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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]

Yes, Gettysburg is a tourist town.  It is filled with tourist shops, selling knickknacks and bobble headed Generals.  Much as I would like to envision Pennsylvania craftsmen sitting in a barn somewhere creating them, most likely they are born in some overseas factory.  Is it a good thing……

Much as I would like to hope most tourists walk away with a historic book (or one of mine)……I think it is safe to assume that a lot of those touristy items fill the bags of many walking among the streets of this town for the first time…..or maybe the second, or third…….Gettysburg calls to those who visit, to return.

Though bobble headed Lees and Grants aren’t my idea of appropriateness; shadows of the pastif they captivate a child’s eye and interest his or her mind in Civil War history, then I say…..why not?

Most families who come to Gettysburg cannot afford to bring home an expensive antique or genuine relic.  Most carry home that cup, or that kepi, or that knickknack…..and each one helps sustain a shop keeper in town……helps sustain the town where my farmhouse stands.

Taking away Confederate memorabilia will hurt people………the wrong people.  Not the gun toting racist intent on murder, but the innocent people just trying to maintain a business and hire help.

We are seeking to right wrongs here……..but in doing so……we may be creating other wrongs on those with no guilt upon their shoulders………



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

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.

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.



My Gettysburg education involves more than what happened during three summer days in 1863.

And there are more “sides” in Gettysburg than just the blue and the grey……

I choose to observe on the sidelines of those “sides.”

The sides of the over the top fanatical, obsessed who must know every precise foot and hoof account on each battlefield…….just what button adorned each shirt…..(heaven forbid, a reenactor gets it wrong)…….

I have witnessed these people mock and make comments about those less enlightened;  shouldn’t knowledge be kindly shared, not pompously touted.

The critical judgments of those opposed to paranormal seekers and fans always gets stuck in my craw.

Many of them make a profit from those explorers, who visit and purchase from their Gettysburg shops and restaurants.

How can you sell merchandise relating to the paranormal and yet mock those that come to experience a brief moment or encounter……..

Me, I am a Reiki Master, already a strike against me from some…….

And I believe in the paranormal, I lead ghost séances and tours, and have

had experiences working as a medium and in my personal life.

Sadly, there are those who are my “friend” in those sidelines, but not in the popularity crowd.

I accept this, I don’t truly understand it, but I have come to realize this is the way it is in Gettysburg.

Either you strongly take sides, be the brunt of criticism, or just observe from the sidelines.  But it still causes a thorn in my side when I observe those friends mocking the very things I hold dear and the very things that also make Gettysburg the Hallowed Ground that it is…..

If visited with respect, Gettysburg should welcome all those history buffs,  reenactors, (perfect uniform or not)……and ghost hunters….without them, perhaps we would be placing a chip across a roulette wheel close to Devil’s Den……

My heart just wishes Gettysburg had left all the sides behind on a summer day in 1863,,,,,

This voice, from the sidelines, chose to be heard today………



July 3rd, 1863, the third and final day of the Battle of Gettysburg.   One battle ending, another, just beginning………

The battle to reclaim the rolling hills of Pennsylvania back from the stench and horror of death.

How did these people do it…….it is written that, as late as November, when Lincoln arrived to deliver his Gettysburg Address; the stench of death still hovered in the air.

Heroes, other than soldiers, arose to the new “battle front lines.”  Elizabeth Thorn, caretaker of Evergreen Cemetery, hand dug what many men ran away from……the putrifying bodies of the dead.

Dead horses, livestock, mountains of severed limbs……a feast for swarms of flies that blackened the skies above like cannibalistic clouds.

The screams of wounded soldiers, their bodies rampant with gangrene, in agony in the July sweltering heat and pouring rain that drenched Gettysburg after the battle.

That is why these rolling hills will forever remain “Hallowed Ground.”  The energy of horror has been buried, but not extinguished.  Pick up a book that describes the aftermath of Gettysburg to learn what horror truly touched this battlefield in 1863……..from July 1-3 and long afterward.