Patti O’Day, known to be Gettysburg’s original ghost
storyteller, returns after a 10-year hiatus from telling stories. Dressed
in authentic mourning dress and veil, she will deliver ghost stories in front of
the haunted objects and other rooms depicting scenes such as a viewing parlour
and a period séance. Known to many as Gettysburg’s “Ghost Mistress”, Patti felt
compelled to start telling ghost stories after living upstairs in the
Farnsworth House until it was opened as a Bed & Breakfast in 1986.
That same year, Patti started to tell ghost stories in the cellar. It was then, that Gettysburg’s original “Mourning Theater” was born. “No one else in Gettysburg told ghost stories at that time”, expressed Patti, “People looked at you twice if you mentioned there were ghosts in your house,” she added. “There were stories that needed to be told of the pain and suffering during and after the battle…and why their spirits still remain”. Ms.O’Day will host the exhibit as she takes visitors from room to room, revealing haunted objects from the house as well as historical facts dealing with mourning rituals and customs.
One room will depict a 19th century home set up for a viewing that will include customs and superstitions such as covered mirrors, stopped clocks and an authentic viewing casket made of wicker. Hair wreaths and other civil war era memoriams will adorn the exhibit. Another room will depict an historic scene that will reveal how influential spiritualism and séances were in the White House during President Lincoln’s term. Patti will also be available to sign Gettysburg’s Haunted Address, a book that includes ghost stories from the Inn and entries from journals kept in the B&B Rooms. People taking this special tour can get the book for a special price.
Now, almost 25 years after Patti first uttered a word about ghosts in Gettysburg, cable television has helped make the phenomenon one more reason to visit the historic town. The haunted complex has been seen on A&E’s The Unexplained, Travel Channel’s Most Haunted, SCI-FY Channel’s Truth Positive, BBC and Unsolved Mysteries. The Inn will be featured this fall on Discovery Channel’s GHOST LABS. The cast of A&E’s Paranormal State selected the Farnsworth House to deliver ghost tours to over 150 of their fans this past March as they met and greeted them on the property.
Credited as one of the most haunted inns in America, The Farnsworth House Inn and Restaurant has a lot more to offer than Victorian lodging and food. They are also known for more than 14 spirits that haunt their property. Now many of the haunted objects that have been part of their many Bed & Breakfast hauntings will be viewed in a special attraction for the Halloween season. Gettysburg’s Haunted Address Exhibit opens October 14 and will continue 7-11p.m. Thursday-Sunday.
One of the featured exhibits will be a wedding dress that is infamous for its display in the B&B’s Sara Black Room. The dress will be accompanied by a video of the dress captured by a ghost investigator from Columbia, PA. The video was taken overnight while he slept. He could not believe his eyes when he reviewed the footage the next day. The lifeless arms of the dress actually rose up, hovered and slowly returned to their rested position. This video has been featured on several cable programs. Other objects include a toy baby carriage that has been seen going up the stairs without assistance, a candy dish that changes placement in the Sweney Room, a rocking chair that rocks on its own from the McFarlane Room, and an over-sized mirror that contains a variety of spectral images from the cellar. Many other objects will adorn the room dedicated to the Farnsworth House hauntings.
Farnsworth House Ghost Tours and Mourning Theatre is the oldest ghost tour company in Gettysburg and one of the only candlelight ghost tours to actually take patrons into an actual haunted building. There is plenty to do at the Farnsworth House to get in the spirit of Halloween with the largest variety of ghost presentations in the area. They offer nightly candlelight ghost walks that enter the Farnsworth House attic or cellar, ghost hunts using equipment like the pros use, stories by candlelight in the cellar’s Mourning Theater, and a re-creation of a Victorian Séance.
The séance presentation, for entertainment only, takes place in a room that looks like it is straight out of a movie set. Experience the tricks of the trade of a 19th century medium with a storyline based on Gettysburg’s own unsolved murder mystery from 1879. For an extended experience, why not delve into an all-night investigation of the house. Their Paranormal Nights, offered twice a month throughout the year by reservation, and will offer investigations on October 13 and 27 for a Halloween experience like no other. The haunted object exhibit can easily be seen while waiting for other presentations offered by the Farnsworth House for a night of Halloween chills for the whole family. One dollar will be taken off the exhibit price if you take another Farnsworth House tour.
Also known for their period fare, the Farnsworth House is the only restaurant in Gettysburg to have been reviewed by Bon Appetite Magazine, boasting “History never tasted so good.” Their dining rooms and tavern serve a variety of dishes from their famous game pie and pumpkin fritters to delicious steaks and seafood. Be sure to make dinner reservations to round out your Halloween experience. Dine in one of the most haunted inns in the United States for great food and yes, they have plenty of spirits as well.
By Melody Schubert
Call 717-334-8838 or 334-2039 for all reservations. Go to www.gettysburgshauntedaddress.com for more details.