October 5, 2008

One of my favorite things

One of the most interesting things we did while in Gettysburg was take a ghost walk with the Ghostly Imagines Tour Company. They took us to the former Children's Orphanage (Now the soldiers museum.) It seems that during the Civil War one solider was found dead clutching a photo of his three children. The picture was printed on October 19, 1863, in the Philadelphia Inquirer with a story under the provocative headline: "Whose Father Was He?"

The article said "a Union soldier was found in a secluded spot on the battlefield, where, wounded, he had laid himself down to die. In his hands, tightly clasped, was an ambrotype containing the portraits of three small children ... and as he silently gazed upon them his soul died. How touching! How solemn! ... It is earnestly desired that all papers in the country will draw attention to the discovery of this picture and its attendant circumstances, so that, if possible, the family of the dead hero may come into possession of it. Of what inestimable value will it be to these children, proving, as it does, that the last thought of their dying father was for them, and them only."

Amos' wife, Philinda Humiston, living in Portville, New York, eventually came upon a news account of the photo. So much sympathy was poured out for the Humiston family that the proceeds allowed for the creation of an orphanage in Gettysburg for children of soldiers.

Philinda moved to Gettysburg and for awhile ran the orphanage. She remarried and moved away leaving the children (in the orphanage) in the care of a young woman by the name of Rosa Carmichaels. Rosa was very cruel to the children. She would beat them, and chain them to the walls in the basement. There was a room that Rosa put the Orphans in to beat called the pit. She had 14 to 19 year old boys called stick boys. They carried large sticks to beat the boys as well as girl orphans. She also place the children in a cave type dwelling that has been nicknamed "The Pit".
Some of the children died while in her care, and are said to haunt the basement
and yard. Some visitors have had their clothes and bodies tugged at by invisible spirits.

The group I was with walked out to the stone wall that runs along the orphanage. The guide had warned us that some people have trouble taking photos there or have strange things show up on the camera. Several people around me took photos that came out with nothing but a white rope like streak running through the photo. When I tried to take photos I could not get my camera to work. I checked it and to my surprise found that my batteries were completely drained. We had just put fresh batteries in that had been charged just prior to going on the tour. (Thankfully we had extra batteries)
Once inside they took us in and let us see the pit and also where the children had been shacked. While listening to our guide the chain that separated the room suddenly started to swing. No one was near it and everyone in the group witnessed this. Suddenly one lady cried out..Oh my god..I just heard a voice say Help Me..someone help me. At one point they put the lights out and we sat in total darkness for five minutes. Do you know how long five minutes is when you can not see your hand in front of your face and you know you are sitting in a haunted place. Well, let me tell you it is a long time. Once the lights came back on our guide played a tape for us with EVP (recordings) taken by a local paranormal group. You could hear children's voices on the tape. He also showed us some photos that people had taken over the years and that the paranormal group had taken. They showed orbs and steaks of while. Then on the last photo he pulled out you can see three little face peeking around the chain...yep..the one that kept swinging..
It was really awesome!
If you ever get a chance to go to Gettysburg make sure you take this tour.
Be sure and click on each photo to show it full size.

Photo hanging on the wall is of the three children and is like the one found in the dying soldiers hand.

Our guide Bob talking with one of the other people on our tour. This is at the wall that is haunted and where my batteries went dead when we first arrived

The chain that moved on its own

My husband checking out the chain to make sure it is not rigged to move (It wasn't)

A view of the pit....The doll had been placed there and we were told sometime when people come in it has moved to a different location on its own

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