"Dead Til Dawn" - A Paranormal Adventure in Gettysburg
Welcome to July! The Battle of Gettysburg took place July 1-3, 1863. Several years ago, my husband and I went there on vacation. Our unusual experiences inspired me to write my horror novella, Dead Til Dawn.
Since this is the anniversary of the battle, I thought I’d share the story of our paranormal adventure.
My husband, Robert, and I like to explore haunted places, and naturally one of our vacations took us to Gettysburg, PA. We got there early in the morning and went to the cemetery to look around. I was standing near a witness tree when I noticed a wire running down the side of the tree. I said out loud to Robert (who was on the other side of the tree, completely out of sight), “What’s this thing?”
A second later, a very deep, male voice behind me answered, “I don’t know.”
I whirled around, but there was nobody there.
Robert came from behind the tree (looking more than a bit confused) and asked, “Did you hear that?”
I nodded. “Tell me what you heard.”
“A man said, ‘I don’t know.’ He gave me a funny look. “But there’s nobody here.”
I smiled. “Oh they’re here. Welcome to Gettysburg.”
But the best part of this trip was our adventure into the battlefield fog. It was around 11:30pm and we wanted to explore. Since you can’t go onto the battlefield at night, we decided to drive around. As soon as we got outside of town we came upon a wall of fog. You could literally see the line where it started. (I incorporated this into the story.)
I thought that was strange – but what the heck – we’d drive through it and come out the other side. Wrong. The thick, swirling fog completely engulfed the car. We couldn’t see more than two feet in front of us, and saw nothing but fog on all sides.
We figured the fog would dissipate or…something. Nope. The further we drove, the thicker it got. From time to time I swore I saw shadows in the fog, but I figured it was my imagination.
Robert was getting a little nervous because it was pretty obvious this wasn’t normal. He was worried about another car coming down the street (there weren’t any, who else would drive around in creepy fog?) and hitting us. I told him I was more worried about what we’d do if a Civil War soldier on a horse ran in front of us.
After about half an hour we decided to turn around. As we headed back to town, I was on the side of the car nearest Little Round Top. The fog was on the ground in the field next to us, but wasn’t high up on the ridge. I looked toward the top of the ridge and saw several flashes of red and orange light. At first I thought it was heat lightning (but it was April), then I remembered all the reenactment photos I’d seen in the museums. Whenever a cannon went off, they always showed a burst of red or orange light. (Again, I used this in the novella.)
I watched the bursts of light go back and forth for a while. I rolled down my window and heard a muffled “boom” noise. Robert asked me if I’d heard thunder. When we got back to the hotel, I told him what I’d seen. (He said he was happy that I had waited to tell him until we were off the road.)
A few years later, we were in Colonial Williamsburg on a ghost tour and I told my fog story to the woman running the tour. Her face actually paled and her mouth dropped open. “You went out in battlefield fog?” (She was clearly shaken up and horrified.)
I said, “Yes, so? What’s the big deal? What exactly is it? What happens if you go out in it?” (I had my own theories, of course, but I wanted to hear what she had to say.)
I never got an answer. All she said before she took off was, “Don’t ever do that again.”
Flash forward another few years. Robert and I went back to Gettysburg with friends who wanted to see the fog for themselves. We waited until late and went to the edge of town. There wasn’t a wisp of fog anywhere.
I guess Robert and I witnessed something special that night. I’m not sure what would have happened or what/who we might have seen if we’d stayed longer (technically we were “safe” in the car), but common sense prevailed. We’ll go back another time and see what happens – because you never know….
Here are the summary and links to Dead Til Dawn:
Spend a night in the land of the dead with…
Dead ‘Til Dawn
Disturbing the dead doesn’t prove you’re brave – it proves you’re stupid.
After touring Gettysburg battlefield, Jessica, Tim, and Steve decide to sneak out to the Devil’s Den for some late-night fun. Jessica’s friend Kathy objects, and warns them about trespassing where they’re not wanted.
Undaunted by ghost stories and fueled by his own arrogance, Tim races toward the Devil’s Den. When the group drives through mysterious battlefield fog, they find themselves surrounded by Civil War soldiers looking for a little fun of their own.
Kathy leaves the others to fend for themselves and flees to Little Round Top. Although she’s rescued by a kindhearted Union solider named Charlie, she refuses to believe that what she’s experiencing is real. As the nighttime battle rages on, Charlie introduces Kathy to other weary soldiers, and she quickly realizes she’s trapped in the land of the dead until dawn.
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If you love horror stories, don’t miss Nightmare in the North and Kropsy’s Curse. (Learn more about them on their book pages on my site.)
Happy Reading, Kelli
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