I’ve heard dead people: Part III

Madame Weebles —  July 23, 2012 — 134 Comments

I’ve saved the spookiest tale for last.  This one is straight-up creepy.  I’m not kidding.  The experience gave me the serious heebie-jeebies.

So let’s make sure we have all of our supplies: Marshmallows, marshmallow toasting sticks, Hershey bars, graham crackers, campfire, and flashlights to shine under our chins to make scary faces at each other.  Are we all set?  Excellent.This one happened about 15 years ago.  I was visiting the battlefields in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  Gettysburg was the site of the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War: more than 50,000 casualties (Union and Confederate combined) in just three days.

If you’ve ever been to Gettysburg, you know what a weird place it is.  For those of you who have never visited, it’s a bizarre experience.  The town is charming and the battlefields are beautiful land now.  But even on the sunniest spring day, a sad pall hangs over the area.  It’s palpable.  Even if you had no idea where you were, you’d still know something terrible happened there.

I was with some friends for a ghost-hunting weekend.  (Don’t mock, we were doing this stuff way before Ghost Hunters et al ruined it.)  We stopped at an area called Cemetery Ridge, which was reputed to have a lot of unexplained activity.

At this location, on the evening of July 2, 1863, the 1st Minnesota Regiment was ordered to defend a U.S. Army artillery battery and hold off the advancing Confederates until reinforcements could arrive.  The trouble was, there were only 262 Minnesotans on Cemetery Ridge that night, and they faced three Alabama regiments numbering about 11,000 men.  In what was essentially a suicide mission, the 1st Minnesota charged.  The fight lasted less than 15 minutes but it stalled the Confederates long enough for additional Union forces to arrive and hold the line.  The Minnesotans suffered 215 casualties, including 40 dead.

You can see why such a place might be haunted.

We were in a wooded area with a clearing.  One of my friends wanted to see if he could get anything on tape.  So he took out a brand-new tape cassette (remember those?), removed the cellophane, and put the cassette in the recorder.  He turned the recorder on and left it running on a large rock.  We wandered around in the trees for a while and met back at the area near the rock.  We talked about how eerie the place was—it was almost dark and the winds were whipping everything around.  It was unsettling.  One of my friends even joked, “I wonder how many ghost soldiers are here with us right now.”  After hanging around for about 10 more minutes, we decided to call it a night.

Back in the car, we played the tape.  Nothing interesting.  A lot of ambient noise—wind, people walking around, the snapping of twigs.  Every so often it would pick up one of us talking, but that was about it.

When we got to the part where we were standing near the tape recorder, we heard our friend’s comment: “I wonder how many ghosts soldiers are here with us right now.”

About five seconds later on the tape, a hoarse, sad-sounding male voice said, “So many.”  Just those two words.  They were so distinct that it sounded as if the man had been talking directly into the microphone.

We all looked at each other.  Everyone had that WTF expression.  We must have played that section of the tape at least ten times.  There was no mistaking the voice or what it said.

Nobody else had been with us in that clearing.  No one had been close enough to speak into the recorder like that.  Not to mention the fact that the voice on the tape didn’t match any of ours.

The rest of the tape didn’t have anything interesting on it.  We never did figure out where the voice came from.  I can only assume it was one of the men from Minnesota letting us know that he—and a lot of his comrades—were still there…

134 responses to I’ve heard dead people: Part III

  1. 

    super creepy is right!

  2. 

    I always wondered why the dead would hang around the place they died… must be a bit depressing, one would imagine. I think I’d be away on the next bus to go haunt a distillery, or a strip-club or something :)

    • 

      The theory I’ve heard is that for many people who died a violent and/or untimely death, it somehow keeps them bound to the place they died. I hate to think that it’s true, and that souls are somehow “trapped” there, though. I’m with you–I’d rather haunt somewhere much more interesting…

  3. 

    Plink! Intersecting strings?

  4. 

    Ooooohhh spooky…I love it.

  5. 

    This is like the Sixty Sense (movie) kind of creepy. Remember he caught voices on a tape? I think it’s time for a Madame Weebles Ghost Buster reality show. Let me know if I can help you write and promote it. I’m happy to be your trusty sidekick, the one you say, Shhh-hhh all the time to. What do you think, you in? :).

