November 3, 2019
Nestled in between a bed and breakfast, along with an artifacts store, is the Gettysburg Orphanage. The three-story brick building was a safe haven for children who lost their families during the Civil War. At first, with a caring matriarch and caregiver, the orphanage was run smoothly and with care and love. As time went on, the orphanage fell into debt and was limited on funds as the original overseer had moved on, falling in love and getting married. The orphanage hired a strict and rule driven mistress named Rosa Carmichael.
Eventually, it was found that Rosa was a Sadist and abused the children who were supposed to be cared for at the orphanage. She punished the children to extreme measures and children even went missing. Unfortunately, since it was a private institution, no one was allowed on the property without written permission. It was rumored, and highly believed that Rose killed the children (accidentally or intentionally) but was unable to be properly convicted without formal evidence. The townspeople had enough and ultimately chased Rosa Carmichael out of town.
The children were distributed across the state and in safe institutions after her disappearance. The orphanage then became a museum and apartment complex. Today, there are apartments on the upper floors while the first floor and basement are operated by Ghostly Images Tours and Gift Shop. Tours of the basement and rear dining room are given regularly, and the apartment area is off limits to guests.
As we arrived, a tour of the Gettysburg Orphanage ran late. We had a little more time outside than originally intended but it did give us time to take some exterior pictures of the building and explore a little. Luckily, another tour guide coming from the Jennie Wade House let us into the apartment entry area to keep warm and begin our set up. After the tour ended and our guide greeted us, we began setting up in the Dining Room. Our guide had told us some stories and gave us a brief history of the orphanage. As we settled in, our investigation began at roughly 12:30 AM and lasted only until 2:30 AM, although with Daylight Savings Time the ending time was actually 1:30 AM. We used most of our equipment during this investigation including the K2 meter, a SB7 spirit box, two stationary cameras, one handheld camera, an Ovilus, a Rempod, a recorder, the FLIR thermal camera, a balloon, IR lights, and a temperature gauge. With the limited time and size, we did not utilize the SLS Camera, the plasma ball, or laser grid pen.
The most noticeable activity we received was that of a light up balloon in the Dining Hall. There wasn’t a ton of voices or verbal intelligent communication aside from those moments. There was a decent amount of Ovilus activity that we believe was in relation to what had happened in the orphanage in the past. We also did record some footsteps and scratching noises during our time in the building, both in the Dining Hall and the Basement.
In the Basement, there was a certain heaviness that was felt by all, but in particular in the Pit in the back of the basement seemed to be darker. As we were wrapping our investigation, we had mentioned Rosa Carmichael, the notoriously evil caretaker. Moments later, Derrick was hit with a sudden nauseous feeling and nearly threw up. Just then, the word “Exit” appeared on the Ovilus, followed by the lights unable to power on. This was probably one of the darker moments we’ve experienced while investigating.
Below are our captured recordings, videos, and pictures from our short term investigation of the Gettysburg Orphanage. The locations are marked where we believe that we received any type of communication or unnatural noises and sounds. After you listen and watch some of the footage, give us your thoughts and opinions.
As always, you have been warned, some of this is not for the faint of heart and can be slightly explicit:
Dining Hall – 1st Floor
This area is where the majority of the children’s’ social activity occurred at their time at the orphanage. They would eat, play, and pray here. Through the back door was their former classroom which has been rebuilt and re-purposed as a chapel over time. This long stretching room also holds old photos and artifacts dug up on site; some from the time of the Civil War, some from the time of the renovations of the old mansion.
According to reports, footsteps, laughing, and crying are typically heard here. Apparently, before they would be taken to the basement, Ms. Carmichael (much too pleasant of a title for her in our opinion) would berate and discipline the children in front of their peers. However, the true torture would occur downstairs.
Aside from these evil-doings, the children are said to have enjoyed themselves in the Dining Hall. This is where they would play things like cards, hop scotch, and jacks. This can explain the laughter as the kids, who seem to be trapped or returned here, are actually trying to enjoy themselves despite their unfortunate demises.
