« Lore

Episode 135: A Good Death

2020-02-03

We like it when things go according to plan. Even when it comes to death, we long to have some semblance of control over our path. So when those best-laid plans are disrupted by the unexpected, it’s only natural to assume the worst.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
It's an unremarkable stretch of land by both standards, wide open field surround the place with marshland and the occasional rise in the landscape. It's the scottish highlands in just about every way you can imagine windy, wet and steal gray and immensely beautiful, but it's also haunted. Many who visit this patch of land due EAST of Iron S have reported the most unusual experiences. Some visit, We have seen injured men line in the tall grass only to watch them vanish as they move in for a closer look, Where is witnessed men in military uniforms, walking out of the march toward them an artist of all local birds
their avoid the area altogether or somehow feel compelled to remain silent, adding to the eerie atmosphere. The good news is that these sightings only happen once a year on April. Sixteenth. That's me Cuz, the land is the site of a bloody battle known as the battle of Culloden. It was a confrontation that took place in one thousand, seven hundred and forty six between british forces and rebels from the Jacobite uprising and a conflict that saw the loss of nearly two thousand five hundred, and every year, on the anniversary of that tragic event, the past, it seems, returns to make itself known, because some tragedies are too difficult to move on from and as a result, they not At the present, either through unusual experiences or the details of the stories we still tell about them today, but it's not the only battlefield known to be haunted by the events they once played host to
all over the world there are locations where soldiers fought and died at still seem to have an atmosphere of their own where the darkness as yet to let go, and it's easy to understand. Why? All of that pain and suffering and death concentrated into one location, can't help but leave a mom even in a relatively new country. Like the United States, there are countless battlefields with the reputation for something darker, as if the past still waits for us behind a thin veil. Thanks to its pivotal role in american history and the man, Now suffering that took place, there is
on battlefield that most people today have heard of. Even if they don't know about the shadows, it contains Gettysburg, I'm Erin Monkey, and this is lore. It wasn't just a battle- that's probably not a shock to many people, but if we are honest most of the time someone says the gettysburg it's in reference to the battle, but long before shots were fired. Gettysburg was a community. It was first settled in one thousand, seven hundred and sixty one when a tavern was built at a well traveled crossroads for people journey in between Baltimore and Philadelphia in what could be seen as a bit of foreshadowing. Most of those travelers were soldiers and their frequent stops help turn the tavern into something
or by the seventeen nineties locals were referring to the community there as gettysburg by the time the Dark Clouds the american civil war were gathering on. The horizon. Gettysburg was home to nearly five hundred buildings, most of which were homes, but also businesses and centres for manufacturing, and, of course, there was the railroad line that pass through, which also contributed to the commission. he's gruff Gettysburg was also more than a battle in another way, while the From this battle. Most people remember only took place over the course of three days. It was part of a larger campaign called creatively the gettysburg campaign. for most of June and July of eighteen, sixty three military activity, swirled around the little community. There, like a large beehive hanging from the branch of a small tree. But that would change soon enough.
Southern General Robert E Lee had been trying to invade the north for a while. His hope was that if he succeeded, you might force President Lincoln to consider some kind of peaceful We met. The Lincoln wasn't going to let that happen in the weeks later, up to the main battle union forces under the command of General Joseph Hooker position themselves in the area around Gettysburg hoping to act like a barrier between Lee and the north. What took place between July first and July Third was the bloodiest battle of the entire. or civil war. Despite replacing general Joseph Hooker, just three days earlier Union General George Mead, managed to repel the Confederate Forest
and send generally back self, it save the north from invasion and help turn the tide in the larger conflict, but that victory came at an enormous cost, with over fifty one thousand casualties between the two sides. Roughly thirty percent of everyone involved historian drew guilt. Faust puts that figure into morbid perspective by equating it to six million pounds of dead bodies Bodies were left to rot in the hot July son too, because the long held tradition of the victors burying the dead had been tossed out the window earlier in the war. It was just too hard to keep up, but it's not just that the union forces didn't have time to dig grace. It turns out there weren't enough supplies to get the job done either a key tool in that process with shovels Obviously, there weren't enough to go around and so the dead for a long while were simply left in the sun because of this, the people of Gettysburg
Where did they began using scented oils like penny royal and peppermint as a way of masking the stench he went beyond smells, though after them cattle farmers headed back out into their fields only to find dead soldiers littered throughout their crops. One farmer George rose found at least fifty bodies in his, held? While another farmer discovered an entire front line of eighty soldiers that had died in a tidy row everywhere, people looked, there were dead horses and dead men. It wouldn't be until October that the national cemetery was set up at Gettysburg the battle been four and a half months in their past, but I can't imagine anyone there felt as if it was over or had begun to forget. That's because there was something else going on in the hearts and minds of those connected to the battle of Gettysburg is see. The people of the late nineteenth century lived in a world where death was.
more of a community event. The overwhelming majority of people from that era died in the presence of loved ones, almost always at her It was viewed as a good death where the final hence in words of the dying might be recorded, but war robbed families of that experience throughout the civil war. Parents and spouses had to wrestle with the knowledge that their loved ones had travelled far from home. Only
