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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.





I had some strange things happen at my farmhouse this weekend. I will tell one. It was dusk. I came downstairs to ask my husband a question and went in the kitchen…..He wasn’t there, I looked into the adjoining room, it was getting fairly dark, couldn’t see him. I called out, “Are you in there?” That is not a particularly good phrase for the faint of heart in Gettysburg. As I said it, the door behind me swung open, inches from hitting my back. Okay, just random…..Except for one thing, as I looked down, the doorstop was still placed beneath it……The doorstop we keep in place to stop it from opening. My husband was outside, he wasn’t in the room……but I wasn’t alone………..:-)

More of these stories may be read in my book about experiences in this unique, hallowed town and the farmhouse I call home.
“The Returning Ones,” available at's snow


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.



Like all Gettysburg residents, I am anxiously awaiting the new movie “Lincoln.”  We hope the film does him justice, is historically accurate, and portrays this man as the complex soul he truly was.

The more I read, the more I am fascinated by this man……

Thought at first to be a “country bumpkin” ……he possessed such intelligence and the skill to use that intelligence to work to his advantage…. He was hindered by depression, melancholy and a dark side………I find the stories of his travels through grief so fascinating…… His wounded heart masked the grief by countless quips and stories; so much so, many thought the anecdotes not fitting of a President’s status.   Mr. Lincoln spoke a lot in those “quips”…….they often revealed just how perceptive he was.

His artistry with words conveys such emotion….a few minute speech from Lincoln could master what pages and pages of others could not…….

He loved animals…..the White House hosted a motley crew of pets….a turkey named Jack, a goat named Nanko,  (Tad used to hitch Nanko to a wagon and wheel him around the White House grounds… his favorite horse, Old Bob, who held the honor of pulling his master’s funeral hearse…..

Paranormal tales of Lincoln’s dog foretelling his assassination by endless barking intrigue my spiritual interests.  Lincoln, himself, sensed what the future would hold.

Children flocked to be by Lincoln’s side…….he loved them and the love was reciprocated….

No matter what motives prompted any Civil War legislation….the end result of the Emancipation Proclamation was a testament to how this leader evolved amidst the turmoil and despair of war…….how could the years of the 1860’s not have changed this man………..the grief, the death, the personal sorrows……

Steven Spielberg is coming to Gettysburg this November to speak during the Remembrance ceremony.   I hope the spirit of Mr. Lincoln smiles down with satisfaction on this director’s portrayal ……

Here is a link to this promising new film, due in theatres this November……







I spent early this morning going through an old box of photos……photos from my parents and grandparents.  Photos of uncles who never made it home from the war…..

One, in particular, shows my Uncle holding a Nazi flag with a buddy; he died to see that flag never continued to wave…….

I have a photo website; I take pictures and make prints.  I take a lot of pictures in Gettysburg…. always searching for that perfect moment, the perfect ray of sunlight beaming down…….

I could take a million photos for the rest of my life; none will be as precious as the ones in that box.



War and Bombs have followed me through life; their presence determining my fate even before I was conceived.   My dad didn’t talk about the war much… hardly at all, in fact.  My big regret is that I didn’t try to push more out of him, but maybe some things shouldn’t be uncovered from their burial grounds.  He was in the Navy, only a day or so away from Japan when his ship got the orders to hastily retreat.  Then, the bomb was dropped; and my dad’s and my destiny were forged……

The thought that my dad might not have come home if that bomb hadn’t exploded, has always been in the back of my mind.  I have read the horrendous tales of the aftermath, the suffering, and yet that thought lingers in the back of my mind……..what if it saved my dad………..and me.

Years later,  I scheduled a tour of Europe with my two daughters…….then, war came.  Most the of travelers canceled; we didn’t.  Maybe it was that destiny to follow war……

I remember looking up at the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy and hearing the most intense, low rumble above my head.  These were the bombers flying overhead……workhorses of modern war.  At night, we watched the bombs fall over Yugoslavia……a surreal lightning storm that wasn’t heralding rain……..

Then, destiny brought bombs and Towers to me again; I watched just across the water as the Towers fell, by the Statue of Liberty in Liberty State Park.  Surreal again, seeing Lady Liberty and a world of smoke and flames fill the sky…….

My shelter is in a place of war, Gettysburg.  Amidst the remnants of artillery and death, echoing in the voices of the past.   Perhaps it was my destiny to be here….always amidst the war.   The bombs of war that kill and save………….people and a country.

Namaste and Peace today……September 11th