  6. 

    I meant Sixth Sense…jeez.

  7. 

    That one gave me goosebumps!

    I’ve been to Gettysburg only once, and that was on an overnight school trip. It was uneventful, which is not surprising. The chaperones didn’t let us out of the hotel at night and, even if they had, I doubt a ghost soldier would ever want to talk to a bunch of goofy 14-year-olds.

    I’ve always longed to go back there and really see Gettysburg as an adult. Not for the ghosts, but just to better appreciate the history of the place (I am a bit of a Civil War geek).

    When I do go back I will be sure to pack a tape recorder.

    • 

      You need to go back there, Mike. If you’re a Civil War geek (I’m one too), then you must go. Just to see the place and take it all in, aside from the whole haunted thing. The problem is that because of all the ghost-hunting reality shows, Gettysburg nowadays is apparently overrun with idiots with cameras and tape recorders yelling “IS THERE ANYONE WITH US???”. If I were a ghost soldier, I’d want to kick the hell out of them.

  8. 

    Great story, MW. I have not been to Gettysburg, but have heard that it is a very sad feeling place. And to hear a voice on the tape!

    Have you ever read “The Field” by Lynn McTaggart? While it’s not about ghost stories, it is about the science behind vibration. In one part she talks about how random number generators (which put out an equal distribution of 0s and 1s) can be shifted when put it either “positive” places like sacred sites or “negative” places like Gettysburg or Dachau. The vibration seems to change depending on what went on there. I do know that many sensitive people can feel the energy of these places, whether they actually see or hear ghosts or not.

  9. 

    Ok, that is just creepy! It gave me the chills, and made my eyes water! Now I want to go to see that part of the country…

    • 

      It’s gorgeous countryside in that area, definitely worth a visit. Except for the whole sadness thing. Plus, Hershey is nearby, for a side trip with the boys. :)

      • 

        Hershey is a great place! The only one I know where you can acquire calories just by breathing the air! We took the boys 9 years ago, and I was looking at pictures from that trip and they didn’t remember it! Boy I sure did! I’m thinking a weekender to Gettysburg is in order.

  10. 

    OHMANTHATISSOCREEPY! Can I be on the show with you and Brigitte? I’ll be the one who acts all tough until the lights go out, and then pees herself and screams like a little girl.

    • 

      Absolutely, Kathy—the more the merrier. It will be so fun! Until you scream like a little girl, anyway. But Brigitte and I will make sure nothing bad happens to you.

  11. 

    Well he wasn’t going to say “None, so move on”, was he?

  12. 
    whiteladyinthehood July 23, 2012 at 9:39 am

    If I had heard the voice say, “So many.” I would have started screaming “oh.sh*t.oh.sh*t” until you slapped me! I would have went into excited panic mode! (you do have some spooky stories!)

  13. 

    Wow! My husband, who’s been to Gettysburg many times, has told me of experiencing weird things there, too. None caught on tape! And now, since I read him the post because I thought he might enjoy it (he did!), he’s got Ghost Hunters on. Sheesh – no good deed goes unpunished, indeed! :)

    • 

      HA! Sorry, Margarita. Ghost Hunters is a fun show as long as you don’t take it seriously—which so many people do, unfortunately. But yeah, I’ve had a lot of strange experiences at Gettysburg….smelling pipe tobacco when there’s nobody around—one time I was with 4 other girls and I was the only one who smelled it, even though to me it was overpowering. Strange goings-on around there….

  14. 

    Eeek! I have heard stories about Gettysburg (went to school nearby), but this is the most chilling for sure. It’s one thing to have a powerful emotional reaction to something because that can be created on your own, but another entirely when you hear something and have your friends to back you up. Great story! I’d love to stay in one of the creepy hotels in Gettysburg if you ever want to get our reiki energy stuff up in there.

  15. 

    This is damn creepy. I feel my little chills go up every time I hear this story because I know you’re not one to go off the handle at any little bump in the night.

    But how come it’s just people from the civil war? Why not some dinosaur ghosts? Or some dipshit “bro” who wrecked his jeep whipping around dead man’s curve? “Dude, I’m totally dead!”

