News / USA

America’s Bloodiest Battlefield Becomes Magnet for Ghost Hunters

America’s Bloodiest Battlefield Becomes Magnet for Ghost Huntersi
X
November 12, 2013 7:48 PM
On November 19th, Americans will commemorate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, delivered after the decisive Civil War confrontation. The Battle of Gettysburg remains the bloodiest battle ever on U.S. soil. But, as VOA’s religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky reports, it has become a magnet for people who believe in ghosts.
— If ghosts exist anywhere in the United States, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, is perhaps the right place to look for them.

The rolling green hills where the armies of the Union and Confederacy clashed still seem haunted by the more than 50,000 soldiers who were killed, wounded or went missing in the Battle of Gettysburg.

On November 19, Americans will commemorate the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, delivered after the decisive Civil War battle.  It remains the bloodiest event ever on U.S. soil, and in recent decades the south central Pennsylvania town has become a magnet for people who believe in ghosts.

On a recent night, I joined a group of people there on an “Extreme Ghost Hunt,” venturing inside an old dark mansion that we were told had been a casualty collection center during the fighting.

They were equipped with an arsenal of so-called ghost detection equipment, including thermal imaging cameras and electromagnetic frequency meters.
 
A guide took out a pen-like device that emitted a matrix of low-intensity laser beams.

“This is for capturing shadow figures,” he explained. “If something crosses in front, you see the shadow figure.”
 
I went around the house splashing walls with green dots, but did not see a single shadow.

But I was apparently alone in my inability to see ghosts. Tour participant Charlie Souders was convinced the static he picked up on one of the gadgets was what ghost hunters call “electronic voice phenomenon.”

“Wow!” he exclaimed.

A study by Baylor University in Texas estimates that 68 percent of Americans believe in ghosts or other kinds of paranormal manifestations such as UFOs or psychic abilities.

Souders said ghosts don't scare him. On the contrary, he feels comforted.

“It’s kind of curious to know how the afterlife is; maybe know a little bit more before I go,” he said, adding that he plans to communicate with his family after he dies and “let them know what’s going on.”

Ghost tours and paraphernalia may be a boost for a local economy that depends on battlefield tourism. And clients do learn some true history of the sites in and around Gettysburg.
 
But the paranormal business also offers answers about the hereafter that some people feel traditional religion doesn’t provide, says theologian Pamela Cooper-White of the Columbia Theological Seminary.

“People are in a quest for a kind of certainty, and the more scientific or technological it seems, the better,” she said.

Cooper-White researched the Gettysburg ghost tours and will be presenting her findings at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion in Baltimore later this month.

In an interview, she said its growth in recent decades can be linked to a reluctance by Americans to confront some of the “harder truths” of their history.

“I think in many ways the ghost that has not been laid to rest here is that in many ways we’re still fighting the Civil War, and the legacy of slavery and racism have by no means been solved.”

On a homestead outside Gettysburg’s center, author and psychic Laine Crosby walked through an empty field and engaged in an elaborate conversation with what she said were Confederate soldiers.

“James and Bartholomew and Bill and all the rest of you?” she called out. “Can you tell me how many soldiers are with you here today?”

She recorded the conversation on an early model digital voice recorder, and when she played it back her question was followed by unintelligible static.

“Did you hear that!?” she said.

Holding a pendulum, she spoke to a battlefield physician. “Doctor Robinson, can you move this in a circle if you are here?”

Crosby claims such spirits from the past appear vividly to her and that the pendulum and recorder are just to convince skeptics.

“It was just to prove to you all that there really was somebody here,” she said, “and that I’m not just some crazy person out here dragging you through a field.”

Clearly, many people don’t think that because her book Investigative Medium - The Awakening is the No. 1 best seller in Amazon’s Kindle store’s occult supernatural category.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Terry from: Minnesota
November 15, 2013 1:10 AM
Years ago I was visiting the battlefield with a friend. He walked near Little Round Top. Both of us looked towards Devil's Den where we were surprised to see a re-in-actor; or so we thought. The man looked quizzically at us. Then disappeared before our eyes. We looked at each other and I said, "Did you see that?" My friend said, "Yup". We just shook our heads, amazed.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid