SSP GETTYSBURG - IVERSON'S PITS

A solitary marker is the only thing to suggest something happened here, and indeed, the size of the
marker belies its significance.  The view, too, is deceiving; looking out over the gentle farm fields,
one is more apt to gaze at the South Mountain or the nearby Peace Light Memorial.  But make no
mistake -- there was nothing peaceful about this spot on July 1, 1863, the day General Alfred
Iverson's North Carolina brigade (5th, 12th, 20th & 23rd NC) was annihilated.On July 1, 1863,
various elements of the Army of Northern Virginia and the Army of the Potomac were arriving to
join the escalating battle north of the town.  On Oak Ridge, a brigade of infantry from Rhode's
Division under the command of Alfred Iverson  was advancing with the intention of attacking the
Federal line on their right flank.  Much debate has ensued over Iverson's actions and even state of
sobriety that day, but the undeniable fact remains that sending his brigade forward on unfamiliar
ground without skirmishers deployed eliminated any advance warning of a hidden enemy position
-- they were sitting ducks!

Smoke from the surrounding fighting may have helped obscure the low stone wall and five Federal
Regiments which lie behind it.  The last thing most of these North Carolinians saw -- at least while
their spirits occupied their bodies -- were the hundreds of Yankees rising up to fire, only 80 yards
away.  In a matter of seconds, Iverson's Brigade ceased to exist.  Later that night, burial parties dug
four long, shallow trenches where their comrades' bodies would remain until several years after the
war, when they and thousands of others were finally disinterred and sent South.

As noted in the introduction to our Gettysburg section, Iverson's Pits is the source of the first
stories of strange activity to be reported after the battle.  It is a regular stop for many in our group,
as despite its reputation, it does not draw the crowds the way Devils Den and Spanglers Spring
do.  Over the years there seems to be a singular spirit here who is interested in Kelly, and while this
entity is not truly malevolent, it is hardy Casper the Friendly Ghost!

Strangely, it is in the small stretch of woods -- running along where the low stone wall once
concealed the Federal Troops who lie in wait that bloody afternoon -- where her adversary seems
to dwell.  A sunny summer afternoon in the mid-1990's brought her first encounter with him.  
Kelly"s father had joined us and was following her through the woods from the parking area.  I
heard her cry out "Hey!", as she turned to accuse her Dad of pushing her in the shoulder.  When his
distance behind revealed only someone with 12 foot long arms could have reached her, the source of
the push clearly had no rational explanation.  She recalls that someone "wanted to talk to her", but
she was clearly uneasy about attempting communication, given the way she was approached.  
Someone, it seems, does not like her being there, and has physically let it be known on many
occasions.    

In December 1999, one of Kelly's close friends asked if we could show her sister and brother in law
some haunted places on the battlefield while they were visiting over the holidays.  As they lived in
North Carolina, we thought it appropriate to include the spot where so many from her husband's
home state drew their last breath.  While walking through the woods, "he" struck again, this time
tripping Kelly and sending her to the ground with a scream that, uh, could wake the dead!  (Imagine
the poor first-time ghosthunters witnessing this.)  "Someone tripped me!  I had my flashlight and
there was nothing on the ground!" Indeed, I checked myself and found the area in which she fell
clear of any roots or other obstacles.  After this, Kelly and the other girls beat a hasty, shaken
retreat to the van.    

Is she physically accosted every time we visit the spot?  No.She does though, sense an
overwhelming negativity here -- anger and hatred seem to be the "theme" and she describes seeing
"bodies, and body parts strewn about", almost more like a hospital scene.  Of course, there was no
post-battle hospital on this spot, but is she perhaps sensing what those horribly wounded here
experienced as their lives oozed away in misery?  At times, I wish I had her ability to "see" things,
but I don't think I want to see what she does here.

Kelly is not alone as a target for this antagonistic spirit.  In March, 2001, she was escorting some
ghosthunters on their first visit to the battlefield.  One of them, fellow sensitive Al Brindza, was
sharply pushed to the ground, breaking the expensive flash unit on the 35mm SLR camera he had
borrowed from his brother.  Had anyone been recording at the moment, perhaps some laughter may
have been captured on EVP!  On this same night, I took a photo of Kelly at the edge of the woods
when she told me "someone" was following her.  At first glance on the small screen, I thought it
was a simple orb anomaly, but further enlargement and some lightening shows what appears to be
an oblong, almost skeletal face. Eerie!

Battery drain, on cameras, camcorders and tape recorders, as anyone who has done this for a while
knows, is one of the "occupational hazards" of ghosthunting.  In our experience, Iverson's Pits
causes more of this at Gettysburg than anywhere but the Devil's Den/Triangular Field area.  In
spite of this, it remains a place where much good evidence of the paranormal activity here has been
captured by various researchers, particularly on video.

Despite her understandable aversion, Kelly will still choose to visit Iverson's Pits a few times a
year.  In May 2003, when walking through the parking lot, her large flashlight broke when flung out
of her hand, a few steps from entering the woods!  This was only the beginning of equipment
problems we had that evening.  Kelly had just put 4 new batteries in one of her recorders before we
left the house. She was playing a tape of Southern tunes out in the field when it died -- only a
couple songs played and that was it. A person from our group near this spot had the fully charged
battery in her Nikon digital camera inexplicably drain rapidly almost as the music stopped. I was
filming in IR with my camcorder, concentrating on the area around Kelly's recorder.  Two noises --
plausible gunshots -- are heard over the music, which ends a few seconds later.  In prompting EVP
recordings that night, rather than just asking for a name and regiment, I instead concentrated in
asking what happened here.  What was it like for you boys? Was Iverson really drunk or
hungover?  Did you see the Yankees at all? Why did this happen?  
The chilling response heard
soon after the gunshots and end of the music is remarkably clear:  "We were unlucky!" (Click
yellow text to hear EVP) Perhaps they were; perhaps the smoke and confusion of the battle's early
stages led them to advance exposed and unaware within 80 yards of the Federal position, but the
fact that skirmishers were not covering their movements is not a matter of luck.  This is poor
judgement of command, in my book, but like so many aspects of the battle, it can be debated
forever.  However, with persistence, we just might get some more answers from the "other side".  
(Adapted from an article by John Weaver that appeared in the Summer 03 issue of
Paranormal PA
and Beyond
Magazine) Update Spring 06:  The NPS has cleared the tree line along the stone wall
that the Union troops hid behind to better replicate the 1863 appearance of the field.
This solitary marker
indicates where long trenches
were dug for the bodies of
Iverson's Brigade.  Erected
by the 88th PA of the 1st
Corps, it states they
"Charged to this point,
capturing 2 battle flags and a
number of prisoners" The
prisoners were few -- rifled
muskets are deadly accurate
at 80 yards -- that any
survived uninjured was a
miracle.
Paranormal mist
photographed in the woods
adjacent to Iverson's Pits in
June 1999. It is in these
woods where Kelly has been
physically accosted several
times by someone who does
not like her being here.  More
often than not, she avoids this
part of the battlefield.
Enlargement of a digital photo
taken in March 2001.  Kelly
was walking along the edge of
the woods and nervously
mentioned "someone" was
following her.  On the camera
LCD screen it looked like an
"orb" anomaly in motion but
further examination shows
this eerie "facial" image.  No
living people were behind her
and while I can't state with
certainty it is an apparition, I
can find no rational or natural
explaination for this image.
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