As we began our investigation of the Gettysburg Orphanage, we started in the Dining Hall utilizing the blue light up balloon in particular. We did capture a few words in regards of communication, but the balloon seemed to be a favorite of the children here.
- We didn’t capture any oddities in the photos or the FLIR infrared camera.
- We received plenty of communication in the form of a light up balloon moving. Obviously you cannot see it on the recorder but you can hear us refer to it at multiple points beginning at :27 when the balloon moved for the first time.
- At :35, 1:09, 1:31, 2:05, 2:18, 2:48, and 3:42 the balloon was seen moving.
Recorder 2 – Spirit Box:
- At :27 we captured “Hello” followed by “Help me” at :37.
- “Hello” was repeated at 1:58 and 2:08 with “Hi.”
Recorder 3 – Spirit Box:
- At :28, “Evil” appeared on the Ovilus.
- “Cave” appeared on the Ovilus at 2:07, possibly referring to the basement, followed by “Soaked” at 3:15 which could refer to the children being waterboarded and doused in water in the barrels.
- A scratching noise was captured at 4:13.
- “Troll” appeared on the Ovilus at 4:36.
- At 5:35, “Nosebleed” was seen on the Ovilus, we deduce that this may have been a common occurrence with Rosa around.
- “Firm” appeared on the Ovilus at 6:20 with our guess of this referring to Rosa again.
Recorder 4 – Spirit Box:
- At :15, “God no” appeared on the Ovilus followed by “Tomb” at 1:02.
- Around the 1:50 marker, Theresa felt something grab at her shoe.
- Another knock and possibly footsteps could be heard at 3:01.
- The Ovilus produced the name “Amelia” at 3:36 and “Relief” at 4:40.
- At 4:56, “Still” was shown on the Ovilus.
- The balloon moved three different times, at 6:10, 6:55, and 8:30.
Stationary Video 1:
- There’s nothing that really stood out to us at this angle in this video.
Stationary Video 2:
- The balloon can be seen moving on the opposite camera angle, but nothing is spotted in this view.
Stationary Video 3 – Spirit Box:
- “Hello?” can be heard at :09 followed by a “Help me” at :19.
- This was repeated at 1:40 with a “Hello?” and again “Hi” at 1:50.
- At about 10:10, “Evil” appeared on the Ovilus.
- “Cave” showed up on the Ovilus at 11:49 followed by “Soaked” at 12:57.
- An odd scratching noise can be heard at 13:55.
- At 14:18, “Troll” appeared on the Ovilus.
- “Nosebleed” shows up on the Ovilus at 15:17 followed by “Firm” at 16:02.
- At 17:57, the phrase “God no” is seen on the Ovilus.
- The word “Tomb” is produced by the Ovilus at 18:44.
- At about 19:32, Theresa felt something grab her shoe.
- There was an odd knocking sound that could possibly be footsteps at 20:43.
- At the 21:28 mark, “Amelia” appeared on the Ovilus.
- “Relief” came up on the Ovilus at 22:22 followed by “Still” at 22:38.
- The balloon moved at three different occurrences at 23:52, 24:37, and 26:12.
Stationary Video 4:
- There were numerous occasions where the blue light up balloon can be seen moving side to side. Each time we had asked the spirit to move it and we attempted to debunk this by testing for drafts or any air movement but we could not determine any other source of a breeze.
- The balloon moved at 4:04, 4:12, 4:46, 5:08, 5:42, 7:55, 8:25, and 9:19.
Stationary Video 5:
- We received a greeting of “Hello” at :17 and “Hi” at :27.
- This was repeated at 1:48 with “Hello” and again “Hi” at 1:58.
- At 10:18, “Evil” was seen on the Ovilus.
- “Cave” was seen at 11:57 on the Ovilus followed by “Soaked” at 13:05.
- At 14:03, a scratching noise could be heard.
- 14:26 “Troll” appeared on the Ovilus at 14:26 followed by “Nosebleed” at 15:25 and “Firm” at 16:10.
- At 18:05, the phrase “God no” came across the Ovilus and “Tomb” at 18:52.
