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Monday, March 13, 2006

Civil War ghost hunting

Civil War battlefields are popular with ghost hunters. For many possible reasons -all the death and destruction, bodies improperly or hastily buried, the dead separated far away from loved ones, lives cut short with promises unkept, etc. - the dead from the battles do not rest in peace. From The Washington Post:

As dusk fell, the group of amateur historians were in position, spread out across the grassy field with digital voice recorders at the ready and infrared cameras rolling. If someone -- or something -- out there so much as sneezed, they were fully prepared to catch it in action. Experts have scrutinized these Spotsylvania County battlefields for years, looking for clues to the past. Now this eclectic group of history buffs had come from Maryland to conduct their own homemade brand of Civil War scholarship: battlefield ghost hunting. Why limit yourself to letters and artifacts, they reasoned, when you can go straight to the source: firsthand, albeit dead, witnesses. The group of mostly middle-aged men had picked their spot carefully. Bloody Angle, part of one of three battlefields they visited on a recent night, was the site of the longest, most savage hand-to-hand combat of the Civil War. For 20 hours on May 12, 1864, soldiers shot, bayoneted and clubbed one another. "Rain poured down and the dead piled up in the mud," the welcome sign on the grounds says. If spirits were likely to appear anywhere, the ghost hunters said, this was the spot. More was at stake that night than a simple chase of the fantastical, members of the self-styled American Battlefield Ghost Hunters Society said. On a weekend break from their jobs -- mortgage broker, home remodeler, engineer, construction worker -- they had come looking for keys to historical mysteries -- such as the battle decisions of field leaders and the mentality of soldiers -- as well as answers about the very nature of life and death.
Entire article well worth the click.


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