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I am on stage wearing different hats throughout the year. One of them I wear frequently is paranormal investigator along with my friend and colleague Kevin Nelson. We regularly Keynote at the Unexplained Conferences held throughout the Midwest with a question and answer segment. Now this is no commercial and I’ll get to right to the point. The single most common location that we get asked if we have been, Gettysburg.
Now up until this point, I was forced to answer “no I have not been to Gettysburg.” I enjoy learning about history, and the ghostly connections this area reportedly has is well known. The haunted infamy of Gettysburg is in part why I had not made the effort to visit the area with my limited resources. Much to the chagrin of many of my lecture attendees. In a way this 'infamy' causes a location to lose the adventure appeal to me. The reports have already been researched by absolutely everyone else. People are already looking into this area with great effort and local resources. In short it has been done. I aim to approach every paranormal investigation from ghosts to UFOs, and werewolves to psychical claims with an objective open mind. Stepping off of data as it is quantifiably detected by my scientific equipment or perceived through subjective experiences then qualified in logos. About Gettysburg I think, what piece of data or information has been missed that I would find spending a few days there. I resolve that the answer is not much or at least not very likely. So while Gettysburg is certainly a place I’ve always wanted to visit, I’ve simply never made the effort.
This was another last minute decision made to include Gettysburg on our current adventure. With on this trip, Chad Lewis legend tripper to such places as Loch Ness, Transylvania, and Puerto Rico after El Chupacabra, together with Terry Fisk, webmaster for www.UnexplainedResearch.com, and myself again in the drivers seat. I was anticipating intriguing and horrifying tales of bloody battles, paired nicely with a historic downtown full of colonial style homes. We reach Gettysburg by driving through a wide and green valley. Heading into town from the west results in cutting through the large battle fields that once held thousands of living soldiers. Soldiers that by the thousands wouldn’t live through the night.
Though we would return shortly, we moved past the battlefields through downtown and parked on the road in front of a historic structure. From what I saw, it would be more difficult to not park in front of a historic structure. We quickly lost count of the haunted tours and ghost walks being offered. It reminds me of my trip to St. Augustine Florida, another town that could give Gettysburg a run for its money on the number of ghost tours for purchase. Here in Gettysburg one could easily spend a week long vacation appreciating the different historic events. Once again we find ourselves less sold on being spoon fed a tour guides version of history and opt for a map, a book, and our communication skills of talking with locals.
Stopping in at a local eatery is always a productive move if you are skilled at striking up a friendly conversation with strangers. The second and final skill is softly steering the topic of conversation to fit your needs. That setting affords the intrepid adventurer the perfect environment to subtly gain information not found in any guide books while still allowing you to remain anonymous. With time again not on our side, we finish up in the historic, yet ironically very closed downtown shopping district and pile back in the car. Weighing all the new information, the decision is made that we can’t see everything the area has to offer in one afternoon. With a quick vote, we decide to spend the rest of our time in Gettysburg at the battlefields.
Now in case you were once like me and had to honestly answer that you had not yet been to Gettysburg, let me tell you the battlefields are immense. They are something that roads were actually built through so you and the other few thousand tourists a day can get a pane of glass, a car door, and four tires removed experience of. For those a bit braver and with the interest you can throw your car in park and walk a bit. There are large metal and stone monuments all along the roadway informing you of just some of the experiences had at that spot. Small cemeteries dot the landscape and one large observation tower full of other tourists, eager to see the battlefield and town from 40 feet in the air. We all spread out and walk a bit through the battle field memorials. That was it. That was what we could invest from our day.
Image: Noah 'Winchester' Voss investigates graveyard for Associated Press (photo credit; Associated Press)
We had many more hours to go on the road. Had we more time perhaps a spooky historic hotel room would have been a nice addition. Something with a lot of character, which in a town with that much history wouldn’t have been too difficult. I'll get right to it, this legend trip wouldn't rate in the top five for me personally however by no means was it a waist of time. I think it did lack a certain unknown aspect that allows me to feel a bit like an explorer during other legend trips. Without that added aspect of danger, perhaps many of these locations are simply a living walk through your high school history book. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I spent many years doing just that as a younger person and would highly recommend it for the children out there.
The average legend trip however has not only a very tangible possibility of unknown, but often documented and quantifiable danger. It is this apparently important aspect to our legend trips that cause challenge and demand skill that perhaps was lacking in Gettysburg. Perhaps that is a requirement from now on. Maybe not a requirement but at least a variable that carries much weight. Without a quality lead of something new and unique, I hesitate to speculate when I’ll be returning to Gettysburg. Apparently not all adventures turn out to be adventuresome.
Until next time, remember, adventures come to the adventuresome!
Noah Voss (Bio)
But wait there's more!
More than a dozen Legend Trippers Journal entries! Follow the Legend Trippers on such adventures as:
Unexplained Gravity Hills in Pennsylvania
The Mystery of the Michigan Paulding Lights Solved
Lake Monsters of the Mississippi River
Satanic Murderous Murmurs Investigated in the Bridgewater Triangle of Massachusetts
Werewolves in Wisconsin
The Lost Port of Ulao discovered on Lake Michigan
Looking for the Lost in the Bennington Black Hole of Vermont
Phantom Baby's Screams in the night at Cry Baby Bridge of Illinois
West Virginia's Mothman Sightings
and many, many more!
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