Gettysburg is one of the most well-known historical cities in the United States, but many people don’t realize it’s also one of the most haunted. The Pennsylvania town is notable for its connection to the Civil War and for being the location of the Battle of Gettysburg, which left over 50,000 soldiers dead. Paranormal investigators believe that these souls still reside in Gettysburg today and that their spirits haunt many of the locations throughout the city. If you’re interested in ghost hunting, keep reading to learn about the best way to see one in Gettysburg.
What’s the best way to see a ghost in Gettysburg?
Anyone interested in seeing ghosts should go on one of the haunted tours Gettysburg, PA, while they’re in town. By going on a ghost tour, you’ll have the opportunity to walk through some of the spookiest destinations in the city, and you may just encounter some of the ghosts of Gettysburg yourself. Amateur paranormal investigators can learn about some of the supernatural history associated with Gettysburg by exploring haunted homes, battlefields, and inns. There’s no better way to hunt ghosts in Gettysburg than by going on an in-depth tour.
The Rupp House and Tannery is one of the haunts you can expect to visit. During the Battle of Gettysburg, John Rupp was forced to hide in the cellar. This was due to the fact that soldiers from one army were positioned on his porch while the opposing army occupied his backyard. The house is still standing today, and legends say that spirits have materialized in front of visitors on rare occasions.
You’ll also have the opportunity to tour the Jennie Wade House. Jennie Wade was only 20 years old when a stray Confederate bullet pierced her heart while she was kneading bread. The original bloodstain is still there, as no one has dared to clean it even after all these years. The house has been turned into a museum that you can walk through to learn more about Jennie’s story. Museum employees and patrons have both said that they’ve had paranormal experiences while near the location where Jennie fell to her death.
Famous Haunts of Gettysburg Town
1. Gettysburg Orphanage
The Gettysburg Orphanage is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in the city of Gettysburg. Locals claim that the building is frequently the site of paranormal activity. Originally a private residence, it was transformed into a makeshift hospital for wounded soldiers during the famous battle. The cellar of the building was filled with the bodies of the dead and dying soldiers during that time. Some people who study the paranormal believe that the souls of those who died there are unable to move on to the afterlife and are condemned to wander the area forever because they were unable to properly find closure and move on.
Following the conclusion of the Battle of Gettysburg, the building was repurposed as an orphanage. Its primary mission was to care for children who had lost both of their parents during the conflict. When Rosa J. Carmichael was appointed to the position of headmistress at that orphanage, the facility’s future became much more uncertain. It was later rumored by some knowledgeable people who lived in the town that Carmichael had tortured and chained orphan children in a dungeon that she had secretly created in the cellar of that building.
Those who believe in the supernatural also assert that her evil deeds during her life have since kept her evil spirit locked up in the building, where it continues to manifest itself to unfortunate visitors.
2. Jennie Wade House
A smallish cottage that is now known as the Jennie Wade house is said to be haunted, and it is located not too far from the Gettysburg Orphanage. The Jennie Wade house is said to be the same as it was during the time of the Civil War. It has been preserved as a modern shrine in honor of the memory of Mary Virginia “Jennie” Wade, who holds the unfortunate distinction of being the only civilian to lose their life during the Battle of Gettysburg.
When the war arrived in Jennie’s hometown of Gettysburg, she was just a young child 20 years old. In the early morning hours of July 3, 1863, as she stood inside the house, her life came to a shocking and tragic end right in front of her mother’s eyes. Jennie was instantly killed when a stray bullet from the battle outside punched straight through the doors of the building, entered the room, and struck her in the heart.
It was well known that Miss Wade was engaged to a certain man named Cpl. Johnston “Jack” Skelly. Sadly, the news of his fiancée’s passing did not reach him before he passed away in captivity many miles away not long after Jennie did. He passed away not long after Jennie did. Visitors to the house still report seeing unexplained movements, voices that go unanswered, and the terrifying moaning of disembodied spirits at various locations throughout the house. Some of these occurrences are said to occur even today.
After the construction of the official battle cemetery, Jennie Wade’s body was exhumed from its original burial site and laid to rest beside Skelly. This led many people to believe that Jennie Wade still haunts Gettysburg. Some people believe that because her gravesite was moved, her spirit was agitated, and it will now be trapped in Gettysburg for all of eternity.
3. Dobbie House Inn
This historic old stone house is said to have served as a station on the Underground Railroad in the past. Slaves who hid here on their way to freedom further north were compelled to conceal themselves for extended periods in teeny, secret hiding places that were located beneath the floor and in the walls of the inn building. These hiding places ranged in size from a few square inches to several square feet. These hiding places are still around, and visitors from the modern era are welcome to check them out.
It is said that the ghost of Alexander Dobbin, who established the inn and owned it for many years, can still be seen smoking a cigar and appearing in different parts of the building. Some people believe that many of the slaves who came to this house in search of freedom and safety may have returned here from beyond the grave, or that the spirits of some of the slaves who never survived their flight to reach this place may have eventually arrived anyway and stayed. This belief is supported by the fact that some of the slaves who came to this house in search of freedom and safety came to this house.
