Well what is
this that I can’t see? Ice cold hands taking
hold of me. I am Death none can excel; I open the
door to Heaven or Hell....
-O Death, Traditional
Many of the people
who enter the Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking
Tours® Headquarters to purchase tickets for
the tour inquire whether they will be allowed to
enter a haunted house.
The answer to that
question is simple...and ominous: “You’re
already standing in one.”
All who take the
tours pass, usually without knowing it, through
the doors of our own haunted house. Customers are
allowed to wander through areas where visions of
spirit orbs and spectral children dwell; where long
dead residents or perhaps soldiers, true to their
duty unto death (and beyond) still practice their
defunct lives and manifest themselves by talking,
touching and interacting with employees and visitors
alike. Other areas in the house, off limits to visitors
for very good reasons, have revealed childlike,
ghostly, spirit orbs playing games and taunting
one another, and unseen hands playing tricks on
employees. True, documented events have happened
and continue to happen within the walls that once
contained the bodies and souls of Confederate soldiers
and Gettysburg townsfolk alike.
Even before reports
of paranormal happenings began to emerge about the
Tour Headquarters, employees began calling it “The
Ghost House.” After the last six years inhabiting
it, all who work there have realized that the name
“The Ghost House” is entirely appropriate...and
all too prophetic.1
In 1997 Ghosts of
Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Tours®-established
in Gettysburg in 1994 as the very first ghost tour
company-purchased a building on the corner of Baltimore
and Breckenridge Streets from which to conduct tours.
Like many of the historic structures in town, it
was built in stages. In 1834 a small building used
as a carriage trimmer’s shop appears on the
tax rolls. According to the Pennsylvania Historical
Resource Survey prepared by historian Elwood W.
Christ, Jacob Heck was assessed $175, probably for
the “one story frame shop” on his property
in 1834. By 1837 he was assessed 2.6 times that
much for improvements on the property. This would
correspond with the building of the two-story brick
section that fronts Breckenridge Street. That documentation
makes it one of the older structures in the borough
On September 24,
1849 Andrew Woods, a carriage trimmer and dealer,
and his wife Sarah purchased the property and continued
to own it through the maelstrom outside their door
known to history as the Battle of Gettysburg. The
next increase in tax assessment does not appear
until 1888 and corresponds to the construction of
the section that faces Baltimore Street.
So to visualize the
structure as it appeared during the battle, one
must stand on Breckenridge Street and erase in their
mind the windowless eastern gabled section to the
According to Christ’s
report, in July of 1863, the house became part of
the Confederate battlelines which stretched through
the town. “The second story of the house afforded
sharpshooters a vantage point from which to harass
Federal troops in the vicinity of the Rupp Tannery
and along the Emmitsburg Road towards the Dobbin
House.” So, picture rifled-muskets emerging
from the windows on the balcony roaring with fire
and smoke, then being withdrawn to be reloaded.
In fact, to the right of the middle door, there
is a chip in the brick, made by a minie ball from
the Federal troops near the cemetery.
Christ also reported
that the Henry Comfort house, immediately to the
north and the James Pierce house, across Breckenridge
Street on the corner, both became temporary field
hospitals, which would indicate that Andrew Woods
may have seen his share of wounded and dead in and
around his house as well.
Picture then, as
you stand looking at the balconied section, the
two story structure with Confederate soldiers wandering
in and out, sharpshooters at the second floor windows
firing away at Yankees several hundred yards behind
you, and wounded rebels making their way into the
house or down into the cellar of the structure to
rest until their turn on the operating table.
Some would eventually
be transported, either by their own army to safety
in the South, or by the Union soldiers as prisoners
to the Camp Letterman Hospital. Others would never
leave the house on the corner-at least as living
beings. Some, it appears, left a remnant of themselves
to remain within “The Ghost House” to
But to help your
imagination, we have an eyewitness account of what
it looked like just two days after the battle.
