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Mark Nesbitt, author of Ghosts of Gettysburg series with Ghost Hunters

Ghost Hunters 10th season premiere featured Gettysburg, Pa. locations

Jason Hawes of Ghost Hunters, (left), and Mark Nesbitt, author of Ghosts of Gettysburg series.
Jeffrey B. Roth

By Jeffrey B. Roth

GETTYSBURG, Pa. – Mark Nesbitt, author of the Ghosts of Gettysburg book series, and of other paranormal topics, was the go-to guy when the SyFy network program, Ghost Hunters came to Gettysburg to conduct investigations. The SyFy network paranormal team, Ghost Hunters, spent several days investigating Gettysburg locations – the Jennie Wade House, the Farnsworth House, a portion of the battlefield and the Haunted Orphanage, (Homestead Orphanage), in late last September.
The premiere episode of the 10th season of Ghost Hunters, featured investigations and from all four locations. Dwayne Pope, a tour guide, with Ghostly Images, who worked with the television production team. Ghostly Images, of Gettysburg Ghost Tours, owns both the Jennie Wade and Homestead Orphanage locations.
“They've never been here before,” Pope said. “The production crew were there for about a week. Jason Hawes, Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango were there for two days. They investigated the Cashtown Inn a couple of years ago.”
Gettysburg, Pope said, is considered to be one of the most haunted towns in the U.S. About two years ago, Haunted History, a production of the History 2 network, (H2), investigated both locations. That episode aired last season.
Gettysburg paranormal expert and author, Mark Nesbitt, was contacted by Ghost Hunters alerting him that they intended to do investigations in town. Nesbitt met the Ghost Hunter team about 6 years ago in a conference held in Richmond, Va.
“Are there any child spirits remaining in Gettysburg and why?” Nesbitt said, explaining that was the focus they intended for the episode. “I had done an investigation of the Jennie Wade House and Farnsworth House in 1991 with Karyol Kirkpatrick, (psychic who had been on Maury Povich), and DJs Cooke and Crockett for a Halloween Special. Evidence from the Wade House was that there was an 'unfinished mourning' going on, (Kirkpatrick's very first impression). We went through the house and as we were leaving the basement the chain between the visitor's area and the body on the table began to swing when no one was near it. Karyol said, 'Oh, that's Jennie's father.' It suddenly dawned on me that he had been incarcerated when she was killed and indeed could not properly mourn.”
The Jennie Wade House, named after the only civilian to die during the Battle of Gettysburg, was named by the Travel Channel as the sixth most haunted house in America and the most haunted building in Gettysburg,” Pope said. “The Jennie Wade House has been featured on Ghost Adventures, Ghost Lab, Ghost Finders, Most Haunted Live, Haunted History on the History 2 Network, CBS Radio and a local television station, WPMT Fox 43. Visitors to the Jennie Wade House have experienced items in the home moving inexplicably, noises, footsteps, orbs, voices, the scent of bread baking in the kitchen and full body apparitions. Reports of unexplained activity are shared on a nearly daily basis.”
The orphanage was named in an article featured in the USA Today, as one of the top ten creepiest places in the United States to visit, Pope said. The orphanage has also played host to Ghost Adventures, Ghost Lab, Ghost Finders, Haunted History on the History 2 Network, CBS Radio and local television station WPMT Fox 43.
“I investigated the Homestead Orphanage, (Soldiers' National Museum),with a Canadian film crew several years back, before it was 'haunted,'” Nesbitt said. “I read off the names of some of the orphans and got some answers via electronic voice phenomena (EVP). Jason and Steve brought some pretty good evidence to me. The figure they caught on the FLIR camera was impressive. You couldn't see it very well on TV but it seemed to partially float, (no obvious leg movement), at first. They tried to debunk it, (good technique), with a living person and the results were obviously different. The other visual evidence was a shadow that appeared that looked immediately to me like a hoop skirt, (though, once again, I couldn't see it on TV). There were a couple of noises that did sound like voices, (not EVP because they heard them live), and I heard them too. But there were a couple they had recorded, but I heard nothing and so they were left out of the show. All in all I was impressed with most of what they got, the EVP and video more that actual sounds that they heard and recorded because, as you know, on Baltimore Street it can get pretty noisy outside--people going by, trucks, etc.”
“Visitors to the orphanage also share their experiences, including but not limited to items moving, noises, voices of children, toys in the cellar being moved around, orbs, foul odors and full body apparitions of children,” Pope said. “These unexplained phenomena are also reported on a nearly daily basis.”
Last year Nesbitt published Civil War Ghost Trails, (Stackpole Publishers), about all the major battlefields and he's working with Katherine Ramsland, expert on forensics, former consultant on “CSI” and “Bones” doing the second in the series called “Haunted Crime Scenes.”
“We started our own 'Second Chance Publications' and are publishing my own stuff,” Nesbitt said. “I'm also doing paranormal investigation weekends with the Cashtown Inn and James Gettys Hotel.”
In 1866, the National Homestead at Gettysburg, was opened as an orphanage and a home for widows. Located on Baltimore Street, adjacent to Cemetery Hill. It was founded to honor Amos Humiston, a Union sergeant with New York 154th Regiment, known as the “Hardtack” regiment, who was killed on the first day of the battle, July 1, 1863. About a week later, near York and Stratton streets, Humiston's body was discovered. Grasped in his hand was an ambrotype, an early type of photograph, depicting his three children – Frank, 8; Alice, 6; and Freddie, 4.
A Philadelphia physician, Dr. John Francis Bourns, tried to identify Humiston's body. During the Civil War, soldiers were not issued dog tags as they are today. As a result of the publicity, some time in mid-November, Hunston was identified. As a result of the publicity, Bourns was able to raise money to found the orphanage for the children of Union soldiers, killed during the war.
Within 12 years of its opening, the orphanage closed as a result of a scandal involving allegations that the orphanage matron, Rosa Carmichael, allegedly abused children. According to news coverage of the day, Carmichael had created a dungeon in the basement, where she shackled some children. Bourns, who was responsible for founding the orphanage, was also accused of embezzling a large amount of funds from the Homestead, according to historical records.
In connection with the Ghost Hunters investigation, operators of both buildings are offering combination tours. The tours will be available, on Saturdays, beginning January 25 and running through March 1. The price is $13 per person.
For more information on Nesbitt, visit, www.ghostsofgettysburg.com; for more information on the Jennie Wade House, visit www.facebook.com/GhostlyImagesofGettysburg.