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Unexplained Cases | Confederate Stronghold

Written by: Darren Dedo
Case Filed: 07/12/19 - Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Executive Producer: Rick Garner




For three straight days during the hot Pennsylvania summer in July of 1863, Union and Confederate soldiers were locked in a bloody battle to try and get control of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Both sides suffered heavy casualties and some of those spirits are believed to be still be wandering the battlefield and this small town. One of those spots with reported paranormal activity is a place with a very historic past.

Our guide for the night, Paranormal Investigator Robert "Night Monkey" Simmons of Gettysburg Paranormal Association/ Gettysburg Ghost Tours explains, "Where we are now, we call the Confederate Stronghold. The reason for that in the Battle of Gettysburg the creek bed we walked past is what the Confederates called the Confederate Stronghold. The reason for that - Gettysburg was going through a very dry season. That creek bed we passed was completely dried out at the time. It was a great place to hide any of the wounded soldiers and keep them out of the line of fire and hopefully they could recover, get on their feet and get out of here after the war ended.

“This property was owned by a gentlemen named Harvey Sweeney. Harvey Sweeney owned what is now known as the Farnsworth House. It is believed that from this property is where the shot came that hit Jennie Wade and killed her. If you don’t know who Jenny Wade is she the only civilian to be shot and killed during the Battle of Gettysburg. And, again from this property that we believe the shot came from it was a confederate sharpshooter that ended up hitting her.”

Jennie Wade was only 20 years old when a stray bullet struck and killed her on July 3, 1863. Historians say Wade was kneading dough for bread when she was fatally shot in her sister’s home. While this building was not here during the war it was the area it was built upon that holds a dark past of death and despair for Confederate soldiers who actually survived the battle.. but, never made it home.

Night Monkey continues, “The creek ran through that building and that’s where they were able to hide a lot of the soldiers keep them out of the line of fire because they were wounded. And, on July 4th the rain started coming in and the town started flooding. The creek bed flooded, washed over the men, buried them in mud and water...pretty much a living grave at that point with a lot of men suffering.”

The energy of so much loss has super charged the property with supernatural spiritual energy. The Unexplained Cases team joined forces again with Night Monkey and a crew of amateur ghost hunters to investigate what is known as the Confederate Stronghold. First though, we had to learn a bit more about one of the ghosts who frequents the home.

“Prior to the battle of Gettysburg, Harvey Sweeney had 4 children. Three of them were boys, one a girl. Because he had three young boys and there was woods out here with a creek bed, most likely he and his children would come out to the woods and play around and have a good time. We have talked with a child in the building. The child tells us his name is Jack. One of Harvey Sweeney’s sons was John. Jack is a nickname for John. It is very possible that's who we are talking to. When we talk to the child we usually do so in the little apartment on the other side of that wall there.”

So, our team of paranormal investigators had their hands full with searching out spirits in the building. A spirit box session might have connected with Jack early on. The device uses radio frequencies that allow the dead to communicate with the living through the white noise.

We clearly hear the phrase “Hear me" come through loud and clear.

While we communicated with who we believed to be Jack, my camera caught a strange light anomaly on the right side of the screen. Was this Jack trying to use his energy to say – hey, I’m here - or was it just dust? It was very strange indeed. 

Jack didn’t fight in the Civil War but other ghosts in the home did. A session with dowsing rods was truly remarkable. Some paranormal investigators believe the device can detect spiritual energy, allows a ghost to manipulate the rods for communication. An apparent Union Army solider made an incredible connection with Cindy Altland and her family.

“We got our phones out and were showing him our phones. He was pointing the rods at each one of our phones as we were talking at length. We called each other to show him how it worked. It was wild!”

The spirit is believed to be Joshua - his name discovered via the spirit box. He answered the family’s questions for more than 10 minutes. The precision of the answers was stunning.

“Joshua did you survive the entire Civil War? If so can you point the rods straight ahead. Put them together." The rods move straight ahead.

“Joshua, during the Battle of Gettysburg, did you experience a lot of death? If so, can you take the rods and point them away. The rods move outward, pointing in different directions.

“Did you die after the battle was over?" The rods move.

“When you died were you still in the town of Gettysburg. Were you still in this area when you died?” The rods move.

“Did you die within a month of when the battle was over?” The rods move.

“Did you get sick because you were wounded?” The rods move.

“Had you been shot?” The rods move.

“Did your wound get infected?” The rods move.

Probably the saddest part of this exchange – an apparent civil war soldier unable to cross over.

“Joshua can you leave here and go on? If you can leave here. Can you straighten out the rods?” The rods remain still.

“Joshua can you not leave here? Are you stuck? The rods move.

“We’re sorry you're stuck. Do you wish you could leave here? If you want to leave here point the rods in opposite directions from each other.” The rods move outward completely.

Communicating with Joshua was a moving experience for the entire family.

Cindy says, “When you’re able to make contact with someone from the past, you’re just talking to a person. Trying to get to know them. It’s just a little more challenging because you have to be creative when you ask questions to get information. But it's fascinating! It’s fascinating! You’re talking to a real person!

Gettysburg was the sight of the Civil War’s bloodiest battle. All the pain and suffering endured by Confederate and Union soldiers has kept the Pennsylvania town a place for the dead to communicate with the living – to continue to tell their stories from the other side. It’s something we experienced during our night at the Confederate Stronghold.

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