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There was a Confederate flag rally yesterday in Gettysburg, near the Peace Light.I did not attend……..

Vulgarity and tension permeated the hallowed atmosphere……

The eternal Peace Flame wavered like a flag over angry words and hatred.

One can only imagine what the spirits of those whose lives ended almost two centuries ago thought when witnessing it………

The energy of this country is in tremendous need of balance, and needs a great leader to accomplish this feat.
I worry for this country and the world…….and what it holds for my grandchildren.

But, then again, maybe no leader can balance it.   Perhaps if the Messiah descended down a celestial staircase, it still wouldn’t change humanity.

Put rifles in the hands of the crowd yesterday and one can only imagine what might have happened.   The hands that would have held those rifles are the hands of those who have grasped the holy wafer in Communion.   Has it changed those hands?   Could any leader, whether from a log cabin, or a mansion of endless rooms, change what is in the deepest part of man………..

Men fight, they hate, they kill……a lot of times in the name of religion.

So, perhaps, praying that even religion will save us is an unanswerable prayer.





A couple of weeks ago, I was having a rather sleepless night and lay in bed with my eyes closed, lying on my back.

I heard what sounded like an exhalation……………like a sigh one makes when letting all the air out one’s lungs.

Suddenly, I felt a breeze blow across my face……completely covering my face, and then, suddenly, it was gone.  It wasn’t unpleasant, it was like a summer wind blowing or a breeze coming through an open window.

Many times, my better half is lying pretty close to my face, and sometimes his snoring breath gets too close to my mouth.

I opened my eyes and was just about to chastise him for breathing on me again, when I saw he was turned completely opposite, his back towards me.

He wasn’t sleeping either.   I asked, “Did you just turn, were you facing me a minute ago, and did you just breathe on me?”

“No,” he said.   “Did you hear anything, a sigh, like somebody breathing out?”   “No,” he answered.

It was a pretty chilly night, there was no fan, no air condition, no heater in the room either.   The windows were all closed, there was no source of moving air anywhere………except from the mouth of a ghost.

Why this spirit decided to just blow over my face, I do not know.   Needless to say, the rest of my night was sleepless.   I have not been visited by him or her since.   But then again, visits come when you least expect them.

I have many strange things happen to me at my farmhouse.   My first night there, many spirits came to visit.   I write of them in my book, “The Returning Ones, a Medium’s Memoirs.”    Most things now happen in broad daylight.   Ghosts don’t have to show up in the dark; you can find them in the day as well.

Have a Haunted Halloween,

Shirl   Book cover The Returning Ones

Book cover Reenactments From My HeartI told myself I would NEVER write a Civil War book.   I told my family I would NEVER write a Civil War book.   Today, my fourth book became available……fictional stories of the Civil War.

I wanted to explain what this book is about.   It is not a book about military details, about who led which regiment, who suffered the most casualties, or reasons for the war.   I have seen far more knowledgeable historians criticized by readers with different opinions on which rifle was carried, which button on a uniform was worn, toward which direction soldiers retreated.

This is a book about people, the emotions of people.   Love, fear, grief,  all shared by mothers, fathers, siblings, wives, children and soldiers, themselves.

Beneath whatever uniform, whatever button, whatever rifle or flag was carried into battle, beat the same heart, with the same longing to survive the horrors of war, see homes again, and kiss loved ones once again.

These are my stories; I hope they touch your hearts as well.

ShirlPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000039_00067]

I am weary of debates over which is the actual Confederate flag, if certain buttons on a reenactor’s coat were authentic, if a woman shouldn’t be wearing those sandals with her Civil War era dress………..

these are just things, ……

what is in one’s heart will dictate how he lives his life…….with love or hatred……..
I look at the reenactor’s pride……not at his buttons……
I look at a glowing smile on a woman dressed in period clothes, so what if modern sandals make her steps more comfortable…….
I look at flags in Gettysburg as symbols of remembrance for soldiers who never looked at any flag after the beginning days of July, 1863.
Just my tired musings for today….
Peace everyone.

ShirlFeatured Image -- 228

The eyes see what their minds wish……..

Some look at a Confederate flag and see a banner of racist hatred; some remember all those brave color bearers who died keeping it upright during battle.

We can remove the image from stores, from buildings, from the front of homes; but we cannot remove the history and yes, the hatred, that still lives on in the minds of some today.

That hatred will not erase if that flag is erased.  Hatred will find an image, whatever the hater’s mind wishes to construct……be it a flag, a movie, a television series, an ancient symbol reborn into one of evil…….there is no shortage of fuel for the fire of hatred.

So many young men died for that flag, died for what they believed it stood for…….

Perhaps those who think of the flag only as a symbol of prejudice and slavery should revisit history and learn the reasons that flag was carried across battlefields……..

In honor and remembrance of all who gave their lives during this time in American history……..yes, American history, not Northern, not Southern, but American history.


