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.

    You May Like

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora