DALLAS —There are a million reasons why a ghost will stick around, Mark Keyes of Pennsylvania Paranormal Association told members of the Wyoming Valley Civil War Round Table Thursday, Oct. 13.
“Why on earth if somebody died and had an opportunity to go to heaven would they stick around?” asked Keyes, the co-founder and director at the PPA. “That goes for private residences, businesses and battlefields.”
“But for me, battlefields — why on earth would someone want to stay in that situation?”
Keyes posed the question to over 70 attendees at the Wyoming Valley Civil War Round Table’s program titled, “Ghosts of the Civil War,” held at 7 p.m. at the Daddow-Isaacs American Legion Post 672, at 730 Memorial Hwy.
The Wyoming Valley Civil War Round Table invites a different speaker to monthly meetings to discuss a topic about the Civil War. This month was all about the supernatural.
Keyes, an author of “Chasing Shadows — A Criminal Investigator’s Look into the Paranormal,” and featured on Destination America’s “The Haunted” television show along with colleague Joe Hawk, who co-hosts a WILK FM radio show called “Paranormal Science” with Keyes.
Keyes and Hawk explained spirits can become trapped in this world due to several reasons, including “unfinished business, fear of judgment, dedication to their (military) unit or may not know they are dead,” Keyes said.
“If you watch TV a lot of people have sightings in different bed and breakfasts, bars and taverns of a lady in a white dress. It’s always the same path and it never pays attention to anybody — that is an example of a residual haunting,” Keyes said. “It is just residual energy that was left there.”
A battlefield could have millions of locations where this highly-charged traumatic energy can be imprinted in the environment and replay, which explains why people claim to see the same ghost walking by in a particular direction at the same time, Keyes said.
Conscious ghosts or classic hauntings are what most people are familiar with, Keyes said.
“A conscious spirit can roam through a house, building or the grounds,” he said. “They can interact with some people. They can be seen and are aware of you sometimes.”
Both types of hauntings need to be considered when investigating ghosts on a battlefield, Keyes said.
Keyes said, historically, his team finds there is some emotional or psychological trauma that happened to a person that holds his or her spirit here.
“Sometimes they do not know they are dead,” he said. “It (death) might happen so fast or the person could be in an altered state of mind.”
Hawk recounted an investigation behind the Gettysburg High School, close to the location where nearly 70 Confederate soldiers bodies were found.
Hawk said another paranormal group went to the site with ghost hunting equipment, which included a voice recorder. After several hours, the group prepared to leave when one member asked, “Do you need anything?”
A faint voice was captured on the recorder answering, “Bring fresh troops.”
The voice did not belong to any in the group, Hawk said. Then, he played the recording for the audience.
Keyes recalled a separate haunting in a candle shop in the Poconos. The building was owned by a doctor who lost his father to Yellow Fever.
Keyes said a highly trained medium, which is a person who uses a psychic ability to channel spirits, went into the building and felt the doctor’s ghost still there.
The doctor communicated to the medium that he knew he was dead, but felt he had to find a cure for Yellow Fever before moving on, Keyes said.
November’s Wyoming Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting won’t be quite as spooky.
“Next month we will have historian Charlie Petrillo talk about Colonel Robert Bruce Rickets,” said John Sidorek, the president of the Wyoming Valley Civil War Round Table.
The historical discussions are open to the public, with a request for a $3 donation from non-members.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Paranormal Association, visit theppa.net.