Leonard Marsden Gardner
wrote Sunset Memories: A Retrospect of a Life lived
during the last Seventy Five Years of the Nineteenth
Century 1831-1901. In it he described Gettysburg
as it appeared on Sunday, July 5, 1863:
had been removed but the dead lay unburied and the
ground was strewn with abandoned muskets, knapsacks,
canteens and other accoutrements of war. The houses
were marked with shot and shell on both sides of
the street. Some with ugly gaps in the wall and
others with a well defined hole where the cannon
ball entered. A frame building particularly attracted
my attention. It stood in a position facing the
Union front and the weather boarding from top to
within a few feet of the ground was literally honey-combed
with the minie balls. No boards were torn or displaced
but thousands of neat round holes marked the places
where the balls entered.”
his narrative, specifically describing the corner
upon which “The Ghost House” stands:
I came to the point where Breckenridge Street connects
with Baltimore. There a barricade was thrown across
the street. Through an opening at one end I led
my horse and remounting I rode on down the street.
A few persons only could be seen on the pavements.
A scene of desolation and death was presented all
the way. The unburied dead and the mangled remains
of human bodies, mingled with debris of broken gun
carriages, muskets, bayonets, and swords, which
lay around in confusion on that lonely street in
the quiet Sabbath morning, was one of those pictures
of desolation which will never fade from my mind.”2
On March 26, 1866,
Woods sold the house and lot to a cobbler and his
wife for $1,000 cash. David Kitzmiller and his wife
Mary owned the house for 26 years. When they moved
into the house, they brought with them at least
one child, Charles B. Kitzmiller. At least two Kitzmiller
children-Eva Jane and William Henry-were born in
the house. And at least one Kitzmiller offspring
associated with the house died: William Henry died
on February 1, 1899 at 24 years of age. There were
perhaps more deaths in the house.
A mysterious entry
in the Kitzmiller genealogical record in the list
of the children of David and Mary Ann states, “Babes-number
unspecified.” As well, while not giving a
specific date of death, first-born George Edward
was baptized just 12 days after his birth (when
the Kitzmillers usually waited a year or so before
baptizing their offspring) indicating that his survival
was in question. But there is no death date nor
burial site specified for George Edward, nor names,
dates of birth or death for the “Babes-number
unspecified.” They seem to just disappear
from the records of the family and the house.
If a visitor to the
Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking Tour®
Headquarters would like to walk in the footsteps
of a near tragedy, they can walk behind the property
into the alley behind the Carriage House and trace
the near dragging to death, in 1880, of 15-year-old
According to a local
newspaper, The York Springs Comet, “...Charles
Kitzmiller (son of David)...living on South Baltimore
Street [in the Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight
Walking Tour® Headquarters], Gettysburg, met
with what might have proved a serious accident.
He was herding a cow in the alley, having a strap
attached to the chain. He thoughtlessly looped the
strap around his waist when off started the cow
and dragged the boy from above Comfort’s shop
[the house just north of the Headquarters] out to
Buckinridge [sic, i.e. Breckenridge] Street and
thence to Baltimore Street, passing Pierce’s
Corner [Southwest corner of Baltimore and Breckenridge].”3
Someone caught the
cow and released the young man before he sustained
anything more than just a few bruises
In 1888, David and
Mary Ann built the Baltimore Street-facing section
and replaced the outbuilding on the alley with a
larger structure-now the Carriage House-between
1907 and 1912.
David died in 1914,
and upon Mary’s death the house passed on
to the surviving children who sold it out of the
As with any history,
mysteries remain. As with nearly every historic
house in Gettysburg, mysterious happenings and unexplainable
events abide, perhaps as evidence of an unsettled
past and an uneasy present.
As you enter the house, you might be surprised.
It certainly doesn’t look like a “Ghost
House.” But in that first room a number of
dark, unexplainable, paranormal events have occurred.
