Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Terror at Gettysburg


Since our recent move to beautiful Southern Pennsylvania, one of  our favorite places to visit has become the historical town of Gettysburg. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is the site where one of America's bloodiest civil war battles was waged.  Back in 1863, under a hot July sun, opposing Generals Meade and Lee led a fierce three day battle, ending the lives of over 50,000 union and confederate soldiers.

Today, the town of Gettysburg looks very similar to the way it appeared during the days of its infamous battle, with the possible exception of the hundreds of monuments that now dot the landscape.  Reenactment soldiers in full dress uniform can be seen strolling down the streets, kissing the hands of hoop-skirted, bonneted ladies.  Battlefield tours, taken by bus, car, and even horses are available at all hours throughout the day.

So one weekend Alan and I decided to rent a small, scary, crappy cabin (that's a WHOLE story for another day, my friends!  I'll give you a hint:  it involved a VERY close proximity to horse stalls!) at a nearby campground and ride our bikes through the monuments and memorials of the battlefield.  We had a great day riding up and down the hills, imagining what those three days must have been like for the soldiers and that tiny town of witnesses.

Famished after a long day of pedaling, we finally stopped, chained our bikes to a street sign and looked for a good spot to have dinner.  We found exactly what we were looking for when we entered an old tavern, originally built long before the civil war in the 1700's.  We had a fantastic dinner that included roasted chicken, potatoes and a draft or two, and finally decided to head back to our "luxurious" cabin and call it a night.

As we stepped outside, two things immediately entered my chicken and beer-soaked brain:  #1.  It had gotten very dark outside, and #2.  The battlefield that we had to cross to get back to the campground was not lit. At all.  Numbers three and four soon followed:  #3. Gettysburg has been called the "Most Haunted Place in America" by all those Ghost Hunter-ey guys, and #4. The spirits are said to appear at night when it is quiet and DARK!!

Alan, ever the cool head, said he had a "pretty good" idea of how to get back and to just follow him.  This would have been really easy if, in fact, either one of us had possessed the BRAIN CELLS required to have had the forethought to attach a LIGHT of some kind on our bikes.  Sadly, we did not!

We were literally pedaling in complete blackness.  I could barely make out Alan's shape in front of me as we rode, so I kept yelling, "Say something, so I can follow your voice!"  Every once in a while, the moon would pick up a figure of one of the monuments.  You know, just a statue of a union soldier raising a saber or General Lee astride an enormous stallion, terrifying stuff like that!

I began to pray.  Out loud.  Loudly!  God apparently heard my frightened pleas and showed mercy on His poor, stupid children. We arrived safely back at our cabin in one piece (looking back, it may have been the smell of horse dung that guided us home!).  We jumped off our bikes and kissed the nasty, ant infested porch of our glorious, humble abode!

Looking back to that evening, I can't seem to shake this mental picture in my head of a possible batallion of ghost soldiers marching along on the battlefield that night.  I wonder if they watched in awe as a couple of complete morons pedaled by in the pitch black night.  I imagine them being entirely too confused by the stupidity of the riders to commence with the "appearing in the mist," or other haunting activity.  I imagine the ghost colonel holding up a hand, halting his men and proclaiming, "No, let's not.  These idiots clearly have enough problems as it is!"

This idiot, for one, is eternally grateful!

Thanks for Reading!!

58 comments:

Angie's Ad Lib said...

That reminds me of the time my Dad and I went to see the Korean Monument being built on the mall in Wash DC. (around '97 or '98)

We stumbled upon these ghostly men in gray with anguish on their faces. It was a dark night and the monument wasn't completed so there were no lihgts. We literally ran into the statues. It was very eery and wonderful. One of my favorite memories.

eventer79 said...

Gettysburg is COOL. I'm not really into war stuff, but will never forget our trip there when I was younger.

Heatherlyn said...

I've never visited, but would like to. What a humbling place to be. Your husband must have a good sense of direction to make it in the dark! Glad you got back safe and sound!

Taylor-Made Wife said...

I love this sotry. I would NOT have gone back through there. I would have slept on the street. I'm that much of a puss. And I KNOW my husband would have been figuring out ways to scare me the whole time.
I would love to go there though (during the day of course).

fraizerbaz said...

Oh, wow! I would have gotten completely lost! My night vision is terrible as it is. lol!

Putz said...

you know i just got to tell you, when i went back to visit in greenboro north carlina ,my daughter, i was always trying to get the group to stop or notice civil war monuments, until finally my southern daughter just said stop dad, we don't need that old fogy stff, but i said what about cold mountain, and lee and cannonballs, and old glory, and i was shocked that this old dad got no respect at all, it was the "mallls" and whatist castle you know theat ole ashford or vanderbuilt manson, or the zzoo in ashboro, but never civil war history, so now i just kweep quiet

Putz said...

p.s, howe could anyone who is only 45 love rosemary clooney asx a singer,oh how lovely cooks the meat, when i get back home to eat, and gisel mckensie on the hit parade, you can't possibly relate to all of that

Shana said...

