After spending two days in Connecticut at the SGRA ParaCon, my partner Amy and I headed off to Gettysburg. As a rule, I am not much for pleasure ghost hunting since I am first and foremost a case worker. That is to say I work to end hauntings others are experiencing. However, my love for Gettysburg combined with some ideas for experiments was enough to pull me, or I should say, we, to that wonderful little place. The history alone is enough for me. Add ghosts to that and it is hard to resist. This trip would prove to be fruitful in many ways but it was also a working vacation. There was also to be one particularly amusing incident but we will get to that later.
Unlike my last trip to Gettysburg, I decided to keep a journal. In it I would record our trip, the good, the bad and everything in between. What you will read is everything that I recorded in my journal just the way it happened. Much of it came from a recorder I carried around with me to dictate equipment readings or when a good photo was obtained. So come with me on our trip to Gettysburg, 2007.
The First Day
Monday, 6/11/07 6:45pm
After two days at the ParaCon in Connecticut, we are here in Cabin #1. (Drummer Boy Camp Ground) The drive up seemed to last years yet I know this week will fly by. Time is only an illusion, I guess. As soon as we got close to Gettysburg, Amy experienced what felt like a finger or hand rub her arm and also her back. I guess that's our welcome. This happened on 3 occasions so far and may well continue. To this point, I am flying under the radar, I think.
I set up my large tape recorder only to find the batteries dead. I had tested them early this morning and they were fully charged. I hate when that happens. So, things are happening. I'll plug in the tape recorder and worry about the batteries later. They may come back to life. We are just getting settled into the cabin so we may be missing some obvious stuff. I'm hopeful that as the night progresses, things will pick up. The weather is perfect, the cabin quaint. I have lots of testing to do. Needless to say, I'll keep this up to date. I have a possible case to work on so I'll make a couple of calls. Thank God for cell phones.
Note: One experiment I was planning to try was to photograph in "black light," which is actually ultraviolet. I am hoping it attracts spirits and may increase the number of orbs we get or even produce full body apparitions.
We went to the Wheatfield. At 8:25pm we entered the field. Amy brought dowsing rods so we decided to try using them to locate a good (active) spot to camp out. As we walked, Amy continued to be touched on her arm. I was too but in my case, they were mosquitoes. I tried holding the two little rods but the right one kept turning towards my heart. Was it trying to tell me something? We ran some videos and took some pictures. Amy took the rods since we already knew where my heart was and tried her luck. She walked around using the rods and asked the spirits to show her a spot. The right rod kept turning so I tried to take a picture of her but the digital camera would not shoot. I pushed on the shutter button several times but to no avail. I turned away from her and tried to take a shot and everything worked perfectly. I turned back to Amy and pushed the shutter button but again, it would not work. Frustrating. Must have been shy ghosts.
At 8:39pm, my cell sensor began registering 4 Mg and began beeping steadily, its red light flashing. Oddly enough, Amy's cell sensor did not go off and neither did my gauss meter. Quite an anomaly. Of course you cannot rule out the possibility of a malfunction. It is always possible but anomalies are something paranormal investigators deal with all the time. I believed the spirits were drawn to us. The hair on my right arm stood up; always a good sign. (Depending where you are and what type of investigation you are doing.) We decided to set up camp on that spot. We put a blanket down and surrounded ourselves with motion detectors. We both shot some photos and Amy kept walking. I turned on my sound amplifier and placed my headphones on. I was hoping to hear something. Hear something I did: my cell sensor blared away. Oops, should have turned the sound off.
At 9:05pm, one motion detector went off and the cell sensor went up to 5Mg. None of the others registered. I had the sense we were surrounded. At 9:15pm, the meter went to zero. I mentioned it to Amy and suddenly it shot up to 5Mg. At 9:17pm, I felt something grab my left elbow. Then the muscles in my forearm began to twitch. So was I really touched? Did a ghost cause it or was it just a muscle spasm? There is no way to be sure. After that, the cell sensor dropped to 4 Mg. At 9:40pm, the cell sensor again went to 5Mg. Amy began playing a tape of Confederate songs for them.
Looking around, we realized one problem we were going to have as far as taking photos were concerned: an overwhelming number of fireflies. It almost looked like gunshots going off in the woods only with no sound. I got one nice photo with good sized orbs but it also had about a zillion little lights in it. I was beginning to feel that nature was against me. Over the next several days, I would come to believe that more and more.
