Monday, October 19, 2015

Spooky Halloween Tale

A couple weeks ago, we rented a car and drove to Gettysburg, PA for a weekend. H. is interested in  Civil War history, so for his birthday I booked us a historic farmhouse stay in Gettysburg via Airbnb.



When I booked this place, I was looking for a historic, beautiful, inexpensive place to stay. I'm drawn to old houses, so this one was perfect. What I somehow didn't realize (or it wasn't mentioned in the Airbnb listing), was that this place was allegedly haunted.

This is the second time I've done this - accidentally booked a haunted house. The first time was in Savannah, where L. may or may not have seen a ghost in the night.

Turns out I'm drawn to haunted houses. Maybe the ghosts are drawing me in?

Anyway. A couple of days before our trip, the Airbnb host called us to say that she had accidentally double booked the house - not with overnight visitors, but us and a psychic medium coming to do a ghost investigation. Did I mind? They may be there a few hours. No, I don't mind, I said! Sounds cool, I lied.

I started Googling our lodgings, only to discover that it isn't just a little bit haunted - it is a lot of haunted. I'm actually not going to link to the listing, or the website devoted to how haunted this place is. Overall, it was a lovely host, a lovely house, beautiful, historic location, and I don't want anyone to be deterred by the ghosts that kept me up all night.

The good news is that by all accounts, the multiple ghosts that live (is that the right word?) in the house are all friendly. So, no bad/mean/menacing ghosts.  But, are friendly ghosts good news? I don't want an overly-friendly ghost introducing him/herself to me in the night. I'd like a shy ghost, maybe. An anti-social ghost. That would be ideal.

Our haunted room.
Like many old houses in Gettysburg, this one had been used as a Civil War field hospital. The owner had done incredible research on the house - had even found names and photos of Confederate soldiers who were buried on the property and reclaimed ten years later.

We arrived late on Friday night - in the pouring rain, and went right to bed. As I was changing a sleepy L. into his pajamas, and H. was in another room, Leo asked me "who is coming?" as if he had heard someone. I quickly assured him that nobody was coming, and got him and myself in bed.

That night, I hardly slept. I heard strange noises all night - 2 bumps from the empty, locked up attic above us. Clinking dishes downstairs throughout the night. Several instances of pipes banging and clanging throughout the little house - with no water or heat going to inspire this. Yes, my imagination was running wild, and H. (the next day) tried to tell me these are old house sounds. I grew up in an old house - I know old house sounds!

The next day, we went about our business - H. had planned a full day of sight-seeing, including visiting the terrifying Hall of American Presidents.


The stuff of nightmares.
L. was terrified of this place, so we left after only viewing the first 8 or so presidents. However, H. and I did pop into the Hall of First Ladies, which was equally terrifying.

Okee dokee.
We also managed to do some non-creepy things, including letting L. spend some time with my birthday bud:



Ok, now back to the ghosts. We were down to stay a second night in the haunted house. (Un)fortunately, the psychic medium had to cancel her investigation because of the terrible weather. Yay - unless the ghosts were looking forward to her visit, and we now going to be bored and looking for someone to talk to.

When we got back, we spent a little more time chatting with our Airbnb host. I asked abut the history of the house, and she told us some stories of the history. H. then asked her about the ghosts, about the psychic and her investigations, about any strange activities - and the host told us several terrifying stories. She also mentioned how one of the shosts loves kids, and how her kids and grandkids had experience several sightings. Fab! Maybe that explains why L. was terrified to the point of tears of the bathroom - a ghost. A haunted toilet.

When we got back to our room I scolded H. for asking to hear the ghost stories - it's best if I don't know! Hmpf. Luckily, I was so tired from not sleeping the previous night that I was able to sleep almost through the night.

The next morning, our host told us some more ghost stories - this time about the room we had slept in. Great, I said, and hauled ass out of there and back to sweet, un-haunted Brooklyn.

Overall, it was a nice, interesting weekend away. But next time, I'll be booking us into a new build condo, free of ghosts.

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