It’s Friday!

Hey everyone. Yes, I know this was going to be the week (month) where I began posting two or three times a week. Of course, I didn’t get anything prepared.

Last night, I was going through some old photos in search of ones I might use for the covers of my new series. No, the first book isn’t finished, and yes, I’m already brainstorming the other three.

Anyhow, I found a few vacation pictures. Since we won’t be making a trip this year (if I travel out of state, I would have to quarantine for fourteen days before I go back to work), I thought I’d share a few photos from past trips.

The Window – Chisos Mountains, Big Bend National Park

In 2013, we visited Big Bend National Park and stayed in the Chisos Mountain Lodge. The sites were incredible, including the one above. I have an unfinished novel that I worked on during that trip. Maybe I’ll dust it off one day.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon is just south of Amarillo, Texas. It’s the second-longest in the United States, behind Grand Canyon. We visited there in 2011 and even took in an outdoor play.

Alaska’s inside passage between Ketchikan and Juneau.

It’s hard to pick just one photo from our 2012 Alaska trip since I took over 900. Our seven-day cruise began in Seattle with stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia. It was almost 9:30 p.m. when I took this shot.

Looking down from Little Round Top, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

I only took around 600 pics during our 2015 trip to Virginia, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania. We traveled over 3000 miles through eight states. Most of the photos were taken inside museums, but in keeping with the outdoor theme, I selected this one from Gettysburg National Military Park.

The good life!

Broken Bow, Oklahoma is about a three-hour drive. it’s a nice place to kick back and relax. We always rent a cabin. Our last trip there was in 2018.

That’s it for the week. Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane. Next week, I have a book review post. On WIP Wednesday, I’ll share a snippet from Cold Dark Night.

Gettysburg Ghosts #MysteryMonday

This month’s Mystery Monday posts will be stories of haunted America. There are hundreds of places I could write about. However, I chose towns places I have visited and taken part in a ghost walk or tour. The first is Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

The picturesque town of Gettysburg lies in South Central Pennsylvania. In many ways, it’s like other small towns in America—a spot on a map most people would never visit.

On July 1 – 3 of that year, tens of thousands descended upon the town as the Army of Northern Virginia engaged in battle with the Army of the Potomac. Casualties on both sides were high. An estimated 27,000 Confederate and 23,000 Union soldiers were either wounded or killed—the highest number for any single battle of the war. The war also claimed the life of one civilian when a stray bullet passed through a kitchen door, hitting twenty-year-old Jennie Wade.

After the fighting ended, the town’s residents had to care for the wounded and bury approximately 8,000 dead soldiers.

Many homes became field hospitals for the thousands of wounded during the three-day battle.

During the battle, farmhouses and public buildings were used as makeshift hospitals. Surgeons performed countless amputations in less than optimal conditions. Limbs were thrown out windows into piles. These were later gathered and buried in makeshift graves. Citizens heard the cries of wounded soldiers throughout the town.

Mass graves were dug for both Union and Confederate soldiers. Is it any wonder Gettysburg has become a prime location for paranormal activity? This area has more reporting incidents of paranormal activity than any other Civil War Battlefield.

The valley of death is an area between Little Round Top and Devil’s den. One woman reported

Looking down from Little Round Top to Devil’s Den

being in this area one night when she heard someone playing Taps from deep in the woods. A white fog appeared, then she saw a soldier walk out of the mist. He walked by slowly, then disappeared.

More than one visitor has reported seeing a man with bare feet and shoulder-length hair, wearing a floppy hat and ragged clothing. Many believe he is a ghost of a Texas soldier who died in that area.

Others have had trouble with their cameras while at Devil’s Den. When they leave the area, the cameras work perfectly.

After the war, the Homestead Orphanage was established to care for and educate the children of fallen soldiers. Headmistress Rosa Carmichael was a mean, vindictive woman who often locked children in the outside or tied them to fences and left them in the hot sun.

Dungeon at Children’s Home where children were locked in for days.

She hired an assistant, a teenager known as Stick Boy, to carry out much of the punishment. He would trip kids with his stick, beat them, and chain them to a wall of the basement. Some children were locked in a small room in the cellar and left there for days.

The torment continued for almost nine years until someone found a child locked in the outside. In 1877, Carmichael was charged with child abuse, but her punishment was a measly $20.00 fine. She left Gettysburg never to be seen alive there again.

Strange occurrences have been reported including the presence of children in the basement and toys moving of their own accord. The remnants of a wire once used to shackle the children is said to stand straight out from the wall. Many believe the ghost of Rosa, Stick Boy, and the children now haunt the building.

Jennie Wade was the only civilian to die during the Battle of Gettysburg. She was a guest in her sister’s home when they became trapped in the middle of the war. Instead of being idle, Jennie spent her time baking bread for Union Soldiers. A stray bullet when through the door, into her shoulder, and lodged in her heart, killing her instantly.

The nearby Farnsworth house was a Confederate stronghold. The basement was used for triage, the attic for a sniper’s nest. Many believe the bullet that hit Jennie came from this house.

Both places have reported incidents of paranormal activity. Ghostly images of a woman have been seen in a mirror in the upstairs bedroom of the Wade house. In the Farnsworth house, people claim to hear people crying out in pain in the basemen. Many believe Jennie’s spirit still inhabits the home where she died.

We didn’t witness any paranormal activity while in Gettysburg. But more importantly, a visit to this town and the battlefields served as a reminder of a dark time in our nation’s history. It’s my hope we never repeat something that that again.