Upon returning to the cabin, we took a walk and I captured two orbs on my digital. They were small and unspectacular but they were hits just the same. We played back the tape recorder I had left running. The batteries were fine. All we heard was some banging and footsteps. Had someone been in our cabin? Nothing appeared to have been touched but that meant nothing. at bedtime, the two of us put our amplifiers on and listened for awhile but neither of us heard anything unusual. That was unusual itself because we did not hear crickets or anything else for that matter.
All things considered, Day 1 had some activity. Considering the fatigue factor, we did okay. We may have missed some things that we ordinarily wouldn't. I usually go by gut instincts but after the long drive up, unpacking, setting up our equipment and so on, my gut was telling me to get some sleep. I doubt I would have noticed an entire cavalry brigade at that point. Our plans for Day 2 were to go to Devil's Den amongst other places.
The Second Day
Tuesday 6/12/07 10:02am
We're making plans for the day. We'll hit Devil's Den by day and try to walk to Little Round Top where the 20th Maine held the ground at all hazards. We'll also do some general exploration and go to the National Cemetery.
We went into Gettysburg and did a little shopping. We also went to the cemetery. Amy's camera turned itself on and off a few times. My cell phone turned off on its own. After that we went to Devil's Den and my camera was fully charged. I took a photo in a cave created by the rocks and I got a very odd picture. It had a light over 2 blue shapes. I will have to look at that one on the computer and see exactly what it is. We're getting a heavy thunderstorm today so I doubt we'll get back out. We walked through the Triangular Field and decided not to do the walk from Devil's Den to Little Round Top. Too long a hike for me, especially at such an incline. I can't imagine doing that while being shot at. So far, I got just the one photo. If the storm stops and with the electricity in the air, we may get some good photos. We might go to the Cashtown Inn. I got some really good shots up there once. Right now we are playing it by ear. It's 6:55pm and we were going to barbeque some hot dogs. That's out with this rain. Perhaps things will happen around the cabin tonight. That would be nice.
At 9:29pm, my gauss meter is reading 5Mg by the bunk beds. Perhaps we are not as alone as we think. It's reading 7Mg by the floor. We are experiencing heavy thunderstones now. At 9:31 pm, it spiked to 10 Mg by the bunk beds. A short time later, it went to zero.
The Third Day
Wednesday 6/13/07 10:07am
We are going into town. We'll do some shopping and try to sell a few books or at least make some contacts. We are thinking of trying Pickett's charge. Then again, I was going to go from Devil's Den to Little Round Top until I saw how tough a trek that would be. Tonight we will do the "black light" experiment at the High Water mark. Nothing paranormal happened except that the heat in Amy's car came on. For the record, all of our equipment is fully charged as we start out. We'll see if anything gets drained. The rain stopped early this morning but we have to make up for the lost day yesterday. The "black light" was too bright for the small cabin so that idea had to be scrapped.
We hit a few stores and tried to sell a few books. We did okay too. Several stores showed genuine interest and Patti O'Day at the Farnsworth actually wanted to buy a dozen after flipping through it. Unfortunately I didn't have a dozen but she bought the 4 I did have. Prior to that I gave one to a friend who turned to me for help 3 years ago. What were the odds of meeting him up there? He had just moved there and was working in a store. I made his day when I gave him a book. Made me feel pretty damn good too, seeing his face light up.
A really bad thunderstorm hit. I hope tonight isn't going to be a washout too. Earlier today, a shop keeper named Lisa told us about a ghost residing in her store. He liked to throw things. It was an interesting story. At 6:47pm, I sat on the porch and Amy came out with the gauss meter. My head read 5Mg. Probably from the frustration of watching it rain. I decided to lay down and take a nap rather than sit and watch it rain. Amy woke me just before 8:00. The rain had finally stopped so we went to the battlefield. We set up camp by the 19th Mass. Volunteer Infantry area. I set up my recorder but it failed to record and my fully charged camcorder died after 10 minutes. We got some great pictures though. We used digital, 35 mm and infrared. We heard a thud that sounded to us like a person falling to the ground. I shot with my digital and got one nice orb. It was moving fast too. Had a nice comet tail. It turns out my recorder did eventually start recording. The "black light" experiment was a bust though.
The Fourth Day
Thursday 6/14/07 1:35pm
We slept late this morning and then went to breakfast. We want to go to Spangler's Spring and the Sach's Bridge. My camcorder is dead. The battery won't recharge. I'll just film in digital and 35mm. We are not sure where we will go tonight yet. It's a cool, grey day. We did not get any EVP's last night so we will try again tonight.
