As I get ready to leave for Gettysburg for the 2012 Horrorfind Convention, I’m reminded of this ghost story. I have to admit out of all the stories I’ve been told since I started writing paranormal suspense novels, this is one of the strangest.
Even before I start to relate the tale, I have to disclose that Brad is a total skeptic, he does not believe in anything supernatural or paranormal, and this is his story. He tries to explain this event as a mass hallucination. I even find that hard to believe, but that’s just me.
When Brad was a young boy, as opposed to the young man he has become, he visited the Gettysburg battle field with his Boy Scout troop. Of course this included a stop at Devil’s Den. Now that area of the battle field has its fair share of ghost sightings, but he didn’t see anything unusual at the rocks.
The troop enjoyed their time exploring the large rocks and then started to follow a trail that led up to Little Round Top. Brad explained that when he was a boy more trees had grown up in this area and were later removed to make the battlefield more authentic to the period of the actual battle. I seem to remember hearing this myself. At the time his troop followed this path, it went through some thick trees and came out in a clearing that was bordered on both sides with split rail fences.
When the troop stepped into the clearing, Brad said it felt like time had slowed down, and a golden retriever ran out across the clearing. The dog seemed to move in slow motion. What must have only been a few minutes felt like it spanned into hours as the dog bolted across the clearing and entered the forest on the other side. When the dog dove into the brush time snapped back into place. All the boys and even their adult leaders had experienced that same slow motion feeling watching the dog.
The path did not continue past the clearing so they returned to the road and followed another trail up to Little Round Top.
A few weeks later Brad returned to the battle field with his parents and wanted to show them where he had seen the dog, but they could not find the path that lead back to the clearing.
Although Brad did some research and discovered Golden Retrievers were used to carry messages during the Civil War he still dismisses the event as a mass hallucination.
After hearing this story, I did a little due diligence and did in fact find references in the form of a quote from http://www.esdaw.eu/dogwork.htm ESDAW European Society of Dog and Animal Welfare, “[t]he American Pit Bull Terrier was used in the American Civil War to protect, [and] send messages”.
So it does appear that dogs were used in the battle fields.
I’m not sure what to think about all these ghost animal stories I’ve been hearing, but maybe I will take a dog biscuit with to Gettysburg this weekend, just in case.