I love this post. You cracked me up. Thanks.

We live in a Zoo! said...

LOL!!!
But how awesome would it have been to see a ghost, when are you ever going to get another opportunity ;D

lifeshighway said...

Your story was just like an episode of the Ghost Whisperer but with less crying and I assume less cleavage.

KathyB said...

I SO wish I was witty and could come up with some fantastic response to this, but all I can say is that you totally crack me up!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

ha ha....I get it..."crappy cabin" lead by smell of horse dung. cute.

You know I grew up in PA and never saw Gettysburg. I know what is wrong with me? It always seemed so far away. Actually it was. I am closer now living in DC than I was living in PA. I live very close to civil war battle fields as well. (but the other side) I find it a bit creepy in the daylight so I can only imagine what fun that ride home was!

Helene said...

You are too funny! And I have to say you're pretty darn brave to ride your bike in complete darkness. I would've just stood there in tears, too afraid to move.

I've learned that when my hubby says he has a "pretty good idea" of where he's going, we'll end up lost.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the follow! I'm glad you did so now I can follow you!!

Kellyansapansa said...

What a fantastic experience. I'm kind of disappointed that you didn't see any ghosts though!

Wow, I just noticed how many followers you have now. Congratulations, you're becoming quite the hit in the blogging world and it's so well deserved. xx

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

I love this story. I'm with Helene. You're really too brave. I've never visited that place.I 'd like to.
Betty xx
PS. thanks so much for your comments:)

Alice in Wonderland said...

I laughed at this post! I'm English, but spent some time living in Boston, which I loved, and I could just imagine "Little Women" being played out there! I live in a castle, and we are supposed to have a few ghosts, but I've not seen any, except there is a shadow of a woman looking down at something in her hands who stands at the top of the main staircase. There is nothing there that could cause this shadow, and I always make a point of saying Hello to her!
Thank you for becoming my newest follower on "Alice Through the Lens", have you checked out my "Alice in Wonderland" site?
I'm your newest follower in return!

Red Shoes said...

Ive always wanted to tour Gettysburg... I dont live that far from Vicksburg... the fighting in the early days there was so fierce, that Grant resulted in mounting a siege against the confederate forces there... I've read that the section of the battlefield at Gettysburg where Pickett's Charge was led is supposedly very haunted...

I toured Shiloh last Summer... unbelievable...

~shoes~

Being Me said...

I am giggling my head off. Sorry! I realise that it is at your expense.... But that was a funny story.

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Holy hell - you're one brave woman! I'm totally freaked out by any scenes of death and misfortune {in Rome I waited for everyone OUTSIDE the colluseum...}

Great story - thanks for sharing!

JenJen said...

giggle.....

"And so our stories go..." said...

I love Gettysburg. Your photos are beautiful.
Mary

Melissa @ Cellulite Investigation said...

Ahhh, Pennsylvania history always gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. All those memories of high school field trips and such. I'm from Southern PA --from Bucks County outside Philly. Thanks for sharing your trip. Sounds like a blast (especially the chicken and beer soaked brain cells part).

Meg said...

LOL! Great post! I haven't been to Gettysburg in a long time!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to following yours!

Meg

GregoryJ said...

My sister has lived in the Hershey-Harrisburg area for many years and when my wife and I visited many years ago, she took us to Gettysburg. I enjoyed the history of it, the beauty of the day, the peace and quiet. My wife hated it and did not suffer in silence. The highlight for her was when we were passing through the town and there was a tag sale.
I heard about that trip for too too long afterward.
We should have taken her through in the dark like you did. I can't believe you did that.
When was York the nation's capital?

Getting My Words Out said...

Well...you saw my blog post before I got over here to let you know I linked you in it!! (BTW, you didn't miss the "blogaholic" post, they were both done within a couple of hours of each other!)

Joan, thank you for your kind words--what an encouragement.

:D

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Lovely story! I'm glad the ghosts were nice enough not to molest you. :)

Krista said...

What a great story! I've forgotten my headlamp in the bush at times and my imagination gets WAY carried away with me!

Those are beautiful photos of the monuments. Did you take them?

Melanie's Randomness said...

You were in Gettysburg in the complete darkness!! I would have freaked! I've been there for a delorean convention. I loved going to the battlefield. It was such a piece of history. That's really cool that you live near there!!

Eva Gallant said...

Wow--that must have been quite an experience. Glad you didn't get pulled over for pedalling under the infulence! (PUI)

Kelly L said...

I had to visit your blog - great name! I have never been to Gettysburg - but I would love too.

The bike ride sounds scary..
Love to you
Kelly
http://www.ivebecomemymother.com

RN Mama said...

My parent's went to Gettysburg a few years ago, and they really enjoyed it! Maybe we should check it out sometime?

P.S. I laugh everytime I see the title of your blog:)

Boomer Pie said...

Stumbled across your blog and I'm glad I did. What a fascinating piece on Gettysburg! I signed up to follow you. Stop by my place and return the favor if you like. http://www.boomerpie.com/

Erin said...

