Considering how saturated the market is when it comes to haunted attractions and ghost tours, I was a bit skeptical when my friend suggested we book one of these tours during our short trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylavania; But for $15 per person, what did we have to lose? We booked our tour with Ghostly Images of Gettysburg due to their Orphanage/Jennie Wade House combination tour.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Bill who would be leading us through both the orphanage and the Jennie Wade House with about a dozen others guests. Right off the bat, I was glad we had been grouped with Bill as he wasn’t merely reading off a script but was extremely knowledgable on the history and backstories of both locations as well as the Civil War.
Considering the era, the role of most women was stay-at-home mom. If they did have a job, they most likely were not paying a livable wage. During the Civil War, if a father were to lose his life in battle, many children would be turned over to orphanages as it was believed their mothers lacked the financial support to provide for them. One of the these Civil War era orphanages was the orphanage we would be visiting this day. The orphanage was originally opened by a woman whose husband had lost his life in battle. Rather than give them up, she opened an orphanage where she cared for many parentless or abandoned children. Eventually though, she remarried and her and her children moved to a new home out of the orphanage.
Unfortunately for the children left behind, as well as those who had yet to arrive, the new mother of the house, Rosa Carmichael, didn’t share the original owners love for children. Rosa would apparently inflict cruel and unusual punishment on the children; these punishments included being shackled into the basement, being locked in an outhouse in the middle of winter, and at times being put into the pit.
The pit itself is really just a deep alcove in the cellar, but as we each climbed in, I couldn’t even bare think about young children sitting their for hours or days in the dark, and all alone. If this orphanage is truly haunted, and many feel it is, it’s easy to see why.
At one point, Bill told us that there is actually a family currently living in the floor above the old orphanage, which is where the bedrooms of the children and house mother would have been located. Bill then said what were all probably thinking, “I have no idea why anyone would want to live there.” To this comment one of my friends whispered, “cheap rent.” If that is not #facts.
In the cellar, you’ll find a few toys scattered throughout. These aren’t remnant of the past, but were actually put their by current owners. Some people have reported feeling a presence when playing with the toys, as if someone is trying to play with them. A few have even mentioned feeling a hand touch them. I didn’t personally have an experience, but Bill noted that oftentimes the toys will be rearranged or found in places not last seen, such as this one pink bear which was seemingly out of place, laying atop a barrel on our arrival.
Once we left the orphanage, we had a ridiculously cold but quick walk across the street to the Jennie Wade House. Oddly enough, this wasn’t the house that Jennie actually lived in. She, at the time, was living across the street but had headed to her sister’s house where they baked bread and packaged it with water for the soldiers. Unlike most families who had holed up their cellars or fled the city, Jennie felt a need to be active in aiding those fighting. Unfortunately, this selflessness also led to her demise.
Bullets had already riddled the house an Jennie and her family had suffered a few close calls – and on the final day of the battle, Jennie lost her life when a confederate bullet shot through their roof. Almost 8,000 soldiers died while fighting in the Battle of Gettysburg; But only one civilian.
We explored two floors of the Jennie Wade house, which surprisingly housed more room than you’d think when viewing the house from the outside. Bill pointed out specific areas of the house that typically experience more activity in movement and in photographs than other parts of the house. And “introduced” us to certain ghosts – such as a ghost believed to be a young girl aged about 6.
It doesn’t seem like it from he outside, but the house is actually pretty large in terms of amount of rooms.
In many spots, Bill would shut the lights and allow us to take photos to potentially snap some paranormal activity; and while I didn’t get much, I did get a few small orbs, as well as some video footage of one of what seem liked a few mini small orbs floating by.
This tour definitely surpassed my expectations and was entirely different than what I ha expected. If you’re someone looking for a scary house to walk through, while teenagers dressed up grab at you every five minutes – maybe wait for the Halloween attractions. But if you’re someone who has even questioned the paranormal, and has an interest in history, even those parts that may seem a bit dark, then I think this tour is right up your ally.