Saturday, May 10, 2008

Devil's Den

devil's den
Devil's Den after Gettysburg from Sons of the South
(photo by Alexander Gardner, 1863)


The Devil's Den, located between Big and Little Round Tops on the Gettysburg battlefield, was a spook hot spot long before the Civil War. The rock strewn locale allegedly got its' name from an elusive monster snake that was said to inhabit the boulders, called "The Devil" by the locals. It was supposed to also be a Native American ceremonial site, and the early settlers reported Indian ghosts and the sound of "war whoops" among the rocks.

Another story concerns Pauline Noel, a young woman that literally lost her her head in a wagon crash there. Her headless ghost has been reported seen, and some say if you run across her, she'll try to take yours, too (actually, the legend is she'll try to eat it, but without a head of her own...) Its' also said that her name, P. Noel, was carved into the rocks by her spook so that she's never forgotten. It's thought that if you trace the engraved name with your finger, her ghost is likely to appear.

It's also a place where cameras quite often malfunction as a sort of curse brought about because of the ghoulish moving and posing of bodies by Civil War photographers. There have also been alleged sightings of battle reenactments by the spook soldiers, and the sight of ghostly snipers, gangs of roaming graycoats, and the sounds of gunfire have been commonly reported.

The most famous spook is that of the Texan reb who's been seen by many, serving as a sort of a tourist guide and happily posing for pictures (although when developed, his figure is missing.) Once he was described to a park ranger as a barefoot hippie because of his floppy hat and loose shirt - the uniform of the Texas Confederate regiment.

The areas between Devil's Den and the Round Tops were known as The Valley of Death and Slaughter Pen, and some troops seem to be stuck in an endless loop of reliving the battle - and their deaths, in America's most senseless and brutal war.

1 comment:

Gudrun Simms said...

I have seen the Texas regiment ghost, once when I visited the place with school, I saw a man dressed in older clothes, dark cowboy looking hat, with a sort of mole or wart on his face, stop and point towards the field and tell me that "what I was looking for was over there". I walked into the field toward the direction he had pointed out, and turned to see if he was still there, and he was no where to be seen. At first I thought it was a park ranger or perhaps a school chaperone, but none of the other adults in the group looked like that man, or were dressed in clothes like that. I remember that the experience made me feel sort of disoriented and slightly dizzy.