Corinne, a manager
at the Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking
Tours® was alone in the house one night. She
was between tours and the phone had finally stopped
ringing for a moment. The place was quiet...until
she heard something entirely out of place. Echoing
softly from the dark stairwell across the room-and
apparently across decades of time as well-came footsteps.
She heard them lightly descend, one step at a time,
and could actually follow the sounds, as the footfalls
came slowly down the stairs and stopped at the bottom.
She peered into the darkened hall, but saw no one.
She bravely walked around the information desk and
cautiously peeked around the corner to the foot
of the stairs. No one-at least no one visible-was
Two hours later,
she was talking to a person at the desk and was
listening rather absentmindedly, letting her mind
wander a bit, unknowingly putting her mind in a
state where it is more receptive to the supernatural.
Slowly, from the darkness at the bottom of the stairs,
out of nothing, there materialized a small boy,
age 6 or 7. “He had dirty blonde hair,”
she recalled, and described him wearing a light
shirt with dark pants and suspenders. He stood there,
looking into the front room, at the oddly out-of-place
(at least to him) information desk and strangely
dressed (again from his point in time) people. Then,
as suddenly as he had entered this strange world,
he left it, before Corinne’s eyes could pick
up any more detail of what was clearly an impossibility
anywhere else but in “The Ghost House.”
Beginning in the
spring of 2002, a visible, tangible, moving reminder
of someone-or something-has frightened a number
of employees as they freshened up in the employee’s
restroom, tucked beneath the stairs to the second
floor. First it happened to Katie, a manager at
the Ghost Tour Company.
She was taking advantage
of a lull between customers to freshen up. Another
employee remained at the ticket sales counter. As
Katie stood next to the closed bathroom door washing
her hands, the small brass door handle began making
a small clicking and squeaking sound which accompanies
its movement. She had dried her hands within a second
and reached down and turned the handle herself,
expecting to see her co-worker standing in front
of the door playing with the doorknob.
She opened the door.
No one-at least no one visible in this world-was
standing there. She walked the two or three steps
into the main room to see her co-worker seated behind
the desk. Katie didn’t even have to ask whether
she had been playing a trick: there had not been
enough time for the co-worker to move from in front
of the bathroom door all the way across the room
and behind the desk.
In June, 2002, it
This time Corinne was in the restroom. No sooner
had she entered when the handle began to rattle
and squeak. As she stood next to it rinsing her
hands and watching it, the knob began to slowly,
methodically twist. She grabbed the handle and threw
open the door to discover the perpetrator-and no
one was there. And it happened to yet a third employee:
again the familiar squeak and rattle; as she looked
to the small handle, it turned; exiting the room
In October of 1997,
psychic Karyol Kirkpatrick toured the house and
recorded her psychic impressions which, when compared
to the documented history-and recent paranormal
One of Karyol’s
first impressions was that of a child whom she said
had died upstairs. We would upon occasions, she
said, hear marbles rolling across a wooden floor
(even though it was now carpeted) and witness other
evidence of a child trying to regain a childhood
that was cut short by ever-ravenous Death.
There is that mysterious
entry in the Kitzmiller genealogical record of “Babes-number
unspecified.” And their first-born George
Edward baptized so soon after his birth as if he
was not expected to live the usual year they waited
before baptism. Could the child Corinne saw be the
same Karyol felt had died here? Could it be some
long-dead child playing with the doorknob?
Indeed, there was
even more recent evidence of a child spirit’s
playfulness in the very room where you stand to
get your tickets.
Again, Corinne was
working behind the desk along with another employee.
She felt a strange touch at her back; then a tug;
then she felt the back of her sweater pulled several
inches away from her back. She turned to look over
her shoulder and wondered how, without moving, she
could have hooked her sweater on something. But
there was nothing upon which her sweater could have
Just then she saw
her co-worker, eyes wide with astonishment. She
blurted out to Corinne, “I just saw the back
of your sweater pull out all by itself!”
Later that evening
Corinne was closing up for the night, alone, at
about 10:00 p.m. Like all older houses, “The
Ghost House” has its share of creaks and groans.