    • 

      It’s always so tempting to whisper creepy shit in your ear while you’re sleeping.

      There probably are douchebags ghosts, of guys who died because they slammed their cars into a lamppost or something, but I like to think that the soldier ghosts fucked up their shit and kicked them out of their space.

  16. 

    Dear Madame,
    That is so awesome.
    And sad, too!!
    Why don’t those souls go to the light, dammit?
    Go!!!
    Don’t hang around, dudes!
    Poor dead guys.
    Awesome story!!!!
    Love , LIs
    xoxoox

  17. 

    Creepy but somehow comforting. Not all spirits wanna chuck your book collection around and smash up your crockery. Some of them just want a chat.

  18. 

    Ooohhh…. Weebs, this is supes spooky, and yet “spooky” may be the wrong word? I think that the dead leave behind some sort of energy. Places like prisons, battlefields, prisoner of war camps, etc. are “haunted” by the weight of the atrocities and suffering. I remember Oprah went to Auschwitz and said she physically felt darkness and suffering.
    Likewise, I think sometimes we feel light energy and it makes us happy. Places can have good vibes or dark vibes…
    Brrrrr… It’s a great story. I have no doubt that spirits linger and communicate.

    • 

      Definitely agree, Grippy. Definitely. The energy at G’burg is really obvious, even to people who aren’t usually sensitive to that sort of stuff. I can’t even imagine going to Auschwitz or one of the other camps, I’d probably want to throw up.

  19. 

    If I had been driving in that car and listening to that tape i guarantee you I would have crashed. I wish there was someway you could have embedded that audio clip for us so we could have all crapped ourselves upon hearing it. Does your friend still have that tape?

    • 

      Fortunately we hadn’t started driving yet, we were just sitting in the car in the parking area. Otherwise I’m sure we would have gone right into a tree or something. I never thought to ask for a copy of the tape, I don’t know why. That was stupid. I assume he still has it, I haven’t been in touch with him in about 10 years. But now I’m curious. I might have to look him up.

  20. 

    Ooh, that one gave me a good chill. I’m a very practical person, and as such, when someone asks me if I believe in ghosts, I say “no.” But I always add, “But just because I don’t believe in something doesn’t mean it’s not real.”

  21. 

    That’s a great story. I need that guy to talk to my class during Civil War time. But, you know what’s really scary? I’ve never had a s’mores.

  22. 

    Tres Terrifying, Madam, and I’m crying because it’s so flipping sad.
    BUT.
    I wanna be on the show too, cast me as the dame who always carries snacks, band aids and an extra cassette tape for the recorder… you know, the prepared one with a bottomless pit bag. Please?

  23. 

    Did none of you go back for a follow-up visit? Just to ask more questions, see if the voice replied, again?

  24. 

    I love all your ghost stories. Joe wrote a few once too. I haven’t experienced anything like all of these, but I wonder sometimes if I just don’t pay attention to stuff. Do you still have the tape?

  25. 

    Ooh, that one made the hair stand up on the back of my neck!

  26. 

    Alright, that’s it, you’re crackers. I’m outta here.
    (Yeah, right.)
    You gave me chills, by the way. Well done.

  27. 

    Spooky. Although in my head I would want to go back and ask again, with the addendum “be more specific this time”.

    Cool story though. It reminds me of the builders working in the UK somewhere (I forget where), in a basement, who heard soldiers marching. They later discovered the remains of a Roman road below the basement.

  28. 

    This is what I don’t get about ghost hunters, why scare yourself so badly?

    Want to hear something really freaky? I actually watched the movie Gettysburg last night. Creepy eh? I didn’t realize it was a double sided disc so I watched the second half first then was really upset when it ended without the “Bayonettes!” line.

    I stole a ball pit from the McDonalds at Gettysburg and a chubby girl offered me a sexual favor. Other than that it was pretty normal experience for me when I went.

  29. 

