Saturday, June 25, 2011
Gettysburg Attraction Explores Paranormal Past
During his 14 years as a ghost tour guide at the Historic Farnsworth House Inn property in downtown Gettysburg, Pa., he said he's experienced enough peculiar events to believe that otherworldly beings are present. He's smelled the scent of blooming flowers in February, listened to screaming women who could feel the presence of ghosts nearby and watched surveillance videos indicating the presence of spirits.
Staub is also a realist. He knows many of his Historic Farnsworth House Inn ghost tour guests do not believe in ghosts and no amount of evidence will convince them. And that's why he said he's so excited about the grand opening of Gettysburg's Haunted Address from 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday.
Regardless of whether his visitors believe in ghosts or not, he said the new indoor attraction he designed will help educate those who pass through it. Gettysburg's Haunted Address is located next to the Historic Farnsworth House property, where ghost tours have been taking place for 25 years.
"This was the battlefield," said Staub while standing outside along the sidewalk next to Gettysburg's Haunted Address. "On the first day of the battle, Union soldiers were pushed right up through here. ... A lot of soldiers were stuck in backyards."
York, Pa.-based theater technical director Joe Kress used hydraulics and electronics to make the exhibit's mannequins seem more lifelike.
Gettysburg's Haunted Address features rooms dedicated to historical accounts, with no gory detail left unturned.
One exhibit tells the story of an injured soldier, assumed to be dead, who awoke in a pile of bodies. Another portion of the house discusses how Confederate soldiers, accused of desertion, were hanged.
In between, visitors are jolted to attention by moving mannequins and sound effects designed to scare visitors who pass through the dimly lit rooms.
Gettysburg's Haunted Address is located just a few feet away from the Historic Farnsworth House, which is now a restored restaurant and inn. One of the Farnsworth House exterior brick walls is riddled with bullet holes, a testament to the blood shed in the town during the July 1863 Civil War battle.
"It's history in full view," Staub said. "It's a real testimony of what happened here."
When Loring and Jean Shultz purchased the property in 1972, their daughter Patti became so convinced that otherworldly beings were present that she became the first ghost tour guide in Gettysburg, Pa. She told stories in the cellar of the Farnsworth House along Baltimore Street, where the Battle of Gettysburg waged.
Loring Shultz said most of his family members have encountered spirits.
"Everybody except for me," he said.
Shultz, much like Staub, is a history buff who relishes finding Civil War-era bullets and telling stories about the battle.
"They don't know the stories," Shultz said of tourists who pass through. "That's what we try to do is to educate them on what happened here."
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