Shirl   confederate flag

That title stuck in my head on Saturday……actually, it’s a Renaissance song.
But Saturday, it was literal…the turkey vultures were actually flying over my head, landing in the neighboring field.
There must have been some tiny soul’s decomposing body there….maybe a feral cat, or the carcass of a deer or skunk.
In Gettysburg, in 1863, the whole town smelled of death.
Death has a unique smell; since moving to a farmhouse, I am familiar with it.
At my farm, I recognize the smell when a little mouse takes his last breath and is decomposing nearby.
I cannot imagine the smell of death that passed over my field in 1863. It lingered for months and months.
I am overwhelmed by the smell of one tiny mouse; how could the residents of 19th Century Gettysburg have continued with their routines and lives among the stench of death.
I suppose the vultures flew high during those July days in 1863.Buzzard 1
buzzards 2
buzzards 3



general's snowI went shopping this weekend at a Civil War artifacts shop in Gettysburg. Filled with relics, soles of shoes, sewing kits, buttons, letters, it is a great place to take a child interested in history.
No paragraph in a book can match gazing at the sole of a soldier’s tattered shoe, or the bullet ridden, battered canteen dug up from the Battlefield.
Behind the glass, I was moved by a dress….a handsewn patched dress, ridden with blood. All that was known about the dress was it was from a nurse, thought to be named Beech.
Funny how some thread and cotton can tell more than a million words on a page.
You can watch the PBS Civil War series over and over, you can walk along the boulders of Devil’s Den, you can watch a reenactment; but gaze directly through the glass at a tattered piece of leather or a patched scrap of bloody cloth,or hold a dented button or weathered diary in your hands and you cannot help but think of the lives and horrors of those who wore or wrote in them almost two hundred years ago.

This wisp appeared to me at a tree in the Grove, the next moment it had vanished.

This wisp appeared to me at a tree in the Grove, the next moment it had vanished.

When I first came to Gettysburg, I went on one of the popular ghost walks around the town. Our guide was period dressed as a Civil War soldier, and seemed quite knowledgeable. We took a midnight tour by lantern light through streets and wooded areas as he told us ghostly stories. One particular story has stayed with me. I have tried to research more about in online but come up empty.
That is the case with some stories around Gettysburg. People have all had unusual experiences……some believe in the Paranormal and wish to talk about experiences, some do not wish to open their minds to this possibility and keep things to themselves.
If you visit Gettysburg, ask the shopkeepers, ask the waitresses, ask the people working and living in town if they have ever encountered something strange. Some will be happy to share, some will snicker at the mention of “ghosthunting”…….
But, if you walk away with one personal story, it will be worth the snickers.I have had quite a few unusual things happen to me; one day, I hope to document them in a book about Gettysburg and the Paranormal. I am not talking Amityville Horror type episodes, but the unexplainable day to day moments that many Gettysburg residents call normal.
Here is the tour guide’s story as well as I can remember it. It concerns one of the most haunted pieces of land in Gettysburg, called the Grove. I have gotten many strange photos at the Grove. It was the scene of horrific battle. When ammunition was depleted, soldiers took to battling with the dismembered arms and legs of fallen comrades.
Now, Gettysburg Middle School, stands on part of this plot of ground. There have been stories of strange occurrences at the school. This one fascinates me most. Land holds energy of what occurred on it; the battle is over, but the energy remains.

It was an important test day for one of the classrooms at the Middle School. Quietly immersed in their test papers, the students came face to face with the image of a Civil War Soldier who burst in through the back wall, ran up the classroom aisle, then disappeared through a front wall…….
The teacher announced……the test is done. Class is finished today.
Was this a wrinkle in time…was this the apparition of a soldier imprinted in time…..was this a ghost………I do not know.

There are many similar stories…..I find them all equally fascinating.
What do you think?
I think those students should have all received a passing grade…that’s for sure…….


Last night, I attended a special prescreening of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.   Let me begin by saying, security was tight.  Cell phones, all electronic tablets were collected and bagged……we were all wanded by security before entering the theatre.  Pocketbooks were searched.

Without divulging too much, I will say that each scene did not disappoint.  The actors were stellar, Daniel Dey-Lewis’ performance was exceptional, watching him portray Lincoln ruined the part for any thespian with similar aspirations.  He not only captured Lincoln’s physical appearance; he captured the heaviness that dwelled upon his shoulders.

Sally Field’s portrayal of Mary matched Daniel’s…….

There was one particular scene between the two of them that had me riveted to my seat……I wasn’t in a theatre seat; I was inside the lives of Abraham and Molly, the acting was just so superlative.  I have read many books on both of them; but the talent of Daniel and Sally brings them to life on that screen.

Snippets of humor provided by the gifted young actor who portrayed Tad helped lighten the drama.

There wasn’t one adequate performance, each was above and beyond ………The movie, itself, is above and beyond, Spielberg should be very proud……each involved in this daunting production should feel the same.

Lincoln is an intimate portrayal of politics, agendas, and one man’s battle to accomplish what best fitted him for his time…… will learn about a President, but also a man………

As the screen went black,  the theatre erupted into applause……..yes, “Lincoln” is an accomplishment for which Spielberg and all involved in the production should be proud.



I am off to a prescreening of Steven Spielberg’s new movie, “Lincoln,” later today.  I am hopefully optimistic that Spielberg got it right; he put a lot of heart and research into the film to capture a country and a man in the 1860’s…….

Every detail, down to the authentic sound of Lincoln’s pocketwatch, recorded from the actual piece, will try to recreate what has never been recreated in a man since……..

Lincoln was so unique; such a contrast in country bumpkin and genius, in my mind.

Mix into that stew, the profound heartache and grief that death and war brought to his soul; and a man emerged that will forever be studied and written about by each generation.

Mr. Spielberg, Lincoln is a daunting task, but you seem to revel in daunting tasks.  I hope you got it right.

I will blog about the movie tomorrow.