Gettysburg Bed & Breakfast (Undisclosed Location)

Gettysburg Bed & Breakfast (Undisclosed Location)

Gettysburg, PA

 

Aligned on the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland, this small and undisclosed bed and breakfast sits outside the historical area known as the Battlefield of Gettysburg but in a realistic aspect, this location was just as much a part of the battle as the well known and documented locations situated inside the historical limits. Constructed well before the battle, this bed and breakfast has been hosting weary travelers for over 250 years. The limited number of families who owned the building allows for the lasting historical feel and atmosphere of the bed and breakfast. Visitors are still able to step back in time and spend their nights here knowing that they are well taken care of, well fed, and treated like they are family. The current bed and breakfast bears five bedrooms with period replicated furniture in each and the current owner, Bea, hosts any and all guests with the utmost respect and hospitality. She, past owners, and guests all tend to hold a similar opinion that the old bed and breakfast hosts more than just its’ guests, Some say that between the phantom footsteps, heavy eerie breathing, and disembodied voices that there is clear proof that someone from another realm has been left behind to spend eternity in the old fashioned and historical bed and breakfast.

 

The Past

 

The original single story straw roof and field stone construction was completed in 1743 by the first property owner, John McKinley, and his family. Not known at the time, the building actually resides on the Mason Dixon Line which splits Pennsylvania and Maryland. Nearly twenty years later, a surveying company led by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon (originators of the Mason Dixon Line) passed through the area to settle land disputes and accounted for this unique location of the home.

The building saw an increase in travelers due to the French and Indian War and westward expansion. This single story home could not withstand the growing family size and, after the building changed hands in late 1793 to England native William Stewart, a second floor and shingled roof were added. During this expansion, William also added rooms and shelters that resembled pens to house the slaves for the property. He would purchase slaves at a young age and let them grow on the working farm. There were two slaves in particular, Rachel and Frank, who lived their entire lives from a very young age until death on the property.

Post Civil War, in the early 1900’s, the Stewart family and friends were rumored to take in foster children. She was very strict and the punishment for this was severe. One child whom she was said to be quite fond and controlling of would run away time and time again only to be returned to the woman. The punishment was claimed to be of a grotesque variety as she would nail his ear to the floorboard of the former shed to prevent him from running away. This child was left out in the cold and unfortunately passed away from starvation. Charges were in fact brought up against the woman as other visitors noted this occurrence, but with her money and influence, she was able to pay off the judges and court system only to return to those evil doings. It’s said that the townspeople were so furious that they wanted to take vengeance into their own hands but before they could, she disappeared so in turn they strung up a doll from a tree with a likeness of the woman showing what type of justice should have been done. That very shed was torn down and was replaced with a gazebo there was no true way to check for any of these nail marks. As it stands to this day, these are simple legends and lore of the property, however, the owner may have some old newspaper clippings which alludes to the true fact of these evil deeds.

 

 

This, unfortunately, was not the entirety of the tragedies which occurred on the property in particular to the Stewart family. Mrs. Stewart’s infant baby passed away in that building after struggling with a strong and fatal case of the flu. She was said to be buried somewhere on the property. An aunt close to the family, only known as Aunt Sally, died of unknown causes. As she was left at peace in the house awaiting the undertaker’s arrival a massive storm hit the area and flooded the nearby river not allowing anyone to pass over the old bridge. Her body was unfortunately left untouched awaiting this procession for days until the storms passed allowing the undertaker to finally arrive and take her body away.

As the Stewart family gave up on the old building, they let it fall into a near unrepairable state and by 1975, the historical structure was at a near collapse. The Waybright family purchased the property mainly for the land and seemingly endless acreage of property. A father and son duo of Paul and David spent endless hours restoring the building as the matron of the family, Mary, fell in love with the old building, convincing the pair to continue on and pursue their restoration efforts. By 1991, the building was finally near a complete restore and Paul and Mary Waybright moved into their new home.

