ghost stories may have evolved. His stories are factual and interesting and do not just talk about battlefield soldiers, civilians alike are also involved in famous ghost stories in Gettysburg! Buy all his books, there worth it! Each has many short stories that are easy and fun to read.
Also See: 20 QUESTIONS WITH Mark Nesbitt
Author Mark Nesbitt, The Ghosts of Gettysburg stories have been seen, and/or heard, on The History Channel, A&E, The Discovery Channel, The Travel Channel, Unsolved Mysteries, Coast to Coast AM, regional television and radio programs, and in local newspapers and publications. Ghosts of Gettysburg Series received the National Paranormal Award for “Best True Hauntings Collection” and “Best ‘Local Haunt’ Guidebook”. In 2008, the readers of HauntedAmericaTours.com voted Mr. Nesbitt: #2 in the “Top 10 Ghost Hunters Paranormal Investigators” #5 in the “Top 10 Favorite Haunted Authors” Stories from the Ghosts of Gettysburg Series spawned the commercially successful Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Tours®; the most popular ghost tours in Gettysburg since 1994. The Ghosts of Gettysburg Tours was also awarded the “2008 #1 Ghost Tour in America” by the readers of HauntedAmericaTours.com. In 2006, Mr. Nesbitt opened the Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tours in Fredericksburg, VA. In 2007, Mr. Nesbitt, along with Investigative Medium Laine Crosby, founded Dead On Productions (www.deadonproductions.net); a company dedicated to the creation of unique programming combining historical documentary with paranormal reality and adventure. Dead On Productions also syndicates original shows by independent producers. Shows are sold online as podcasts.
The duo also co-host the talk show Ghost Talkers. The show includes interviews with psychics, authors, historians, and paranormal investigators. The first season’s topics include: unpublished Gettysburg ghost stories, capturing electronic voice phenomenon, psychic encounters, demonology, possessed possessions, and all things paranormal. “We noticed a void in the market- audiences’ desires were not being met,” said executive producer Laine Crosby, an ex-marketing executive who now works as an Investigative Medium. “Although national cable networks have begun to offer quality programming about the paranormal, with the exception of the random podcast, the Internet seems to be dead silent. We are the first non-television network to launch this unique programming in the high-tech world.” www.ghostchannel.tv