THE GHOST HOUSE
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
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 of Gettysburg.
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 right.
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 this day.
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:
“The wounded 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.”
Gardner continues his narrative, specifically
describing the corner upon which “The
Ghost House” stands:
“Passing on 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 Charles Kitzmiller.
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 family.
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
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 there.
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
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
In June, 2002, it happened again.
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
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 revealed...no one.
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 events-are remarkable.
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 been stuck.
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 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, “Catch me!”
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
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 get over-bearing.
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.
Karyol Kirkpatrick 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?” I asked.
“I don’t 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.”
Reluctantly, Katie 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 seen.
Supernatural events 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.
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 battlelines, 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. . .