I woke up this morning to see a very interesting story on my news feed. A video is going around apparently showing two ghosts crossing a road in one of my favorite places, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Gettysburg battlefield is the site of the bloodiest and most important battle of the American Civil War, as it was the turning point for the North, who up until that point had not been faring well against the Confederacy. Over three intense days of battle starting July 1st, 1863, the Union Army of the North defeated the nigh-unstoppable General Robert E. Lee and his army, forcing them to retreat back to the South.
Because of the history of the battle and the sheer number of casualties (including civilian Jennie Wade), the town and surrounding battlefields have become a bright, shining beacon of supernatural interest, attracting legions of ghost hunters in recent years. And while there were a handful of ghost stories involving Gettysburg National Military Park before the recent popularity of ghost hunting shows, the ensuing paranormal pop culture just fueled the rumor mill, to the point where now it’s hard to tell what’s a legitimate ghost story and what has simply been fabricated in order to sell tickets to any number of the local ghost hunting tours (SPOILER ALERT: most of the stories have no basis in fact or reality and are completely made up).
Anyway, I love Gettysburg and have been going there for many years, not as ghost hunter, but as someone who deeply appreciates history. So there’s no wonder why the below video caught my attention. It allegedly shows two “ghosts” crossing the road near some cannons, and looks quite spooky. But is this finally proof that Gettysburg is haunted? Or is something else going on here? Take a look…
If you watch the video closely (and start looking at the 0:15 mark), you can clearly see that these are smudges on the windshield of the car. Even back at the 0:06 mark, as cameraman Greg Yuelling is moving his camera around in the car, before the “ghosts” even appear, you can faintly see the smudges on the windshield. The alleged ghosts move in perfect unison with the car’s movements, and the movement of the handheld camera just makes them look like they are moving independently, fooling the brain’s perception of what it’s seeing. The figures appear to move position on the battlefield, but they themselves do not move and are in no way articulated – you don’t see legs or arms or the basic shape moving at all. That’s because this is simply two smudges on the windshield, and they are just reflecting the light a little better during some parts of the video than in others. At about the 0:36 mark, as Yuelling gets out of the car, you can still see the smudge over one of the cannons. A creepy looking video, for sure. But easily explained and debunked. No ghosts here, unfortunately.
Gettysburg is a wonderful town, and a beautifully preserved park. I’ve been there countless times, and ironically, it’s one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been. If you love history, it’s a must-visit. Now, I’m not saying that Gettysburg isn’t haunted. But I’ve yet to have a paranormal encounter there, and I’ve yet to see any convincing videos from anyone showing anything paranormal happening there. I just don’t think it’s as haunted as people like (or want) to believe. Add this video to the list of clips that just perpetuates the myth of an extremely haunted Gettysburg.