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  • Writer's pictureCandace Nola

Haunted Gettysburg, Pa

This post originally appeared on the House of Stitched Blog in Dec. 2021. I was writing a series of articles called Haunted Locations for the magazine. I thought it would be an interesting piece to re-post here and I will be posting several others from the series over the summer. Enjoy!

Come along for the ride as we explore tonight’s location, haunted Gettysburg, deep in the heart of Pennsylvania. Gettysburg was home to one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. On a hot, humid morning in early July, the sun rose to a blood-soaked battlefield, grey from an early morning fog, crimson dew dripping from what little plant life remained, rivers of blood running over rocks and branches. Roughly 40, 000 men lay dying or dead in the vast area, some still wailing in pain, others gasping out their final breaths, clutching hands of the few fellow soldiers that were left to provide comfort.

There is an article on that details a vivid description given by one soldier that had been tasked with burying the dead that day. It is stated that he said of the dead, “some with faces bloated and blackened beyond recognition, lay with glassy eyes staring up at the blazing summer sun; others with faces downward and clenched fists full of grass and earth, which told of the agony of their last moments. There lay a headless trunk, a severed limb or two, and they lay in grotesque abnormal positions that contorted their human form.” ( Truly a vivid and haunting description.

Gettysburg battlefield went from bloodbath to graveyard in a matter of hours, as the soldiers that remained dug graves, often mass graves, and bodies were laid to rest as best as they could be. An actual count of the graves is still unknown, as is the exact location of all of them. Everywhere is the best word to use, as most of the dead were buried right where they had fallen. There are several areas of the battlefield that were bloodier than others and seem to host the most paranormal activity.

The first notable area was at the base of Little Round Top known as the Slaughter Pen, was one of the worst portions of the battlefield. The area was said to have been completely covered with bodies, piled one of top of the other to where you could not see the ground beneath. Both Little Round Top and the Slaughter Pen are available to view and tour if you visit Gettysburg.

Another area was called the Devil’s Den, near the south of the battlefield. The large rocky ridge was home to a deadly battle on July 2, 1863, that would take the lives of more than 2600 soldiers, both Union and Confederate soldiers. Paranormal sightings in this area today include soldiers appearing in uniform and disappearing, cannon fire, screaming, unintelligible words being spoken and other such sounds of battle. Civil War has an entire article on the Devil’s Den, if you would like to read more about it. The link will be at the bottom of this page.

The third, and also a highly active location, is Sach’s Covered Bridge, built by David Stoner in 1852. The bridge was built just off Pumping Station Road and was used by both sides during the war. As you might imagine, the Civil War troops were full of young boys and teens, barely old enough to fight and many tried to flee the battles and run off. Sadly, most were caught and made examples of, like in this instance involving Sach’s Bridge. Three Confederate soldiers had tried to flee the battles by stealing Union uniforms and blending in with those soldiers as they crossed Sach’s bridge. Unfortunately, they were quickly discovered and were hung from the heavy beams inside the bridge, left there as a warning to others that might try to run. Many have reported seeing apparitions of the dead soldiers still swinging from the bridge, or disembodied heads and faces appearing, as well as soldiers marching back and forth across the bridge. Battle sounds are also common to hear as you investigate the area.

As you can imagine, with the vast number of soldiers that were brutally killed here, gunned down in a slaughter, there is good reason for these spirits to be restless, tied to the ground that took their lives. Destined to echo their final days forever. The areas listed here are just a few of the locations around Gettysburg that are noted for paranormal activity. The entire area is highly active, with reports going back almost to the days of the battle itself, beginning shortly after and continuing even now.

If you plan a trip, stay several days and take time to explore and investigate these locations and others for yourself. My parents went ghost hunting here several times, and each time came back with pictures and stories of sounds, sightings and floating orbs captured on film. The feeling of the area is oppressive and heavy, especially the battlefield, as you stand there listening to the echoes of the past. You can almost taste the copper tang of blood in the air and feel it squelching underneath your shoes as you walk, past rows and rows of ghostly soldiers as they stare at you with empty eyes, shouldering their muskets, and standing at attention, even as you walk among their graves. That chill you feel running up your spine, the final breath of 40,000 soldiers as they gasp under your feet.

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