At the Sach's Bridge, Amy felt something touch her hair on her forehead. When she went to rewind her film it broke. Odd. I have never heard of that happening before but that doesn't make it paranormal. Amy was pissed. I am not sure whether she was just furious or wanted to cry. God knows what kind of shots may have been on that film. I looked at the bridge and there is Satanic graffiti on it. It is such a shame. In 2003, I got my best picture ever by that bridge at night. Now the police are very strict about people being caught there after dark. Thanks punks for screwing it up for the rest of us. We are off to Spangler's Spring now. We just heard a high pitch sound come from the back seat. I have no idea what that is. We couldn't find anything to explain it. Curious.
Our plans for tonight are to go to Devil's Den and Little Round Top. (By car. I skipped Pickett's Charge. Too damn long. Our ancestors were much stronger and tougher than we are.) Hopefully those spots will be active and we will get some good shots. I feel a sense of foreboding about going to Spangler's Springs, which is our backup plan. I don't know why. The Slaughter Pen is right between Devil's Den and Little Round Top. I'll set up my recorder using the amplifier as a microphone. Maybe we'll get some EVP's that way. It should tape even a whisper. We've never gotten EVP's in Gettysburg. Maybe tonight will be the night. I'm not great with capturing them anyway but with the amplifier, maybe that will change. Hopefully the spirits have a lot in store for us on our last night.
We went to Little Round Top and the monument to the 20th Maine. Such history there. I picked up one orb there. After that, we went to Devil's Den and the Slaughter Pen but there were a lot of people around. It would have been useless to try for EVP's there. Finally we decided on Spangler's Spring. My sense of foreboding was still intact although I had no reason why. I set up my tape recorder and used the amplifier for a mike. I then walked across the road to take some pictures. I had a camera in each hand as I walked. Amy walked over the woods and saw a dark shadow, something that has been seen there before. We she heard me call her name, she thought I had seen him too. Wrong. As I walked across the road, I stepped in what felt like a wet spot. I thought to myself: "shit" when I realized my sneakers were covered in mud. Much to my surprise, I kept sinking. I kept one leg up, sinking on the other. I ended up in a split with my right leg sunk into mud up to my hip and my left leg only partially in. Being the true professional I am, I kept my hands straight up, protecting my cameras. I let out a stream of invectives that would have made a sailor blush as I tried to pull myself out of the swamp. I was soaked and I stunk to boot. It has got to have been quite a sight. Somehow I knew the orbs were laughing and so too was the Lady in White who is often seen there. All you could see was a torso with 2 cameras sticking straight up.
Well, even though I smelled like a sewer, ever the pro, I decided to take pictures anyway. I didn't get a damn thing. The spirits were laughing way too hard to allow themselves to be photographed. Of course, I had another problem to contend with: how do I get in Amy's car soaked as I was in God knows what? When she finally found me, she tried so hard not to laugh. I was pissed to the max. Eventually she couldn't help herself and she burst out in hysterical laughter. That only added to my foul mood. We had to find a way to get us back. It was 10:00pm now and the park was closed. We always followed the rules to the letter but we had to think of something. I couldn't very well climb into Amy's car naked and I sure couldn't climb into it soaked in mud. Finally she found a blanket and a large paper bag, the kind they use for leaf pickup. Well I undressed behind a tree and wrapped myself in the blanket. It looked like a long kilt. I don't know which emotion was stronger, embarrassment or anger. Then I got to thinking, it was 10:30, a half hour after the park closes. I could only imagine getting stopped by the Park Police wearing nothing but a blanket. Fortunately for me, it didn't happen. By that point, I had pretty much lost my anger and could see the humor of the situation.
Once back at the cabin, I went right to the shower and scrubbed myself off. My sneakers took a shower with me. They looked hopelessly filthy. On the way back from the shower, I walked right into a rock and scraped the hell out of my left knee. If nothing else, at least I amused the ghosts. Personally, I was not amused.
The Fifth Day
Friday, June 15, 2007
We are going horseback riding today. It has been a long time since I rode one of those majestic creatures. I really miss that. We got to see the battlefield from a totally different perspective. The experience was really great. My horse, Robbie, bit Amy's horse, Chance, on the butt and got kicked in return. When we got back to the cabin, the maintenance man advised us we were supposed to have checked out by 10:00. We had asked the girl at the office the night before and she told us checkout was at 2:00. Oh well. We packed frantically and headed back home to reality. Once again though, it had been a great experience.
© 2007 T. Cooney