Ha! Great story, Joan. I love Pennsylvania! May I suggest Hershey Park for a "less haunted" get away? :)

Rachel said...

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA... I'm having a tough time explaining why I'm laughing at my computer screen. The 3-year old just doesn't get it.

Good Goll, that story is a hoot and a holler (which is high praise if you know me :)

Please, please, please say you'll link it up to next week's True Story Tuesday??? I know our bloggy friends would crack up over it too.

I mean, we'd be laughing WITH you... :)

Bossy Betty said...

I am SO ready for the story of the cabin!

tattytiara said...

Haha hey, I'd have been spooked too. I can be charmingly irrational that way.

Kimberly@PrettyPinkMomma said...

You are a far braver woman than I! I would have never made it through it. I visited Gettysburg when I was 12, too young to appreciate it but not too young to know what went down and to be afraid of the ghostlyness of it. I am not a huge cemetary fan and I try to steer clear. The monuments are beautiful though.

Mercy said...

Sounds like quite the adventure. I would never have gone in the dark.

Delana said...

I wish you guys had seen a ghost too. Wouldn't that be fun to write about?Even better with PHOTOS! My family is from Virginia and when I'm there I often go to the battlefields at York, the site of battles in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. The fields themselves are....just...fields now but I can never shake the awe I feel at the events that occurred there. I felt the same thing at Normandy Beach. Loved your story. Cabin story next?

Cheryl Moore said...

Hi! I saw you on Geezers blog and popped over the meet you. You have a very nice blog. :)

McGillicutty said...

OMG that is so the kind of situation that would end in divorce in this marriage!!! My hubs has no sense of direction at all.. whereas I do... but he won't listen to my directions..I'm proud of you both and loved the story. I would think you'd be great on the Amazing Race!!! :)

blueviolet said...

I can just picture you out there on your ghostly bike ride!!!! Scary awesome! I'd probably be bawling like a freakin' baby!

Lynn Irwin Stewart said...

I'd love to visit Gettysburg -- Andersonville and Chickamauga (both in Georgia)were quite emotional for me.

JenJen said...

The smell of horse piss is the WORST! It's worse than the crap smell. It's like a river of horror.

Yankee Girl said...

At first I was like, awww, that's great, I love a good bike ride.

Then I was laughing that you got lost in a battlefield.

Then I was scared of all of the ghosts and starting hoping that they would lead you home.

What a great story. Maybe next time though you should put some lights on those bikes!

TechnoBabe said...

Hats off to your husband for leading you both back to the luxurious cabin. Smile. Sounds like a great deal of fun to me. Hubby and I would really like a weekend like that!!

Brittany at Mommy Words said...

Oh my that sounds terrifying. I would have been freaking out too! Gettysburg gives me the creeps even in the daylight! Gotta love hubbies - they never really know where they are going! I found you on Blu Violet's site and I am now following!

Holly said...

I love history and so badly want to visit Gettysburg and all the other amazing places! I had chill throughout your story...I would have been a little freaked riding my bike back..brave woman!

Deborah Ann said...

Nice job talking up Gettysburg - now I wanna go there!

Sir Thomas AKA (Winters Reaper) said...

so spooky...
so many ghost, so many lives...


*smiles*

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

I hate it when ridiculous stuff like that happens.... and then I remind myself that at least it will make a great story. :) Just like this one.

Six Feet Under Blog said...

So scary

Allison said...

I would have been scared too! Great read! The idea of ghosts really creeps me out.

Darlene said...

It sounds like such a NEAT place!!! Oh, I would have been scared out of my mind in the pitch blackness with all my thoughts of "ghosts" swirling in my head!!!! Thank goodness you made it back safely. GREAT story.

Hope you are enjoying your Friday.♥

iheartbowheads.blogspot.com said...

Great story! I am going to go hit follower as fast as my little fingers can go :)

Holly

THE OLD GEEZER said...

I love history. Thanks for sharing.

Have a wonderful weekend.
God bless you and your family,

Mr. and Mrs. Geezer

you've been busy (182 followers)
A note to all your followers:
This is one of the best blogs on the www to follow.

Helena said...

Woo hoo! I came in from another Blog - 'Open 7 Days A Week, Closed on Sunday!' She is following yours. I'm very impressed. I am currently reading a series of books on the Civil War! So interesting. Thanks for your post! I'm now following!

Larry E said...

Hiya Joan~
Been enjoying your blogs and keep up the great work! You have such a wit with your writing that I hope someone will appreciate and get you published!
Just wanted to pass this Gettysburg (and more) story along. Not sure you or Alan know I am a huge history buff. Was reading a book called, "What if." It took major events in history, changed the outcome and speculated what may have happened.
Well, there was a mockudrama created, in the Ken Burns style of, "What if the South won the Civil War?" The link is below, but the major turning point was Gettysburg. Its on YouTube in 9 parts if you have the time...and its created with commercials today, if the south won. Absolutely not politically correct, but thought provoking and very creative. Let me know what you think...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ic2nad-68A

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