Creaks and groans are one thing-but witnessing something
supernatural is another thing entirely.
She was turning out
the lights. The house, as the lights are slowly
being extinguished, does have a certain “feeling”
to it: as it grows dark, you get the inkling that
you need to hurry, that someone-or something-can’t
wait for you to leave so that they may get on with
their existence-if that’s what one could call
it -in peace.
Moving from behind
the desk and into the next room, she casually looked
into the darkened stairwell. Her eye was caught
by what she described as a small, glowing “cloud,”
-ectoplasm-ascending the stairs. It was almost as
if, at 10:00 p.m., some ancient voice, not heard
on this earth for a century, had called, Time for
all good children to come up to bed. And they obeyed,
like the good little children they once were.
The upper floors
of the Ghosts of Gettysburg Candlelight Walking
Tour® Headquarters are closed to our customers,
but the most active area up there is too dangerous
to visit anyway. The stairway to the attic is narrow
and winding and the only light is activated by a
string at the top of the stairs. Even when your
eyes grow accustomed to the dark, lights dance eerily
from the openings under the antique tin shingles.
The roof is too low to stand upright anywhere in
the attic, and, although hot air rises into the
attic, it seems that whenever you ascend the stairs
you are met by a cold draft on its way out. One
could easily become disoriented and imagine things
up there. But Rick Fisher, renowned ghost hunter
and paranormal investigator, doesn’t need
an imagination to see ghosts in “The Ghost
House.” He has caught them on video tape!
Within the last two
years, Rick has used his Sony Digital Handicam to
videotape strange phenomena in this house.
His technique is
to set his Handicam on a tripod in the oldest part
of the attic, late at night when all activity-human
activity, that is-has ceased in the house, turn
the camera on, then leave. He returns when the battery
is about to die, then rewinds the tape to examine
it for any anomalies.
Rick is a skeptic,
and so is careful to analyze in detail what he records.
So far he has had three distinct recordings of voices-known
to researchers as Electronic Voice Phenomenon, or
“EVP”-in an attic where no one was.
One night, after
placing his camcorder in the attic over the oldest
section of the building, he returned to analyze
it. Out of nowhere, recorded on the tape, came the
frantic voice of a little girl trying to communicate
what may have been the answers to all our fears
“I’m alive!” came her voice across
the Great Chasm.
Then, shortly after that came a man’s breathless
voice calling, plaintively: “Emily!”
Listening more carefully,
Rick then thought he heard the little girl’s
voice say her own name, “Emily.”
In another taping
session, there was paranormal evidence that the
house-and particularly the attic-was used during
the battle. On Rick’s videotape could be heard
a distinctly frightened male voice imploring, “Don’t
miss!” Then comes a different man’s
voice immediately afterward commanding, “Get
me my gun!”
And finally, Rick
may have captured the only voices that accompany
a video of spirits in the attic of “The Ghost
House.” In this tape one can see, as well
as hear, spirit entities communicate!
It was Halloween
night, 2000. Rick’s camera was set up in the
attic, recording the last minutes of the tape. In
the background can be seen the louvered window in
the oldest part of the attic. Suddenly, from the
lower right hand part of the screen come two white,
glowing orbs-what some believe is spirit energy
itself-one following the other, rising toward the
upper left corner. Listen closely and you will hear
a playful, childlike voice teasingly whispering,
Could these be the
spirits of the children Karyol Kirkpatrick sensed
remaining in the house, the mysterious “Babes-number
unspecified,” of the genealogical records,
still enjoying a game of tag stolen from them by
Yet another incident
occurred to verify the existence-or non-existence-of
children no longer living on the second floor of
“The Ghost House.” Katie would keep
her dog, “Chessie” on the second floor
while she was working. Chessie loves her tennis
ball and Katie was playing “fetch” with
Chessie. She’d roll the ball along the floor
and Chessie would retrieve it for more fun. Finally
Chessie tired of the game. Katie rolled the ball
to the other side of the room and Chessie just looked
at it and lay down to rest. About thirty seconds
later, both Katie and Chessie were surprised to
see the ball, which had been stationary across the
room, begin to roll towards the dog, finally ending
up next to her. Someone in that room, after waiting
to play for perhaps a century or more, apparently
was not ready to cease playing with the dog.
