Gettysburg Journal 2013: The Ghost Conflict and False Advertising

Ghost hunting at Devil's Den last night.
Ghost hunting at Devil’s Den last night.

About two hours from now, I will be taking part in a ghost hunt via the Farnsworth House, the one where they supply you with different kinds of equipment and lead you around to different places, including the supposedly haunted cellar of the restaurant. Walk up and down Steinwehr Avenue and the other main streets and you will be confronted with a litany of ghost tours and hunts, each promising to be the “real deal”, and promising to take you onto areas of the battlefield and places that no other tour will dare venture. Well, its funny that they say that, considering a worker at a nearby ghost-themed shop told me just this afternoon that the fine for conducting a ghost tour on the battlefield is “in the area of $10,000”. While it can be expected that the National Park Service would frown upon ghost hunts and the like, the rules are incredibly more strict than you can imagine. Many of these tours bring you to a parking lot near the battlefield, because that is the closest they are allowed. I am told that when during such a tour, if someone were to merely step foot on battlefield soil, the guide has to stop talking until the person is 100% not on battlefield grounds, because technically, they would be “listening to a ghost story on the battlefield”.

While it is perfectly fine for people like me to walk the battlefields after dark (up until 10PM) with ghost hunting equipment, the line is drawn where money is involved. Ghost stories cannot be traded for money, so unless a tour is free (ha-ha-ha), any advertising of being  that “only ghost tour to take visitors to the battlefield” is false. Perhaps some areas of the battlefield are private property and have given certain tour companies permission to walk there—that is fine, but these places make it sound like you are going right into the thick of things, and to my knowledge, none of the important areas, for lack of a better phrase, are on private property. In other words, you are being fooled…big time! While I am looking forward to tonight’s “hunt”, my expectations are low. No matter what happens, I will be blogging about the experience.

Side note: last night I went out to Devil’s Den after dark. It was actually a highly peaceful experience. Lots of ghost radar words and some orbs, but nothing else. The pictures are on a different camera, so I cannot analyze them until I am home tomorrow. Again, 10 visits to Gettysburg, and not one concrete experience.

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