ANNIVERSARY DATES - 2006
(RR Cut & Herbst's Woods)
Click on Red text to hear EVP clips
Having witnessed (and sometimes documented) various strange events on the battlefield during the "anniversary" over the years,
it's evident the first 3 days of July offer greater opportunities to experience something paranormal.  From the day I walked into a
virtual icebox on a sweltering July 3 while tracing the route of Pickett's assault (when my interest in Gettysburg was purely
historical), to hearing phantom harmonica music, to filming long ribbons of mist aligned as troops spike my Tri-Field meter, the
list of things I've encountered on these dates goes on and on!

IVERSON'S PITS During the most recent (2006) Anniversary, yet more strangeness was to manifest.  While Kelly and
Rosemary Guiley were at a booksigning at Mark Nesbitt's store, Rosemary's friend Will accompanied me to several areas north of
town which saw the first bloodletting on that same date (July 1) in 1863.  With the line of trees removed behind the stone wall
where Union troops from Baxter's 1st Corps Brigade decimated Iverson's North Carolinians, I wondered if Kelly's old
"adversary" missed the woods he seemed to favor. (With little wind and few cars/people about, conditions were excellent for
attempting EVP contact but none was recorded this time).  For the past few years, since the NPS began restoring the battlefield's
appearance thru tree removal, I have made a point of asking if anyone has noticed the missing trees, or if things look more familiar
in these areas.  So far, I've heard no responses to these questions. From this can we infer that those spirits who's voices we can
record have no perception of physical changes to the land?  How does this compare to the often reported component of domestic
hauntings which sees increased activity when a structure is altered? Frankly, I've yet to notice an upturn in activity at any of
numerous recently cleared areas on the battlefield, but would be interested to know if any other regular investigators have.

HERBST'S WOODS One place I did record a couple voices that night was in Herbst's Woods near Willoughby run. (Although
owned by John Herbst, this woodlot is sometimes called McPherson's Woods as it is adjacent to that farm and its prominent
barn, and sometimes Reynold's Woods, for Maj. Gen John Reynolds, who was killed on the south side of this woods while
leading the famed Iron Brigade of his 1st Corps into action) Will seems very intuitive, and like Kelly the first time I had her back
in those woods, gave a pretty accurate "description" of the fighting there (back and forth... vicious... determined). His prior
knowledge of the battle exceeds Kelly's, but is very basic, and I don't honestly think he knew exactly how the fighting progressed
here. (Few folks with a casual interest pay a lot of attention to the first day's action) Here, Confederate Brigades from Heth's
Division of AP Hills Corps led by Archer (and later Pettigrew's) clashed with the Iron Brigade of the Union 1st Corps.  Perhaps
the most intense fighting came in the afternoon when the 26th NC crossed Willoughby run and ran into the 24th MI.
Consequently, these 2 units suffered the highest number of casualties at the regiment level during the battle for each side.  (A great
read on the fighting in this area is Richard Shue's
Morning at Willoughby Run) I did record two voices here, in ideal, quiet
conditions:  The first is a
response to my request for a name.  The second was seems to be "Farewell", recorded just after I
said "Thank you" and "Goodnight" and underscores why you should always wait several seconds prior to shutting off your
recorder when concluding a session.  (This is the second time I've recorded this rather archaic term at Gettysburg... how many
times today do you hear someone say "Farewell"?)

RAILROAD CUT Of course, recording EVP on the battlefield is hardly anything strange or limited to the anniversary days, but
at the Rail Road Cut through McPherson's Ridge around 7:30pm, something very unusual was observed. On July 1 1863, an
outflanked Confederate Brigade led by Joseph Davis (nephew of Jefferson Davis, CSA President) tried to make a stand in this cut
but was overwhelmed by Union forces from Cutler's brigade, aided by the 6th Wisconsin from the Iron Brigade.  Looking to the
NW, we noticed a very visible mist in the cut perhaps 200 yards away. What is strange is that there was hardly any temperature
variance from earlier in the day (which normally causes such mists to form). Will is a meteorologist/analyst and agreed with my
comment that this mist seemed very out of place given the conditions... we watched it for a while and it rapidly dissolved. (This
disappointed me, as it negated the chance to approach it and perhaps replicate the Tri-Field meter inexplicably spiking amongst
mist as it did by the Angle on July 3 a few years ago.) I took several photos pointing toward the mist
(see top of page) and just
one pointing the other way
(toward the Seminary - see bottom of page) for contrast. Although no mist was seen there, when I
finally downloaded the photo, what may be a shadow figure is seen in the distance in the center of the track. Is this really an
apparition? I don't have additional data to support it, but the way it partially obscures the ties and shows no explainable source
certainly make it a potentially paranormal image!

RE-ENACTORS A FACTOR? The battle anniversary always brings the year's largest crowds to Gettysburg, both in the town
and on the battlefield.  Amongst them are a huge contingent of re-enactors portraying infantry, cavalry and artillery units from
both sides.  Does their presence cause an increase in activity?  The most prolonged encampment of thousands of re-enactors
occurred in the summer of 1992 during the filming of Ron Maxwell's
Gettysburg.  Although several tales from participants have
been included in different volumes of the
Ghosts of Gettysburg series, Mark Nesbitt told me he could fill an entire book or more
with the accounts he's received!  Ron Waddell, who portrays a surgeon from Stuart's Cavalry was also the EMT in charge of
medical services for the camp and has shared a wealth of strange stories from that event with our group.  Add to this the
numerous times we've worked with re-enactors in the field and heard their stories, there are many reasons to believe there is
indeed a correlation between those who relive the Civil War and those who died in it!

There is no guarantee you'll experience (or be able to document) the paranormal when visiting Gettysburg on the anniversary
dates, but personal experience tells me the odds are much greater that you will! - JDW
LEFT:  Unusual mist seen in the RR Cut, which
quickly dissipated.  Looking NW thru
McPherson's Ridge. Approx 7:30 PM 7/1/06
Above: Looking toward the Seminary in the RR
Cut (opposite direction of the mist seen at top
of page)  Enlargement (
RT) shows possible
shadow apparition in center of tracks