The building is said to be haunted by the spirits of both slaves and soldiers, who both appear in the form of spectral manifestations… It is also said that strange blood stains that cannot be explained appear on the floorboards at night and vanish when the sun comes up in the morning.
4. Sachs Covered Bridge
Sachs Covered Bridge, a lovely representation of the picturesque covered bridges that can still be discovered in Pennsylvania, has been a constant presence on Waterworks Road ever since it was built in 1852. This makes it one of the oldest covered bridges in the state. During the course of the American Civil War, it would see heavy use by troops of both the Union and the Confederacy; depending on the ebbs and tides of the fortunes of war, each side would cross the bridge in their turn at various points. During their withdrawal from the battlefield in the aftermath of the Battle of Gettysburg, the Confederate Army used Sachs Bridge as a passageway.
It is said that three Confederate deserters were apprehended by their officers, and as a form of punishment, they were hanged from the covered bridge. Some people believe that the three soldiers were Confederate spies who were executed by Union troops for the crime of spying for the Confederacy. In either scenario, it is a commonly held belief that the spirits of the men who were executed still roam the area around the bridge. Visitors have reported strange occurrences on the bridge itself, such as the spectral smell of phantom cigar smoke, the sound of ghostly cannons being fired in the distance, or the sensation of suddenly feeling someone tap them on the shoulder… only to turn around and find that there is no one there.
5. Farnsworth House Inn
The Farnsworth House Inn is another one of the buildings in Gettysburg that has a reputation for being haunted.
It was one of the town’s approximately four hundred buildings that were still standing after the conflict, and it was one of the few that managed to avoid being destroyed. During the actual fighting, local families sought refuge in the basements of their homes as the conflict raged above their heads and bullets pounded into the walls above them.
It is said that the house is currently inhabited by at least 16 different ghosts, one of which is a boy who died when he was eight years old, as well as several soldiers who fought in the Civil War and a former midwife. In addition to the pungent smell of cigars, guests who visit the house have reported hearing sounds such as disembodied breathing, grunts, voices, and the musical strains of a jaw harp. When viewed from the street below, multiple photographs of a spiritual manifestation have been taken over the course of the years through the window of a specific haunted guest room.
6. Gettysburg College
The grounds of Gettysburg College are rumored to be a haunted location due to the high number of mysterious occurrences that are said to have taken place there. There have been rumors circulating that a ghostly Confederate sentry is still keeping watch over the college campus from a cupola that overlooks the grounds. Another urban legend tells of an elevator in an administrative office building that existed in 1837 and is now known as Pennsylvania Hall. This elevator is said to skip the first floor and instead transport unwilling passengers directly to the basement, where the doors open on gruesome spectral images of crude surgery from the time of the Civil War being performed by ghostly surgeons.
7. Haunted Battlefield Sites
In the Gettysburg National Military Park, park rangers who have lived in a variety of old buildings have reported experiencing a variety of unexplained paranormal phenomena. These phenomena include the unexplained wailing of a baby, the sound of mysterious footsteps, and the odor of tobacco smoke that appeared to come from nowhere in particular. However, when questioned about it, spokespeople for the Gettysburg National Park Service insisted that the park service does not take an official stance on the possibility that ghosts exist.
The groaning cries of wounded soldiers and the shouts of orders issued in the middle of the battle have been attributed to various famous areas of the battlefield for a very long time. These areas include the Spangler Farm, the Valley of Death, Devil’s Den, and Iverson’s Pits. According to these stories, these locations are haunted by strange and frightening spectral visions and sounds.
What else should you do while in Gettysburg?
After your ghost tour, you should consider visiting the Film, Cyclorama and Museum Experience. You can watch the incredible film, “A New Birth of Freedom,” which is narrated by Morgan Freeman and follows the events of the war from beginning to end. The Cyclorama in particular is an attraction you shouldn’t miss. The Cyclorama will bring Pickett’s Charge to life through sight and sound, creating a unique and immersive experience. You can even walk through the battlefield itself or try one of the park’s other hiking trails.
Before you leave, take a break from the battlefield and consider a stroll through downtown Gettysburg. It has a wide array of shops, boutiques, and restaurants to check out, which makes it a perfect way to unwind after you’ve spent the day exploring. You can walk through the area down to Lincoln Square, where you can take a photo of the Abraham Lincoln statue outside of the David Willis House. The house is known for being the place where President Lincoln stayed the night before delivering the Gettysburg Address.
Gettysburg is a diverse and exciting place to take a trip and an absolute must-visit for anyone interested in supernatural activity. The impact of the Civil War can be felt throughout the city, and visitors have reported having paranormal experiences in a number of famously spooky spots. The battlefield itself is just one of many locations in the city where you may encounter spirits that haunt the living. If you want to learn about the gripping stories of the ghosts of Gettysburg and have a chance to see one yourself, the best thing to do is to go on one of the city’s best ghost tours.