And, like all children,
they-whoever it is that remain in the house when
everyone else is gone for the day-sometimes can
Chessie is not a
small dog, and like all dogs, is faithful and protective,
confronting and barking at large men who she feels
could do her family harm. Yet children can sometimes
“not know when to quit.”
On her lunch break,
Katie went upstairs to spend some time with Chessie,
since she had been too busy to visit her since she
got to work. Katie got upstairs, looked all around
for the dog and couldn’t find her. She checked
the door, and it was secure, so she couldn’t
have run out. Calling the dog’s name, she
finally saw that Chessie was hiding under the bed,
a place she’d never gone before. It was as
if, for the two or three hours Katie had left Chessie,
the unseen “children” had hounded her,
teasing, pulling her tail, playing, until the dog
just had to get away. To this day the dog is visibly
uncomfortable whenever she is on the second floor
of “The Ghost House.”
Walking through the
small, arched doorway under the sign marked “To
Tours” places you in the Civil War period
section of the house. Erase in your mind the bookshelves,
fan, and electric lights. Replace them all with
gaslights or candles, perhaps some 19th Century
furnishings, and antique carpets. But make sure
that some of the carpets are bloodstained. Place
Confederate soldiers in the corners and leaning
up against the walls, exhausted, dirty, perhaps
bloody, smelling like sulfur (from the black powder
they used), sweat, and fear.
mentioned during her visit that she “saw injured
persons and blood” and a couple of men hiding
in the basement below your feet. She heard music
and instruments. (It was common for fighting men
of all eras to amuse themselves-when not fighting
for their lives-with song and easily carried instruments
like harmonicas.) She got the impression of men
from Georgia and Virginia in the house. (Documentation
proves that Georgians were the troops occupying
this section of Gettysburg. Virginians may have
straggled here from their lines on Long Lane just
a few hundred yards to the west.) And she never
mentioned Northern troops as being present.
She saw a woman in
dark clothing who, she stated, “did not have
it all together,” but only as a ruse. She
had a mission as a secret courier, acted crazy,
and no one paid her any attention. She mentioned
a woman named “Mary,” who loved cooking-Karyol
smelled mince pie-and she “received”
the name “James,” and heard a man talking
incessantly about God.
Once through the
first room of the Civil War section, you enter into
the second (of three) rooms. Just to the right of
the doorway was seen, what many people refer to
as a “Shadow Person,” or dark ghost.
An associate of the
Ghosts of Gettysburg Tours® had just finished
spending some time in that room. It was late at
night and the building was closing for the evening.
An unusually large number of customers had passed
through that night since there had been a book signing.
Researchers have discovered that, in order to increase
your chances of photographing spirit entities, you
must first fill a room with people, then empty it.
It seems as if the entities return, after a large
crowd has left, to see what was going on. Such is
just what happened that night. The associate was
behind the exit door pushing it closed and had turned
toward the far wall. He was alone in the room...but
not for long.
Out of the corner
of his eye he saw the figure of a small woman, seemingly
cloaked in a long, dark, flowing dress with a wide-brimmed,
black hat, standing in the corner where the counter
meets the wall. He stood for a brief moment, seeing
her out of his side vision, afraid to look directly
at her, since he realized that entities can sometimes
only be seen through peripheral vision. Indeed,
when he turned to confront the dark lady, she vanished.
Could it have been
the mysterious “secret courier” who
acted insane as a ruse that Karyol talked about?
Or was it “Mary” the cook Karyol mentioned.
