One of the most active areas for paranormal activity is in Civil War cemeteries and battlefields. The conflict many times pitted brother against brother and father against son. It is interesting, or perhaps tragic would be a better word, that in the name of war two people of the same blood and family could justify killing, imprisoning, or torturing one another. The battlefields were some of the bloodiest in history with many burial grounds being simply mass unmarked graves in the middle of a field.
Site of the Major Turning Point of Civil War
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is the site where "[t]hree days of the bloodiest fighting...have forever etched [the] hollowed fields into the memory of a country and a people. But in the hundred-plus years since the last shot was fired and the last man fell, there continue to be reports from the fields of the fallen: reports of spectral armies still marching in step, of ghostly sentinels and horsemen, of mournful women in white, and the ghostly wails of orphans and animals alike." The Battle of Gettysburg was fought for three days in July of 1863, resulting in over 7,000 dead men and horses and with 30,000 wounded men. "The stench from the dead soldiers and from the thousands of animal carcasses was overwhelming." The souls of the the dead are still in unrest and can be seen manifesting themselves on a very regular basis. This is certainly to be expected because of the huge and massive amounts of energy that was released during this conflict. The residual effects could last for centuries.
An Investigation Closer to Home
771 miles to the west of Gettysburg lies the town of Alton, Illinois. Alton holds a significance in this war that no other city in America can claim: the first skirmish of the Civil War, an Alton resident penned the words of the 13th Amendment, and the first Memorial Day Parade in 1868. The claim that the city of Alton was the site of the first skirmish has a very interesting story behind it. In 1837, an "outspoken newspaper publisher and abolitionist Elijah Parish Lovejoy" was murdered by a pro-slavery mob. This act of violence which ultimately ended up with Elijah being shot five times on the roof of his warehouse, infuriated the North against the South and did not allow any further compromise on the issue of slavery.
As we enter into the cemetery off of Vine Street we immediately begin seeing some strange lights that appear and disappear at various spots. There are a few street lamps burning on the grounds, so initially we thought nothing of them, until they became much more prevalent and began appearing near ground level.
Shadows in the Night
Along with the strange lights, we also experienced a decent amount of shadow play. As our investigation was part of a tour, we were informed that the soldiers still believe they are fighting the Civil War. They can be seen darting from tree to tree in search of the enemy. Glimpses of this movement were caught by our eyes and at one point we watched what appeared to be a man peering from behind a tree and then retracting back behind it. How curious that this war had been over for 143 years but yet those who died in this conflict still do not realize this fact! They are trapped in a self-perceived reality that continuously keeps replaying itself. Could it be that their souls will never rest or would this be considered a residual haunting because they do not possess any logical intelligence and exhibit repetitive patterns? These daily reenactments are very similar to recordings on a cassette tape that plays over and over again.
|Orb near top center between trees|
|Orb at ground level near right center|
|Love this yellow and green set of orbs|
Great Balls of Energy
All throughout the investigation we discovered plenty of orbs after reviewing the evidence. As a beginning investigator I had always believed that these "balls" of energy were always white. There are members in the online paranormal communities like Phenomenon Hunter and Arthur Shifflett ULOS who have shown me evidence to the contrary and have me really thinking about how the electromagnetic and visible spectrums play out with the paranormal. (This summer I plan to launch a site dedicated to the scientific study of the paranormal @ghost-tracker.com) Here in Alton we have found evidence of yellow, green, and blue orbs. Outside of knowing that this is a spirit's means of trying to manifest itself, orbs still remain quite a mystery. Not only were we able to capture these phenomena outside, but we also captured some inside the Mason's Hall where our investigation began. Some of the spots in the picture are dust particles, but the ones which appear brighter could be considered orbs. This stage area was very active this night with a man (who is very well known to reside in this hall) being heard knocking on the chairs, spoke to us very briefly in a low voice, and was seen peering into the doorway of this room.
Although orbs are the most common and prevalent of light anomalies, there are also other types that tend to resemble streaks, smears or something in motion. Two of the three photos below have captured this type of phenomenon. The top picture may be of an orb in motion as it seems to have a circular end from start to finish. The bottom picture is a bit of a mystery. Trying to debunk the orange light streak has proven a bit challenging. My first thought was that it could be light from an overhead lamp, however, there isn't any light source above it. I have seen similar light anomalies in some of Steven LaChance's photos of the Union House backyard, although his are far more pronounced and derive from an open portal initiated by voodoo.
|Strange anomaly on right side|
|A smattering of orbs and dust particles|
|Light streak caught here on middle right|
Our greatest pride and joy of the Alton National Cemetery investigation was the capture of ectoplasm. As my wife walked through the grounds with dowsing rods in hand, I held a digital camera over her head and continuous shot photos while following her. Down near the bottom of the hill leading to Pearl street the rods began going crazy, crossing and uncrossing with strong energy. At points we would lose contact when we stopped moving through the gravestones, and it was only when we took a couple steps forward that contact was reestablished. An entity was trying to lead us! As we followed what we could only guess could be a soldier, we ended up meandering through many tombstones and drifted a good distance from the rest of our group. Near the beginning of our trek we caught the photo below, our greatest prize! To make sure this wasn't simply our breath manifesting as ectoplasm, I took a picture of my wife slowly exhaling in the chilly air. After making a comparison, there was absolutely no way possible that this photo was of our breath, fog or any type of smoke.
|Our most prized capture of ectoplasm|
|Here mist can be seen sweeping from right to left|
|Another favorite creating a spooky ambience|
The Alton National Cemetery has turned out to be our best investigation yet in regards to evidence. It provided us with shadow play, orbs, light anomalies, and our first capture of the mist-like ectoplasm. There was so much activity here that we had to change camera batteries three times, especially after the ectoplasm photo. It was a very exciting night, not only because of a very active cemetery, but also within the other sites we visited in the city of Alton. I have at least one other article to draft about these events in 2008. The most prevalent one that comes to mind is the effect that the paranormal can have on pregnancies and their relationship both in spirit and in physical form. There seems to be more knowledge available to entities than there is for humans. I hope to delve into this subject and perhaps find some answers. But that's another day.
If you do ever get the chance to visit Alton, Illinois or would like to plan an investigation there, you won't be disappointed. We sure weren't. Please check out their site by clicking here and to contact Antoinette's daughter Alixandria (Antoinette is a medium/psychic who started these tours) who now hosts the tours.