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The Gettysburg Soldier

 

This incident occurred way back when I was 12 years old in the 8th grade in Junior High School (That's what it was called back then in the 60's.) when our history teacher, Mrs. K., arranged a field trip to historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, for the entire class. Our parents filled out the necessary paperwork, and we readied ourselves for this momentous field trip.

Mrs. K was a very knowledgeable, and, to some degree, tough teacher. We all swore that 'she' knew George Washington, and Abe Lincoln 'personally'. Seriously. I used to complain about her to my mom, but my mom said that if she was tough, it was because she 'really' was a thorough, and efficient educator. She was right. To this day I actually do remember what Mrs. K drilled into our heads. Believe me, you 'learned' in 'her' class, and I'm grateful for that in retrospect.

On to the trip. We were loaded onto 2 Greyhound buses. The boys on one bus, and us girls in the other. The buses were carrying a full load of pre-teenagers from Willoughby, Ohio to Pennsylvania. Eek! God love them for enduring us for the entirety of that trip. Before arriving in Gettysburg, we went through Hershey, PA., where the chocolate factory is located. We toured the factory where the work force was mostly Amish employees, and we all got free little bags of candy bars. Very cool. From there we went to have dinner in a nice restaurant. After dinner, it was getting toward dusk. We spent the night in a Best Western Hotel and had to get up early the next morning to continue on to Gettysburg.

Once we arrived in Gettysburg, they took us to another facility that was a bunch of neat, little cabins lined up in a row on both sides of the property. They arranged for us to bunk 4 to a cabin. The cabins all had a couple double beds in them. The boys on one side of the road, and the girls opposite them. We went to the main building there as it had a large cafeteria and proceeded to have lunch. During our lunch the 3 teachers that accompanied us on the trip were handing out some fliers for us to peruse about the museums, battlegrounds, homes, pertinent facts, etc...

Sometime early afternoon we embarked on our tour of the fields/battlegrounds.

There were many statues commemorating the famous officers/Generals that were involved in the strategies, and the battles. They had reenactors that were dressed up as Union, and Confederate soldiers. We were escorted by one man, dressed as a union soldier who had a real musket that he loaded and fired off for us. It was very loud. I swear every bird in every tree flew into the air after he fired it. It was fascinating.

Afterwards, they enacted a battle for us. Live theater. It was great.

After the entertainment we were allowed to wander the grounds upon which those battles were fought. You could just 'feel' the history as you were walking the fields. I was with about 10 other girls as we were meandering across the fields. We stopped, briefly, next to a group of rocks behind which were 3 artillery cannons. The cannon balls were in little stacked piles next to guns. From that focal point we could look off into the distance to see the rest of the fields. It was vast.

Unexpectedly off in the distance, but close enough to notice, there came a young man out of the wooded area surrounding the fields. He looked to be about 15, maybe 16. Too young to even be shaving. I thought he was rather cute. As most young pre-teen girls are about boys.

He was wearing a blue union uniform that seemed to be rather worn and dirty. He was shouldering a musket gun that, almost looked as tall as he did. He had brownish hair, white gloves, a big belt around his waist with a canteen, and other accoutrements that a soldier would require.

Naturally, I assumed he was another reenactor. He raised his hand when he noticed me looking at him, smiled and waved to me. I, instinctively, waved back at him. It was the polite thing to do anyway. One of the other girls I was with asked me 'who' I was waving at. I, suddenly, realized that 'she' didn't see the young man that 'I' saw. I told her that I was waving away the gnats that were swarming around. The gnats were swarming around about that time so she believed me.

I felt a little chill go up my spine, but then began to rationalize that since I had soldiers on my mind, that I was simply 'seeing' things.

I said nothing to the other girls.

We were ushered back to our cabins once it began to get dark and got ready for bed. The other 3 girls I was sharing accommodations with were somewhat silent. Finally, one girl came to me and said she just 'had' to confide in me. She said that she noticed me in the school library reading books on ghosts and the paranormal thereby assuming that 'I' believed in that stuff. I confirmed that I did. She and the other 2 girls confessed to me that 'they' saw the young soldier also. They noticed me wave, and were about to do the same when the one girl asked me 'who' I was waving at. They, too, figured out that not everyone there 'saw' him. I felt a bit spooked at this point, but gratified that 'others' did see what I saw.

