Well, it’s getting well into October which means it’s time to start Halloween planning. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and I’m always on the lookout for some type of Halloween-themed event leading up to the big night. While I used to be very into Haunted Hayrides, I’ve grown out of them a little bit, mainly because they don’t scare me anymore, so I’d like to look for something a bit more authentic. If you’re thinking along the same vein, then start planning your trip to Gettysburg.
Hopefully you’re aware of why Gettysburg is significant, and if you aren’t I’m not going to explain it to you. I’ve visited Gettysburg before as a historical destination (which I highly recommend) but were you aware it’s considered by some to be the most haunted city in the US? Not only that but the ghosts of Gettysburg are reportedly very active and show up in tourists’ photograph much more than ghosts elsewhere. I’m not a ghostologist so I can’t explain why, but that’s a pretty cool selling point in itself.
Why is Gettysburg so haunted? Well, the biggest battle to ever take place on American soil occurred here. At the end of the battle roughly 27,000 Confederate soldiers and 31,000 Union soldiers (and one civilian, 20 year old Jeanie Wade) were dead, and many of those, especially the Confederates were not given proper burials. Additionally over 5,000 horses were slaughtered and in the aftermath the dead in the town outnumbered the living 3 to 1.
While the ghostly activity is said to be extremely high during July 1, 2 & 3 which is the anniversary of the battle, I think October would b e the perfect time for a visit. I’m going to break the rest of the post up into three parts: 1) will be the various ghost tours available (go on one or two) 2) places to stay 3) Things to do when you’re not ghost-hunting.
Click here to see all the ghost tours Gettysburg offers and then I’ll elaborate on the ones I think look good.
Gettysburg Ghost Tours (be careful the link will growl at you and if you’re like me and sitting in a room alone you may jump) is what I’d assume is the “premiere ghost tour in town (I hear advertisements for it on the radio here in Lancaster all the time). They offer various excursions from the Black Cat Tour which leads you through Gettysburg’s alleyways at night via candlelight to the Battlecry Tour which focuses on the battlefields and cemeteries. If you really want to crank things up a notch you can participate in an extreme nightly ghost hunt for $55. Here, in conjuncture with the Gettysburg Paranormal Association, you can go with experts to actually hunt for ghosts, using the instruments you’d see on the Discovery Channel. These occur nightly from 11-2. Part of me really wants to experience this while part of me thinks that If I did hear/see something I’d completely lose my shit, so we’ll see.
Gettysburg Battlefield Tours offers regular battlefield tours but a ghost tour as well.
After Dark Investigations is another ghost hunting company (as opposed to just a ghost tour) that host small group ghost hunting investigations and periodically has “lockdowns” where you go to a haunted locale and are legitimately locked in. Unfortunately they have none scheduled for October.
I normally don’t give lodging advice but Gettysburg has a number of hotels that are considered haunted
The Gettysburg Hotel was used as a hospital and the spirit of a Union Soldier as well as a female nurse are said to roam the halls.
The Baladerry Inn served as a field hospital and is reportedly very active including a “flirty” male ghost who likes blondes and will give female guest foot rubs and get into bed with them.
The Dobbins House Tavern is the oldest building in Gettysburg and right across the street from where Abe Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address. The Tavern is haunted by runaway slaves and spectral bloodstains.
The Cashtown Inn was again a field hospital (most of the buildings in Gettysburg ended up serving this purpose) and was featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters. Room number 4 is a hotbed of activity.
Non-Ghostly Gettysburg Fun
Since you don’t want to use your every waking moment in Gettysburg chasing around spirits, here are some other suggestions. Obviously the battlefields (Gettysburg National Park) and the Civil War Museum are must see locales. Gettysburg College might also warrant a walk around (a popular story here is that one time two administrators took the elevator the basement of a building and were greeted by an entire soundless hospital scene). If you want to get out, Lancaster’s only an hour drive.