- Theresa felt something grab her shoe at the 19:40 mark.
- At 20:51, an odd knocking or footsteps sound could be heard.
- “Amelia” was recorded on the Ovilus at 21:36 as well as “Relief” at 22:30 and “Still” at 22:46.
- The balloon moved three more times, at 24:00, 24:45, and 26:20.
Much different than homes of that era, and to Rosa Carmichael’s delight, the Gettysburg Orphanage actually had an interior entrance to the basement. The stereotypical narrow staircase lead to the cold, stone-walled basement right outside of the Dining Hall. It is rumored, and pretty much 99% confirmed, that the children who were punished by Rosa’s iron fist occurred in the basement area. The children were punished by being chained to the wall, dunked in ice cold barrels, and even kept in solitary confinement. This area was actually hollowed out in the walls by Rosa’s older orphans in order to punish them further.
Many children were said to die by Carmichael’s hand and may have even been buried in the dirt floor of the basement. Even though the authorities never had enough evidence to support this to convict her, the missing children and echoing screams were enough for the townspeople of Gettysburg to run her out of town.
It may never be known of just how many children, and which ones, were killed in the house and which managed to run away and escape her treachery. Either way, reports often claim that the basement carries a very dark and malevolent feeling and air about it. Phantom screams and fast paced footsteps seem to be common reports from the basement. Some guests will bring toys and stuffed animals to leave for the long-lost children to play with in the afterlife in hopes of bringing them peace and enjoyment.
Even though the investigation of this area began slow, it picked up quickly and ended with a terrifying bang. We didn’t receive much in regards to communication at first, then the Ovilus began to pick up a few words. At that point, Derrick and Dan worked their way back to the Pit area while Cindy, Theresa, and Shelby continued to investigate in the main basement area. The Pit grew cold but was that was debunkable. Toward the end of the investigation, Derrick mentioned Rosa Carmichael and less than a minute later felt violently ill. This was caught on video and some FLIR photos of odd colors. At this same time, in the main basement, the ladies received the word “Exit” on the Ovilus. As Derrick exited and the rest of the group began packing up, the lights refused to turn on until they were out of the basement.
Quite a way to end the evening…
- The normal flash photographs did not produce any paranormal evidence, however, there were a few pictures using the thermal camera and a screenshot of a video that produced some odd visuals.
- The first thermal picture shows an odd white light in the back of the hallway right outside the Pit when there was no one and nothing in that spot.
- The next FLIR image shows Derrick right after he felt nauseous and a very cold spot appearing on his chest.
- The screen shot of the video shows a light anomaly moving from the left to the right side of the camera just before the word “Influence” appeared on the Ovilus.
Recording 1 – Open Area:
- The word “Scare” appeared on the Ovilus at :27.
Recording 2 – Open Area:
- At :25, the Ovilus produced the word “Influence.”
- At 4:10, Cindy and Theresa felt pressure on their chests and heads.
- The word “Demon” ominously showed up on the Ovilus at 5:59.
Recording 3 – Open Area:
- At :10, the Ovilus produced the word “Arab.”
- Dan’s phone moved on the bench at about the 1:35 mark.
- The words “Self Esteem” and “Rain” showed up back to back on the Ovilus at 4:16.
Recording 4 – The Pit:
- At about 1:40, we felt a sudden cold spot but we managed to debunk this as there was a hole in the wall for some piping.
Recording 5 – The Pit – Spirit Box:
- Derrick mentions Rosa Carmichael’s name and not long after, around 2:20, he gets a sudden onset of intense nausea which ultimately forces him to leave the area.
Video 1 – Stationary Camera – Open Area:
- At the 3:24 mark, “Scare” appeared on the Ovilus.
- There was an odd light anomaly in front of camera at 7:04.
- At 8:52, “Influence” was shown on the Ovilus.
- Cindy & Theresa felt pressure on their chests and heads at 12:37.
- Around 14:26, “Demon” appeared on the Ovilus.
- “Arab” on the Ovilus at 16:52.