Unfortunately, Paul passed away only four years later in 1995 and his wife lived in the house on her own until her passing in 2007. Before she did, however, she made her daughter-in-law, Bea, promise to uphold the beauty and historical value of the building and property to share with the world. Staying true to her word, Bea alongside her granddaughter, Aubrey, opened a bed and breakfast only a year later in 2008 in order to share the building with the world. The building was packed full that night.

 

 

More often than not there’s a full house at the bed and breakfast, and Bea’s hope and goal is to pass it down to her grandchildren and keep the business and history in the family. Aside from a typical bed and breakfast, the property also hosts events like weddings, reunions, and retreats. Most guests come for the peaceful and stress free environment, they return thanks in large part to the hospitality and family-like atmosphere Bea creates and upholds.

 

Paranormal Experiences

 

Aside from the obvious location in relation to the much discussed haunted Gettysburg Battlefield, there have been an array of tragedies and untimely deaths associated with this undisclosed bed and breakfast. 

The young slaves who were brought into the property to work their lives away, quite literally, were said to also die and be buried here. Two of the more popular slaves’ identities that have been associated with this story and ultimately potential hauntings are Rachel and Frank. Both of these slaves did in fact die on the property but their burial location is unknown. With as long as they lived here, it’s possible some of the recorded residual hauntings such as doors opening and closing, running water, the whinnying of horses in the basement, and phantom footsteps are thanks in large part to this duo possibly reliving certain tasks and day to day activities in the afterlife.

 

 

Relating directly to the horrendous treatment of foster children, there have been sounds of crying and a voice that sobs for help out behind the shed where the old shed once stood. There have been photographs taken from the outside of the building and, on occasion, the silhouette of a person peering out a first floor window while a profile of a phantom is seen on the second floor. Sometimes, guests have reported a woman standing over top of their beds just staring at them while others have relayed a story of heavy breathing behind them as they are attempting to sleep. It’s speculated that these occurrences are in relation to the former foster care owner who would watch diligently over her children just waiting for them to make a mistake to punish them.

To add to the mystique of the old bed and breakfast, a faux exorcism performed in the basement where the slaves used to be housed. In 1995, a priest from St. Mary’s followed through with exorcism rites in an attempt to spotlight this in a documentary. There is still a cross scribed into the basement door to mark the location. This area still remains home to some of the original stone foundation walls and dirt floor. Lights have seen bursting through this area and electrical items have a tendency to be completely drained of all battery life.

 

 

The first floor in general plays host to faces and heads witnessed in mirrors and moving down hallways. Strangely enough, there is no body that seems to be associated with it and just a bodiless head staring back at the unexpecting guest.

Even though much of this activity may seem negative or harmful, the owner is assured that these entities are not. She has had her fair share of activity and experiences that she has shared with us, but none that seem like anything bad or negative. Most of this activity does appear to revolve around her mother-in-law’s passing and does seem to contribute to the theory that this building just tends to beckon to those who have passed on but loved this location when they were alive. Bea explained that even before her mother-in-law passed away she proclaimed that she’d always be there to watch over Bea and the house. This tends to hold true as Bea feels as though she is sometimes followed and other times feels as though she is simply being watched from afar. Other indicators of her mother-in-law’s presence relate to a direct story about Bea attempting to move some older plates, ones which had been in the house when her in-laws first moved in. Bea’s arm, which held the plate, grew extremely cold extremely fast, but only that arm holding the plate. She initially felt as though she shouldn’t move the plate as it was but had confirmation of this after this otherworldly occurrence. Needless to say, Bea returned the plate to its original location which is where it still remains. As a final remembrance of her mother-in-law, one of the guest rooms is named “Mary B Room” and, to support Bea’s claim of her presence, this room sometimes has been reported to produce heavy breathing sounds but more often than not guests claim that this room is peaceful, restful, and rejuvenating as if Mary is welcoming her guests in to her home with open arms.

 

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