HS Day 6: Unsolved Mysteries “Ghosts of Gettysburg”

Today, we’re talking about something near and dear to my heart.  Well, that’s not entirely true, but it is something I’ve experienced first hand, so that’s near and dear enough to warrant mentioning.  We’re talking about ghosts in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, home of the bloodiest battle in the Civil War.  I can’t think of any better medium to use to discuss this than Unsolved Mysteries, so let’s get cracking.

Here’s your link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwVY01dkG6o&feature=related


If you want to get creeped out quickly, enlist the help of Robert Stack and the atmospheric Unsolved Mysteries music.  I said before, Stack could make a dinner menu sound creepy and he’s super effective when talking about the death of thousands of soldiers.  Pictures of their dead bodies only add to the mystique.

If you don’t know the history of Gettysburg, go read a book.  Might I suggest one by Mark Nesbitt?  He’s an author, a historian and a handle bar moustache enthusiast.

Mark discusses his theory on why Gettysburg is so haunted.  He claims that the overwhelming amount of emotional stress that went along with the high number of casualties has made Gettysburg a prime destination for restless spirits.  Most of the ghost sightings come from Civil War Re-enactors, you know, those crazy people who dress up in 1860’s garb and fire fake guns at each other for fun.  One such man is Ray Hock.

Ray Hock's glasses are actually the windshield of a 1978 Chrysler Lebaron.

Ray thinks he “seen a ghost” once while taking a break during the re-enactment.  He and a friend were approached by a haggard looking man in attire Ray swears had to be authentic.  Ray also goes on to describe the man as smelling really bad.

It's Col. Gunkbeard Stinkybritches

Hock says the man gave him ammunition rounds, and then promptly disappeared.  The tale gets stranger, because live ammunition hasn’t been allowed in Gettysburg in over 100 years.  Hock had the ammunition analyzed and it was found that it was authentic Civil War era ammo, likely from 1863.

We move on to our next encounter, from 1993, the 130th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.  A group of friends were in town for re-enactments, and decided to hike the battlefields at night, along a creek known as Bloody Run.  If you’re wondering if re-enactments are the only thing people do for fun in Gettysburg, they are.  I’ve been to Gettysburg and that’s all there is to do and there’s even less to do in the winter.  But no one told me that!  Oh, right, where were we?  Ah yes, the group of friends.

Let's go back to my truck, get high and listen to Candlebox.

Richard Knapp and his wife broke off from the group, and stumbled upon a man lying along the trail.  This man was dressed in civil war grab and appeared to be severely injured.  He was also transparent.  Richard ways overcome with emotion and couldn’t continue on the hike.  Richard has a tremendous beard.

After Richard’s departure, the rest of the group carried on, led by Richard’s brother David.  One of the members of the group saw another ghost amongst the trees, but it quickly disappeared.  Replacing it was the sound of cannon fire, drums and men marching.  As the sounds got closer to them, David decided it was a good time for the group to leave.  Where’s your sense of adventure David!?

It's probably hidden somewhere in that ridiculous mullet.

Our final tale comes not from the battlefield, but rather from a civil war era hospital.  Given the amount of causalities and small size of Gettysburg, doctors were overwhelmed and unable to provide proper medical care to most injured soldiers.  The result?  Amputations for everybody!  Once such hospital is now part of the Gettysburg College campus, and two staff members found out first hand that the dead may still roam the halls.  Actually, that’s not entirely accurate.  See, two staff members were working late one night, and took the elevator down to the first floor.  Instead of stopping, it continued on to the basement, where they saw a fully functioning civil war era hospital.  So the dead don’t really roam the halls, they occupy a floor.

Either that, or the building has serious Amish infestation.

Now, this story isn’t entirely reliable, as the two staff members in question were so shaken by the incident that they’ve never granted anyone a formal interview.  Instead, we have to settle for the campus security guard they reported the incident to.  Of course, his name is Timon and he has the same ridiculous moustache as Mark Nesbitt, so I’m not sure how credible he is.

Hakuna Matata

The debate about the existence of ghosts rages on, and if you’re skeptical, I highly doubt an episode of Unsolved Mysteries will change your mind.  I will say however, that if you’re looking to experience ghostly phenomenon for yourself, Gettysburg is an excellent place to start.  As I said, I’ve been to Gettysburg and explored the battlefields at night.  I had no ghostly encounters there, heard no cannon fire, saw no apparitions, but hundreds of people claim they have.

My strange encounter in Gettysburg came late at night, as my friend and I were heading to bed at the allegedly haunted inn we were staying at.  We both heard a loud knock at the door and immediately opened it, but found nothing there.  We quickly searched the halls, but could find no one who may have been responsible.  It’s not the most bone chilling ghost story of all time, but it was a yet another strange, unexplainable occurrence, in a place that is steeped in ghostly history.  If you ever visit Gettysburg, maybe you’ll come away with a story of your own.  Just don’t go in January, it’s terrible.

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