We, then, had a lengthy discussion about the whole thing. We 'saw' him and we each described the same young man to a tee. We were trying to reason 'why' only 'we' saw him. Couldn't answer that one, but we theorized that, just maybe, that very young soldier just wanted 'our' friendly recognition and to let us know 'he' was there and did his duty. We got a little closer on that trip and we never forgot it. It is rather humbling to think that so many young boys fought and died on those grounds never getting the chance to realize manhood because of it.

I went back to Gettysburg twice more later on. Once with my parents and sister. The last time with my 1st husband. I never saw the soldier again. Possibly because I was still a kid I was more open to seeing him. I could still feel the presences on the fields though.

Gettysburg is a truly amazing, historic and humbling place to go to. If you get the chance please experience it for yourself!

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, Linjahaha, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

Pelatiah (4 stories) (74 posts)
+2
5 months ago (2023-11-20)
Fantastic story... I was in middle school in the 70s (we used to call it Jr. High too) and I can just imagine how fun that trip was! Nice writing.

Love the comments here as well. I'm in Atlanta, GA and we have many battlefields here. I live in a neighborhood in the suburbs that was the location of one of Sherman's field hospitals and the home they used is still standing, with it's backyard backing up to the homes across the street from me. The young girls who live there have mentioned to me that they see ghosts regularly there, and I'm fairly convinced my yard hosts some of them every now and then. Like you I've always had a fair interest in ghost stuff... Shows like the Twilight Zone, the Ghost and Mrs. Muir, etc. Probably primed the pump, but I'm a regular suburban mom, former journalist and military wife, husband is a retired Marine. The event that caused me to REALLY believe happened a few years ago on a nearby battlefield. Https://www.yourghoststories.com/real-ghost-story.php?story=26959
Thank you for the story!
DarriuxDarkk (6 stories) (79 posts)
 
6 months ago (2023-11-09)
Would it be possible that you and the other girls actually saw a reenactor or of some sorts and probably just that one girl missed it?

When that one girl asked you who you are waving at, did you see the boy actually vanish on sight?
Linjahaha (24 stories) (127 posts)
+2
6 months ago (2023-10-26)
Lost Voyage, Thank you so much for your comments! I always enjoy hearing about your insightful theories. I really do appreciate them.
I am aware of what is called the residual haunting effect. Where what we see is actually like a tape recording. Only it is recorded in the ether of the atmosphere to be played back time and again under the right atmospheric conditions.
This incident seemed to me, anyway, to be intelligent interaction.
He reacted to our presences. He even smiled as he waved to us. I felt so sad for him though. He was so young. Just a kid.
However, our teacher pointed out that a big majority of the soldiers were barely out of school when they were fighting the Civil War. Over 50, 000 in just Gettysburg perished on that field.
That is just in 'that' region. The cumulative amount that perished from fighting in the other areas must be staggering to say the least.
Yes. It was a fascinating experience for me and the others. Something that we'll never forget. For sure, I haven't as this account proves.
If I can find the time off from working & someone to accompany me, I'd like to make another trip to Gettysburg. It's beautiful out there in the Summertime and very thought provoking to know what took place out there during the early beginnings of our Country.
You could say it was a very spiritual experience!

Thank you again and all the Best! 😁 😁
The_Lost_Voyage_11 (7 stories) (238 posts)
+2
6 months ago (2023-10-26)
Hello Linjahaha, what a fascinating and well written account. Your stories always have such detail!

I wouldn't be surprised if more people in your group saw the same man but as you said were afraid to comment on it. Even the young girl who asked, may have asked because she too saw it, but was unsure of what she was looking at and was looking for validation. I can't tell you how many times, the first person in the group to ask a similar question always admits later to seeing it as well. Of course I can't say for sure, but I'm willing to wager that more than just you and the other few girls that came forward saw it.

I believe places where emotions ran high and were experienced by so many people at one time, are highly charged atmospheres and the so called laws of time and space contained within don't operate the same. I think it creates a rift in what we consider time, and I don't think that everyone who sees soldiers on these battlefields is an actual ghost. It's akin to looking back through time, but the looking glass works both ways and they can see into what we consider the present, and for them the future. Then of course both parties can interact for a brief period of time. For him in this case (if that's what it was, but I'm not convinced) since the battlefield was the same, decked out in his time period as it were, other than the way you were dressed you wouldn't look too out of place.