    I’ve wondered about the idea that spirits are “tied” to a place and need to be “helped” to the other side. What if they’re not tied there? Maybe they can come and go from one side to the other whenever they please…. Maybe we’ve got all kinds of options when we leave this existence…. Just a thought. Great experience! :)

    • 

      I’ve wondered about this too, JM. I hate to think that spirits are tied to the place they died. I mean, what kind of eternity is that?? I like to think that we can visit all kinds of places, haunt people when we want to, hang out, etc. Why should we have less fun up there than we do down here??

  30. 

    Yay! This was a good one. Hell, if Socrates can believe in ghosts so can I. My family says they’d felt my dad’s presence after he died. If ghosts are energy of people who are too attached to the material world, or people who are lost souls, I hope my family’s imagining things, because it sounds awful to be a ghost who is in limbo for horrible reasons. I don’t like thinking of my dad in that situation — I think of him as someone who would let go. I enjoyed reading this.

  31. 

    Well now you’ve gone and done it! My hairs are all standing on end (and I’m Italian, so I have a lot of them). It is amazing and true, that you can go to the site of a gruesome battle and still feel the death hanging in the air, centuries later. We visited the Culloden Battlefield in Scotland, and it was the saddest, most somber piece of land I ever walked. We did not capture any voices on tape, but we could feel the death, still.

    • 

      My half-Sicilian blood renders me sympathetic to you, Robin. I’ve never been to Culloden but I can imagine that the feeling in the air would be similar to that of Gettysburg. A very pervasive sad feeling.

  32. 
    Stacie Chadwick July 23, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    You had me at ” Hershey Bars” but I wanted to see what the hell happened this time. That’s totally freaky. So what does one do with abilities like yours? The only strange voices I hear exist entirely in my head.

  33. 

    Yeah, it’s likely I would have been, at the very least, given a case of the serious “weirds.”

    The historical setting makes this (to me, anyway) a lot cooler, and creepier, too. I’ve never been to Gettysburg, although I very much wanted to go. I came within 60 miles once, while on the way to a wedding. We didn’t have a lot of time (but we probably could have swung it), but the dude who was driving didn’t help by telling me how cool it was and how I should “definitely go–sometime when you have more time, I mean. Not now.”

    • 

      I would have had a hard time not throttling the guy who was driving. You’ll need to pay us a visit here in the Eastern Time Zone, Smak. G’burg is worth a trip, especially if you’re a history guy. Come for the history, stay for the weirds.

  34. 
    goingtoandromeda July 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    WOAH. Do you still have the tape? I may not sleep tonight.

  35. 

    Got dragged to Gettysburg as a kid…beautiful – but as you say, strange (and I remember thinking how weird it was for tourists to be everywhere)
    I definitely can believe that voice was there!

    • 

      Yeah, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed Gettysburg much as a kid either. But I love going there now. All of the battlefields I’ve been to are very pretty and very interesting, but all with a sad, creepy vibe to them.

  36. 

    Weird, Madam Weebles. I’ve lived in old buildings (one mentioned in the doomsday book) but never had any evidence of spirits. I get spooked from time to time, but I think that’s my over active (or under-controlled) imagination. Having some sort of physical evidence in another thing.

    I wonder why a spirit would want to stay in the spot where they died? Maybe there is something about not being able to leave a group? Or perhaps there’s a reason they’re forced to stay?

    Well, sleep tight tonight :)

    Cheers!

  37. 

    i’d be the one waiting in Hershey, inhaling chocolate through every available orifice, while y’all went out there with the recording devices.

    i lived in DC for a year – did all the museums and monuments i could cover. but could not go to the Holocaust Museum. and expect i couldn’t go to Auschwitz or Dachau for the same reasons. Have you visited such sites?

    • 

      As long as you save a chocolate bar for me, daisyfae.

      I went to the Holocaust Museum, and although it made me sad to read all the stuff and see all the exhibitions, I didn’t get that horrific sad vibe that I expected to. Going to visit one of the camps would probably be a different story, I’m sure I’d be a sad, bawling mess. Same thing for going to any of the World War I battlefields in France. I’m thinking it’s got to be awful.

  38. 

    That’s what you get for leaving a tape recorder running in a haunted place. I love this kind of stuff. I used to read “true” ghost stories all the time as a kid, and just recently my love of all things supernatural has been rekindled. I think it’s amazing that you got a response.