- Around the 18:17 mark, Dan’s phone moved on the bench unfortunately we did not capture this on camera.
- At 20:58, “Self Esteem” and “Rain” appeared back to back on the Ovilus.
Video 2 – Stationary Camera – Open Area:
- After Derrick and Dan ventured back to the Pit, Cindy, Shelby, and Theresa continued their investigation of the open area and recorded “B” on the Ovilus at 1:05.
- Around 6:30, Cindy gets a dizzy sensation.
- At 8:18, “Architect” appeared on the Ovilus followed by “Reach” at 8:40.
- “Aim” was shown on the Ovilus at about 8:57.
- “Troops” was seen on the Ovilus at 11:26.
- Around 14:35, “Verdict” was shown on the Ovilus followed by “Exotic” and “Blue” quickly flashing on the Ovilus at 14:55 possibly in reference to the balloon.
- At 15:44 the balloon moved.
- At the same time Derrick grew nauseous in the Pit, “Exit” appeared at 18:02 on the Ovilus.
- The lights refused to turn on and this can be seen at about 20:50.
Video 3 – Stationary Camera – Hallway:
- At 3:19, “Scare” can be seen on the Ovilus.
- “Influence” showed up on the Ovilus at 8:47 followed by Cindy and Theresa feeling pressure on their chests and heads at 12:32.
- At about 14:21, “Demon” appeared on the Ovilus followed by “Arab” at 16:47.
- Dan’s phone moved on the bench in front of him at 18:12 but it was just outside the camera’s view.
- At 20:53, “Self Esteem” and “Rain” flashed on the Ovilus.
Video 4 – Handheld Camera – Open Area:
- The word “Scare” appeared on the Ovilus at 4:21.
- At 9:49, “Influence” was shown on the Ovilus.
- Cindy and Theresa felt pressure in their chests and heads at about 13:34.
- At 15:23 “Demon” appeared on the Ovilus followed by “Arab” at 17:49.
- Dan’s phone moved on the bench at 19:14.
Video 5 – Handheld Camera – The Pit:
- At about the 4:32 mark, a cold spot was felt but was debunked by pipe penetrating the stone wall.
Video 6 – Handheld Camera – The Pit:
- Before the video began, Derrick felt extremely sick to the stomach after mentioning Rosa Carmichael. What the video picks up is the aftermath.
After scouring through our evidence gathered, we conclude that the Gettysburg Orphanage holds energy and spirits ranging from friendly, but scared, to more evil and malevolent. Even though we didn’t capture much verbal communication, we did receive activity utilizing our light up balloon and Ovilus.
The Dining Hall was active with spirits moving the balloon as we asked them to, and we verified that there was no air movement to move the balloon. We also recorded some communication through the spirit box in the form of courtesies like “Hello” and “Hi.” The Ovilus came into play here as we received words that described what occurred here, in particular to the children by Rosa Carmichael. There were also some noise oddities which we captured here like scratching and knocks. The spirits here seemed to be shy and scared but still open to communicating.
In the open area of the basement we did capture some words on the Ovilus, but not too much more than that. The air did seem heavier and there were some odd pressures that some of us felt on our chests and heads. Once we moved to the Pit area of the basement, we seemed to pull out more emotion. As we mentioned the sadistic Rosa Carmichael, Derrick felt sick to his stomach which coincided with the Ovilus telling us to “Exit.” Before we could, the lights refused to turn on until we grew closer to leaving which was an anomaly in its own right. We believe that there are multiple spirits in that basement, both the pit and the open area. These spirits do not want visitors and they tend to stay hidden until they have finally had enough. We wouldn’t say that they are demonic or evil per se but they definitely are not friendly nor inviting.
We confidently conclude that the Gettysburg Orphanage in Gettysburg, PA hosts multiple spirits, mainly children, and each area holds a different type of energy. Even though we did not gather many names or verbal communication, we believe we received enough physical evidence using our tools and our personal experiences to determine that the orphanage is in fact definitively haunted by the spirits of the distant past, most of whom want to be left to their own devices in the afterlife.