Remember, in the long history of the house, there
was a Mary whose last name was Kitzmiller, who lived
in the house for years and years....
Katie also had a
frightening experience with one of the Shadow People.
It was Halloween weekend, one of our busiest, when
she came into the Carriage House after attempting
to close up “The Ghost House.” She was
visibly shaken. She still held the day’s paperwork
in her hand, which was trembling. She said nothing
for a second or two, trying to find the words, then
blurted out, “There’s a large dark...”
Again she searched for the words. “Scary...man...or
something in the book room.”My first thought
was that we were going to have to call the police
to arrest someone who refused to leave after closing.
But something in Katie’s face told me that
this was no ordinary visitor.
“Did he leave?”
know,” she replied. “The lights were
all off and I was walking past the book shelves,
and there was this huge, dark, form standing there
that I had to walk around. Instead of going into
the office, I came right over here.”
accompanied me to check out the intruder. By the
time we got there and turned on the lights, whatever
it was had vanished. Katie pointed out exactly where
it had stood in front of the book shelves.
It is when things
are busiest in their dwelling-places that the spirits
are most active. Already dispossessed once out of
their bodies, they react when they are again dispossessed
of their homes...
The current kitchen
area is the oldest section of the house, built as
the original carriage trimmer’s shop in 1834.
It is closed to the public...and for good reason.
Karyol felt what
she described as a great deal of strong, negative
energy coming from one particular corner of the
room nearest the door leading to the outside porch.
Rick Fisher, during
one of his late-night investigations, had just set
up his Handicam and aimed it at that corner of the
room. Before he had an opportunity to turn the device
on to record, he saw, through the small viewing
screen, what he described as a huge, bright, basketball-sized
spirit orb emerge from the door of the kitchen and
rush directly at him and his camera before veering
off. He said it was the largest orb he had ever
did not begin with the purchase of the house on
the corner of Baltimore and Breckenridge Streets
in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania by a company committed
to the preservation and re-telling of stories of
the paranormal. Ghosts may have been “living”
in the house all along, throughout the fourteen
decades since the Battle of Gettysburg. What we
are sure of is the supernatural occurrences we can
document from the recent past...and those yet to
come in the house dedicated to the Ghosts of Gettysburg.
No part of the contents
of this excerpt from Ghost Of Gettysburg Vi may
be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means
without the written consent of Ghosts of Gettysburg.
Ghost Tour Promises “Thrills and Chills”
Nesbitt’s Ghosts of Fredericksburg
Tours, the newest ghost tour in the Mid-Atlantic
Region, has set up headquarters in historic
downtown Fredericksburg, VA. From a past
that stretches back to pre-Colonial times,
to the horror of being the focal point of
four major Civil War battles that claimed
over 100,000 casualties, Fredericksburg
has been called the most haunted city, per
capita, in the entire United States.
walking tour begins in the courtyard of
the haunted Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tour
headquarters located at 623 Caroline Street.
down darkened Caroline St. and hear tales
-- long dead Fredericksburg residents who
still inhabit the many historic buildings;
-- bizarre “renovations” that
could only be done from beyond the grave;
-- ghostly footprints that suddenly appeared,
then just as suddenly, disappeared;
-- the 18th Century phantom harpist and
-- the frustrated lover who still strolls
along the “Ghost Walk” once
every seven years...
by the historic tavern where
-- the original owner still makes his presence
-- a mysterious “floating glow”
has been seen in the tavern room;
-- someone unseen pulls upon women’s
the building where
-- a woman allegedly hanged herself after
being exposed as a Yankee collaborator;
-- candles extinguish themselves;
-- silverware rearranges itself;
-- diners are surprised by an unexpected
by the church where the “Woman in
White” was first seen in 1858, and
again, just a year ago...
opening is set for Memorial Weekend!
depart Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00PM.
For more information and reservations go
miss out on the most unique tour available
in night-time Fredericksburg!
More History, More Battles, More Ghosts!
of Fredericksburg Tours
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