When I was fifteen, my family moved into a house in Philadelphia that, at the time was approximately eighty or eighty-five years old. It's still standing (or was, at any rate, the last time I was in that neighborhood several years ago), and was the site of something which I, to this day have never been able to explain even to myself but has stayed with me ever since.
We were a typical nuclear family of the late 1960's. Dad worked, Mom stayed home, I had just finished my sophomore year in high school, and my younger twin brothers had completed first grade. Absolutely nothing extraordinary there.
Well, it was a summer afternoon. I was home alone. Dad was at work, my brothers were at the playground, and Mom was receiving a cancer treatment at a local hospital. I was engaged in what passed for amusing myself by sitting at the kitchen table reading a news magazine (we took both Time and Newsweek, but after all these years I'm hanged if I can remember which one it was!).
Now, the way the house was designed, there was a back door that led to a small wooden porch. We normally kept the porch door shut, but the kitchen door was usually open during the day. As I sat there reading, something (again, don't ask me what) caused me to look at the back door. There stood, of all things, a youngish man dressed in a Revolutionary War uniform. I must have stared for a good twenty or thirty seconds before it hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks that people don't dress that way, at least not anymore. It was then that the figure kind of smiled and faded. At no time did I feel frightened, only curious. I never bothered to tell my parents about it, only my best bud, who also was interested in such things.
We never were able to figure it out; until the area was developed in the late 1800's, my understanding is that it was all farmland. However there was a battle relatively close by in what was at the time, a small place called Germantown and the historian in me is still wondering... And, in adulthood, one of my brothers told me that he'd seen the same figure himself on occasion!
I do find it a bit odd that the wasn't carrying anything. If he were waiting to be relieved or holding a post, he would more than likely be armed or carry his haversack, at least. The only occasion that I can think of where he might not carry accoutrements would be in an encampment where his weapon was stacked and his kit would be at his bivouac. There's also the possibility that his timeframe is post-war. After the war many soldiers continued to wear their uniforms or portions of them. Some had no other clothes while others wanted to be identified by their service. I wonder if there wasn't a tavern or farm in the late eighteenth century on that site.