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Paranormal Corner: Gettysburg Civil War site yields much activity

Paranormal Corner: Gettysburg Civil War site yields much activity 1

By Kelly Roncace/South Jersey Times South Jersey Newspapers

Normally, when visitors enter the basement of the Jennie Wade House in Gettysburg, a recording begins to play, telling the story of Wade – the only civilian killed during The Battle of Gettysburg.

Because we – Jersey Unique Minds Paranormal Society – were visiting to investigate the building, we didn’t expect to hear the recording, but apparently someone wanted us to.

Ghost tour guide Alexis Gasparovich was showing JUMPS Founder and CEO Doug Hogate Jr. where the switch was to turn off the lights in the basement, when suddenly we began hearing gun shots.

After several seconds of confusion, our guide explained the noise… well sort of.

Jennie Wade HouseA display in the basement of The Jennie Wade House shows where Jennie’s body was laid after she was shot in her kitchen during The Battle of Gettysburg in 1863.

“That’s the recording that plays when tours are down here,” Gasparovich said. “There’s only one way to make it turn on. You have to push this button.”

Gasparovich, who has been guiding tours through the Jennie Wade House and Soldier’s National Museum across the street for six years, pointed to a large, round, red button that needs to be pushed in order for the recording to begin.

“That’s only happened one other time during my six years here,” she said.

Having the recording begin while we were asking about the history of the house made me feel very welcomed in the space, therefore I thanked whoever had started it for us.

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Jennie Wade’s body was laid in this basement after she was shot by a Confederate soldier while kneading dough in her sister’s kitchen.

The bullet that ended the 20-year-old’s life went through two wooden doors, into her left shoulder, through her heart and came to rest in her corset.

A pair of Union soldiers carried Jennie’s body up the stairs, through the wall dividing the duplex home, down the neighbor’s stairs, out the side door and down into the basement.

Gasparovich said one day, while in the basement with a tour group, she was near the light switch again, preparing to turn out the lights as part of the tour, when she felt someone standing beside her.

“I looked up and there was a Union soldier,” she said. “He was solid and looking down at me. I thought he was a re-enactor, but then I realized we didn’t have any re-enactors.”

When she looked back, the soldier was gone.

Gettysburg is known as one of the most haunted places in the country.

The bloodiest battle of the Civil War, the spirits of Northern soldiers, Southern soldiers and even, in some cases, children wander through the battlefields and the quaint town every day.

The building known as the Soldier’s National Museum today was once the Homestead Orphanage and housed children who lost their parents to the war.

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A woman named Rosa Carmichael once ran that orphanage and caused the children within her walls as nearly much turmoil as the soldiers experienced out on the battlefields.

As a paranormal investigator, there are not many experiences more emotional than connecting with the spirit of a child. But communicating with a child who misses their parents is a tear-jerker.

Carmichael kept the children in the basement of the museum building. She chained them to walls, kept them down there for days at a time and even locked them in a tiny, stone area referred to as “the dungeon.”

A short hallway leads from the main basement to the dungeon.

In an effort to bring out some of the children and possibly Carmichael herself, we brought along teen-agers Collette DeVault and Jeremy Dark — children of team members — and had them sit in that hallway.

Not much was happening until Hogate accidentally banged the wooden door between the basement and hallway against the stone wall.

“All of our equipment went crazy,” he said. “It was like the kids all scattered, thinking Rosa was coming.”

Once the banging door startled the spirits, a few remained with us to communicate.

Soldier's National MuseumShown is the hallways leading to the dungeon room in the basement of the Soldier’s National Museum, formerly known as the Homestead Orphanage in Gettysburg, Pa.

While in the hallway with Hogate, investigator Mellie DeVault and guest investigator Linda Lopez — Hogate’s mom — our K2 meters (which measure fluctuations in the electromagnetic field) and REM pod (which puts off its own electromagnetic field and reacts with lights and sound if that field is broken) were very active. The equipment seemed to react most when Hogate spoke.

“Does Doug remind you of your daddy?” I asked. “Do you miss your daddy?”

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All of the equipment responded. Knowing these children were trapped in this basement missing their parents was so sad, it affected DeVault and I to the point of tears.

Another piece of equipment we had in the hallway eventually gave us a much happier response. The Ovilus takes frequencies and translates them into words, helping spirits communicate even further.

At one point in the basement, after communicating with the children in the hallway, we needed to turn the lights back on for a few minutes.

Standing in the doorway between the two basement areas, I turned to look into the hallway, waved my hand at the children and said, “Hi you guys! Now you can see our faces.”

Not a minute later, the REM pod reacted and the Ovilus spat out the word “Wave.”

Were the children telling me they were waving back at me? I’m not sure, but between that random word, crazy lights and sounds from our equipment and a genuine feeling of sadness contrasted with comfort tells me there are orphaned children in that basement, who, I believe, appreciated our company.

JUMPS investigated these two buildings for several hours and had many more personal experiences and captured evidence which is currently being reviewed.

Stay tuned for more stories of JUMPS in Gettysburg and check out the evidence once it’s published to the website at


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