    Just for the record, I am sure there is an afterlife (I’ve received some personal evidence of it). I am equally sure that spirits remain tied to certain places, people, and things. You just got a first hand experience of it. I don’t know whether I should feel jealous or relieved that I wasn’t there.

    • 

      I read “true” ghost stories as a kid too, purple. It’s hard to sort out the bullshit from the real deal sometimes but I still love it. I’m sure there’s an afterlife—I’ve had too many weird experiences with it not to believe.

  39. 

    As I was typing my comment, one of the all time creepy, vaguely haunted American songs came on the computer. “The Coo Coo Bird” by Clarence “Tom” Ashley, available for your goosebump filled listening on The American Anthology of Folk Music.

  40. 

    I’m so gonna write about this.. i’ve had spectre experiences–both goofy and creepy.

  41. 

    Dang …. Creepy yes … but I haven’t been to GB … so I guess I should get there! Meanwhile, there is a good syrah named the SIxth Sense. :)

  42. 

    Love your ghost stories! I didn’t feel creeped out at all…but then, A Christmas Carol is one of my all-time favorite movies…all versions even. I haven’t been to Gettysburg but did visit the Vietnam War Memorial (my generation). Sadness abounds there, too. And a lot of vets who’ve been there experience strange phenomena, too. Perhaps the sadness goes where it’s needed?

    • 

      It’s funny that you mention Vietnam, paralaxvu—I met a Vietnam vet at Gettysburg, on that same weekend, and he was telling me a story about a guy in his unit who guided some patrol men through a booby-trapped area. But it turned out that this soldier had been killed earlier that morning…

  43. 

    An amazing story. That moment when you all heard those words for the first time must have been electrifying. I’ve never been to Gettysburg: maybe I should go someday…

    • 

      Electrifying is an excellent word to describe it, Kate. By all means come on over to Gettysburg and check it out! Of course, there are so many haunted places in England that I’m dying to visit myself. Maybe we should swap places.

  44. 

    I’ve heard a lot of people have had some spooky experiences in that place. I kinda want to check it out for myself. Sorta like touching my tongue to a sore in my mouth, just to make sure it still hurts. Ooohhh

    • 

      So glad to see you here, legionwriter! Yeah, G’burg is worth a trip. Meanwhile I know what you mean about checking to see if it still hurts. I do that with hangnails.

      • 

        You too?! I think I’m declaring you my official blogging sister. I’ve always had hangnail issues, but lately I’ve been suffering from severe anxiety, and I’ve been gnawing my fingers to death without thinking.
        Next time someone points out how ugly my bloody fingers are, I’m going to respond with one word – “Gettysburg”

  45. 

    Yes I have been there and it is a long way from California. And indeed there is a sadness to the place. How could it not carry something from the past that speaks to those you are listening.

  46. 

    Was a tourist for a week in DC in 1995 and visited Gettysburg. I left a stone from Pickett’s charge at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

  47. 

    And I thought your previous stories were spooky–this one had serious chills running up and down my spine! You guys were brave to visit and do the recording.

    Growing up, I lived in my Gram’s 100 year old house (many of my relatives died in that house) My mom finally sold the house after my dad died. My brothers and I were sitting in the empty house, reminiscing. I stood up and said, “Well, looks like we have to leave and say goodbye” Suddenly a female voice said (really loud and scared), “What? Were are we going?” All of us heard it.

  48. 

    Now THAT’S spooky. Was it your grandmother’s voice?

  49. 

    Now this one gave me chills! Thank you for this afternoon blogging delight. Was a very enjoyable trio.

  50. 

    spooky! i like these kind of stories..

  51. 

    yo! i think i should go to that place!

  52. 

    Thanks for these 3 posts about your experiences. I was captivated.

  53. 

    I have GOOSEBUMPS!! Wow, that’s crazy…

  54. 

    Yeah…I can definitely see how that would freak you and your friends the eff out!! Wow, what an experience. Did you ever experience anything like this as a kid??

  55. 

    I also started becoming aware of things like this around age 40. Nothing as clear and specific as your experiences, but undeniable, nonetheless. My clearest experience was my deceased father. That was a little weird at first, but actually was very nice. Have you had any experiences involving family members?

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