Literal Ghosts of the Past

Dear Readers,

I have steadfastly refused to write (or even talk much) about the experiences I shall relate herein for the simple reason that some, okay most, may deem me ready for a straight jacket. When I named the blog “Ghosts of the Past”, this type of ghost was not really what I intended to discuss in a post. I believe there are three worlds; the physical world we inhabit, the afterlife (whatever you want to believe it is), and the spirit world in which spirits can move between the physical world and the afterlife. Sort of like Purgatory. For whatever reason, some spirits get trapped in the spirit world and can’t get out. Those are the ones we would refer to as “ghosts”. In the following paragraphs, I will relate every experience I’ve had with those from this other world.

When I was a teenager, we visited Shiloh National Military Park, the site of a brutal two day Civil War battle in April of 1862. More Americans died on those two days than all our previous wars combined. I was 17 years old at the time. While walking around the battlefield, at one particular spot I suddenly developed a crushing headache. I moved a few feet and it went away. So, finding this odd, I returned to the original spot and so did the headache. Again, it lessened when I moved away. A few years later I started delving into my family history and discovered that my great-great-great grandmother’s brother was killed at Shiloh. As his regiment advanced towards the fray, they received a volley from a line of Yankee infantry. He was struck in the head and died instantly. His age? 17. The spot where I developed the headache is where his regiment was when they came under fire. Now the Confederate dead were simply buried in mass graves. Five of the sites are marked at the park today. When I was able to, I returned to the park and left flowers at the grave site closest to where he fell. Along with the flowers, I left a note which told him that the family now knew where he was buried. As I stood there with my eyes closed, I felt a hand squeeze my shoulder and the whispered words “Thank You.” After this, I visited the spot where he died and this time……no headache.

I worked as a law enforcement park ranger for the state for a while. I lived at a state historic sight which was the location of a bloody battle. My residence was located near where the cavalry camped the night before the battle. One year, on the night before the anniversary of the battle, my girlfriend (now wife) and I were watching TV. Suddenly, it sounded like a herd of horses were galloping through the yard. I quickly opened the door and, of course, found nothing. Later that night while we were in bed, we heard the sound again, louder this time. I flung open the door and found nothing. My girlfriend was not a believer in ghosts until that night. Now she is. Admittedly, I wasn’t much of one either until that night. There is nothing else that can explain what we heard.

One foggy night as I patrolled the park after closing time, I spotted the outline of a man standing in the fog. All the gates to the park were closed. I put my spotlight on him but the light seemed to travel through him. I got out of my truck and yelled over to him and told him the park was closed. He turned towards me and I noticed he was dressed in 19th Century clothing. We stood and looked at each other for what seemed like an hour, then he tipped his hat and disappeared into the fog. I marked the spot in the road where I was when I saw him and returned to it the next day. The location where the man had stood was over a body of water, so either he was the spirit of a soldier who fought (or maybe died there) or it was Jesus. Unless Jesus is a reenactor, I’ll go with the former.

My wife and I once stayed at Myrtles Plantation in St. Francisville, LA. We stayed upstairs in the main house. All night long I heard footsteps coming up the stairs but they stopped about halfway up. My wife, who could sleep through the Second Coming, heard nothing. We stayed in a different room the second night but heard or saw nothing out of the ordinary. But that was certainly an enjoyable trip.

I spent 16 years as a Civil War reenactor. While sitting at my campfire at an event one night, a man approached out of the darkness and asked if he could warm himself by the fire. “Of course”, I said. He sat down and I passed him my flash of whiskey. We talked for over an hour. The funny thing is that he was “in character” or what we called a “first person” impersonation where you act as though you were actually a Civil War soldier. So I followed suit. We discussed the war, our families, what we wanted to do when it was over. He told me his name and his unit. After a while he thanked me and walked off into the darkness. The following day I asked around about what reenacting unit the guy belonged to as I intended to compliment him on his first person impression. No one knew who he was or had ever heard of someone by that name. Was I visited by an actual Civil War soldier? Perhaps. One thing I can say, as it may be pertinent, is that I was not intoxicated at the time either.

I don’t live in a haunted house, though it is an older home. And even if it was haunted, I have five cats to protect me, along with a sexy redheaded wife with an ass that just won’t quit who can also protect me. All of the above items are true. I have neither embellished, nor subtracted, from what happened. Believe them or not, the choice is yours, but I know they are true.

L.H.

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The Redhead, my sexy good luck charm!

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