It's an interesting aside and food for thought, but I don't believe that's what happened in your story for 2 reasons. The first is that not everyone saw him, at least as far as we know, it's unclear how many people actually saw him. A time rift, is like a window, not like seeing a ghost, everyone would have seen something. The second is his reaction, if he were in his own time, he would have been alarmed, considering his role, to see a bunch of young women on a battlefield and in potential danger in the middle of a war. Instead he behaved as if we were out taking a casual stroll in a field. It indicates he's far more aware of his surroundings and state of being than a typical ghost. That confirms what you suspected that he wanted to show himself briefly, possibly only to reveal that he did his duty and proudly.

I suspect he hasn't moved on, because he was taken before he really got to live, as you also stated. Though he's not ready to move on, in his perspective, he's not done with his life either. Either way, I enjoyed your account, thanks for sharing!
Rajine (14 stories) (776 posts)
+2
6 months ago (2023-10-24)
Hi Linjahaha

The way you described your excursion up to the point of seeing that young man's ghost, seemed to be very fun and exciting, I've read up and watched a lot of documentaries on Gettysburg and I find it fascinating, sad but fascinating, to think so young people participated in the war and lost their lives even before it could fully begin.
MiaG (29 posts)
+2
6 months ago (2023-10-23)
Hello Linjahaha,

That was an experience to remember for sure.

I watched a small clip on TV ages back with the help 'Val/YGS Mod', I found the footage on YouTube so I could rewatch it because I missed bits when it aired on TV.

Here's the link if you're interested.

Https://youtu.be/E7QDvcC14EY?si=G96THyr8nowZ0bFV

I don't know enough about Gettysburg, but I do feel a heavy sadness when I watch that clip. The poor soldiers. I can't imagine what they went through. May they all RIP.

Thank you for sharing your details of your tour.

MiaG. 😊
Linjahaha (24 stories) (127 posts)
+3
6 months ago (2023-10-23)
Lady-glow, I am very glad that you enjoyed the account. As to 'why' only a few of us noticed the soldier...Well. I used to read the paranormal accounts written by the famous Parapsychologist, Hans Holzer. He surmised that we 'all' have that ability. If you wish to call it that. He said that 'some' people 'are' more sensitive to those events than others. It depends on the 'degree' of sensitivity in the individual.
I imagine because we were 'kids' that we were far more open to something like that. We never knew if any of the boys saw him because we kept the incident to ourselves. Back in the 60's people were not as comfortable with the subject of the paranormal as they seem to be today, as this site indicates.
I am so glad for this site since it appears that more people around the world are far more accepting of this subject than they were about 50 years ago. It goes a long way toward saying that more people seem to be far more open-minded than they were back then.
We were afraid of being called kooks. Therefore, we only discussed it amongst ourselves to avoid that criticism. It was a different time period. It was during that time, between the 50's-60's that there were all those reports of flying saucers, also. Those people were called either nuts, or it was said that they were seeing naturally occurring phenomena that 'appeared' to 'look' like flying saucers. I remember Project Blue-Book written by an air-force Major, Donald Kehoe. He was exposing the cover-ups.
Too many people were skeptics around that time period. Therefore, those of us that saw something like a ghost, or some kind of paranormal event, more, or less, just kept it to themselves. Not unlike the other girls and I did at the time.
As far as the phantom soldier. He may not have known he was deceased. I cannot say for sure on that subject. However, we saw the sweet smile on his young face and the friendly wave of the hand acknowledging our presence when he noticed 'us' looking at him. I think he just wanted someone to know he is still there doing his duty that cost him so dearly so many years ago.
Like I said, we could only surmise that at the time it happened. We discussed it rather excitedly, but that was the conclusion that 'we' drew.
Honestly. If you go visit Gettysburg you cannot help but feel all the emotions that were spent there in that place. It was a truly humbling, yet exciting experience. Again, thank you for reading and commenting. I hope I was, somewhat, able to answer your questions!

The Very Best to You! 😊 😊
lady-glow (16 stories) (3157 posts)
+4
6 months ago (2023-10-23)
Hello Linjahaha.

It seems like that field trip was exciting and fun.

I find it puzzling when a group of people are present during a paranormal event but only a few are able to witness the activity.
It makes me wonder if ghosts choose who is allowed to see them, or if it depends on the degree of sensibility/acceptance of each person, but then, - are all ghosts aware of their passing and of not having a physical body?

Fascinating experience. Thanks for sharing.

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