Many of us have heard of the historic Gettysburg area, from the important Gettysburg Address and the Civil War. The town is filled with stories to tell – many very tragic harkening back to the Civil War and the immense battles of the time. However, Gettysburg captures the imagination, stirs the soul, and continues to draw visitors from around the world to its hallowed ground and beautiful countryside. But, unless you are a true aficionado, a little known fact is that this is an area of many ghostly sightings. In honor of Halloween, we decided it was a great idea to do a visit to the most haunted, Welty House.
The area is a throwback in time, with many grand monuments to the Civil War. The battle brought devastation to the residents of Gettysburg. When the armies marched away from Gettysburg they left behind a community in shambles and over 51,000 soldiers dead, wounded, or missing. Wounded and dying were crowded into nearly every building. Every farm field or garden was a graveyard. Most of the dead lay in hastily dug and inadequate graves; some had not been buried at all. Churches, public buildings and even private homes were hospitals, filled with wounded soldiers. The Union medical staff that remained were strained to treat so many wounded scattered about the county. To meet the demand, Camp Letterman General Hospital was established east of Gettysburg where all of the wounded were eventually taken to before transport to permanent hospitals in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington. Union surgeons worked with members of the U.S Sanitary Commission and Christian Commission to treat and care for the over 20,000 injured Union and Confederate soldiers that passed through the hospital’s wards, housed under large tents. By January 1864, the last patients were gone as were the surgeons, guards, nurses, tents and cookhouses. Only a temporary cemetery on the hillside remained as a testament to the courageous battle to save lives that took place at Camp Letterman.
Why Stay The Welty House? Steeped in history and in the center of town, it is the perfect place to get a firsthand “Ghost” experience. Here are a few anecdotes from the GM as well as recent guests.
- Chayna Sellers, General Manager at the Brickhouse Inn Bed & Breakfast, who has been at the house for 26 years, shared that she and the tour guides often share on ghost tours of a woman staying in the upper floor of the Welty House who awoke to a loud CRACK outside of her room. She looked out to see the cause of the sound and found nothing. Thinking that it was just an old house making old house noises she was going to just go back to bed. Until she heard a low, male voice behind her say “keep your head down ma’am”. She quickly turned around to just an empty room that smelled faintly of spent gunpowder. They have other reports of people walking by seeing the apparition of a man sitting in the window looking down on the street seemingly on watch. When you catch his eye, he will give you a nod in greeting and continue his watch before disappearing.
- “My husband and I loved staying at the Welty House in the Texas Room over this past weekend! We did go on the ghost tour with Jim at the Brickhouse Inn and it was very nice. The tour guide had us walk around town for 120 minutes as we carried emf detectors. It was very historical and informative. So we got back from the ghost tour at midnight and then my husband and I fell asleep around 1am. By 2am I woke up feeling these vibrations in the air, throughout my body and my ears were ringing to the sounds of cannons firing, bullets whizzing past my ears, horse hooves running and horses in distress… and a drum beat that was thumping in my chest. It lasted about 30 minutes while I was laying in bed. And I looked up and saw a tall man with whiskers in a Confederate uniform, wearing a wide brim hat with a feather on one side. He was an older man, and was just looking down at me from the opposite side of the bed where my husband was sleeping. I didn’t sense anything negative, but a fatherly feeling the way a father would look at their daughter. I knew what I was seeing and just remained calm and closed my eyes and fell back to sleep. Looking back now, I realized this house saw many Confederate soldiers die on the property as well as using it as a sniper’s position. And my husband brought Union cavalry hats and they just happened to be in the closet on the hat shelf. I’m not sure if that had anything to do with it. After the tour, I learned that the Welty House has been reported as being haunted and apparently it was on the border between the Union and the Confederate armies. It was something I will never forget but wanted to share with you all. Many thanks again”
–Anna from Pittsburgh
- The Welty House was the site of gruesome fighting during the Battle of Gettysburg and was used as a sharpshooter position for Confederate forces. It still bears scars from the battle, which one can see and touch. The home sheltered the Welty Family in its basement where a spring ran through as a water source.
- Following the battle, the Welty House property served as a temporary burial ground for 36 Union and confederate soldiers, and it later witnessed President Abraham Lincoln and his procession down Baltimore Street to deliver the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, the anniversary of which is celebrated each year in Gettysburg.
- In 2006, the Welty House was fully converted into an Inn as part of the Brickhouse Inn. Lance Zaal, founder of Junket and US Ghost Adventures purchased the Brickhouse Inn in 2022, restoring the identity of the Welty House and offering guests a chance to tour or book a night at the historic, haunted house.
- A significant anniversary to keep in mind is the Battle of Gettysburg which happened July 1, 1863 – July 3, 1863.
It is certainly a unique and extremely interesting experience in an area that is so important to our nation’s history.
For More Information: https://brickhouseinn.com/about/
For More Info on Gettysburg: https://destinationgettysburg.com/