the die suddenly in battle with no one to witness or comfort them that wasn't a good death as far as they were concerned. One common fear that came out of this bitter side effect of war was that the dead might linger that the lack of a good death had the potential to create a cloud of souls who are separated from their bodies in a less than ideal way. People feared, though souls would never rest or find peace and, in turn, might stay to haunt the land of the living. Now, obviously, life moved on and gettysburg people put their lives back together. Businesses reopened and farmers went on to plant. Harvest new crops, but the spectre of all those bad debts lingered on. We know this because of the stories they told stories that have held on to this day of tragic loss and painful death, and if their true
Gettysburg is filled with more than just stories of the past, its also haunted by the dead. If the shifting battle lines were waves, the community of Gettysburg was the shore line, Depending on time and day of the conflict, you never knew which side would have control over the homes and businesses there. Barnes were used as military hospitals, kitchen and dining rooms played hosting officers planning their next moves. Naturally, the people of Gettysburg did their best to disappear and stay out of harm's way and for the most part it worked.
The home of local farmers. Daniel and Rebecca Lady was taken over by confederate forces around July. Second, it was stressful for the family on a number of levels, not least of which was the fact that Rebecca had just given birth to their fourth child a week before, but the beautiful field stone farmhouse quickly became a hospital for injured troops, and that meant that there was a lot of blood again. The house is made of stone, so it fared better than its wooden neighbours again stray many balls, but inside the confederates got created with everything they could find in order to help their injured soldiers, doors were taken off hinges and used as stretchers. The dining room table served as a location for emergency operations and amputated limbs were piled outside the kitchen window, a pile that reach so high that it was visible from inside today. There are still visible bloodstains in various parts of the house, remnants of that painful and tragic weak.
Some believe, the stains art the homes only reminders of the past visitors have single The figures in military uniforms throughout the property, while others have her screams of pain as if someone were injured and afraid, like a dying soldier. Another place with its own connect into the battle is the Fairfield in which was already nearly a century old by the time the battle washed over the community there, some people tell stories about its use as a confederate hospital, but there's no solid proof to back up that claim. What we do know is that the property was used as the sight of a mass grave for dead confederates. As the story goes, the southern forces retreated westward at the end of the battle, a path that took them directly pass the Ass whispers rippled through the broken confederate soldiers that a physician lived in the house and, as a result, hundreds of injured stop there for help. In addition, wagons filled of corpses were guided into the yard and emptied they're, leaving the owners with over eight
hundred bodies to bury that's nearly a thousand lives that were lost, violence only to be buried with no identification or honour, far from their home and loved ones. It might have dreamed of a good death, but what they received was far worse. Today, the house seems filled echoes of that tragic past objects have been known to move on their own, such as dishes in the kitchen mysterious, sounds, are often heard throughout the house like footsteps in an empty room. Endorse have been seen to open and close on their own. Others have felt cold spots and photographed orbs, those classic visual clues. That ghost hunters look for. Most frightening of, although many visitors have claimed to see the pale figure of an older man, sometimes dressed in military uniform, is most
I'm only seen in the main floor of the dining area, a portion of the house that was built on top of the mass grave of confederate soldiers. You never speaks, but it's hard not to feel disturbed by his presence. And I could go on because there never seems to be a shortage of structures in Gettysburg. That claim a connection to the infamous battle of eighteen, sixty three and with them comes just many stories of the dead who refused to leave. In fact, I've been told that the local police there receive so many calls about unusual sightings that they have their own response code for such reports. One hundred and eighty six
three some locations in town seem to have more activity than others. It's not a competition, of course, but there is certainly a difference from one place to the next. At the top of the list, though, is a building that seems to have experienced more echoes of the past than most and if Europe, for it, I'd like to take you there It was built before the war and its story continued long after it was over the house this
and today at four o, one Baltimore Street was constructed in the early eighteen, hundreds by its original owner, a man named John Macfarlane who live there until his death. In eighteen, fifty one is death, however, would be the first of many to take place in the life of the home. He built. today, its known as the Farnsworth House in but in July of eighteen, sixty three when the army so the north and the south converged upon the community. Therein Gettysburg the house was owned by who Be Sweeney and his wife Catherine, they live there with their daughter, Elizabeth Ass, well ass in lodgers, who rented a room but when the union forces arrived, they also took on larger duties. Those union troops needed space for supplies and safe medical care and set up camp at the Baltimore three house, but after just one day of fighting, the union had lost ground and the Sweeneys home became a meeting place for the confederates. Instead infected said that southern sharpshooters,
actually fired at the northern line from within the house, literally placing part of the battle inside the Sweeney home. for three days, the Sweeneys, were forced to stay away from the house and probably wondered if they would ever get back. We can look back today that the battle would end on July. Third, but to those in the middle of it, it must have seem like a new reality with little hope. Thankfully, on July fourth, they were able to return, but it wasn't a warm welcome. According to the stories told about the House, Catherine and Elizabeth were the first to step back inside and when they did, they discover, the scene of horror and destruction. The interior of the home was in disarray, windows were broken, furniture had been destroyed and blood was everywhere, including the walls that wasn't the worst. Better. They apparently discovered a room on the second floor that was absolutely covered in blood and
They examined more closely. They noticed, drag marks that led out into the hall and then down the stairs. Knowing the red smears, they were led to the seller where they discovered a horrifying, seen the bodies of two confederate soldiers. One of which had nearly Ben decapitate. Most people have assumed that these two soldiers had been stationed in the upstairs room as sharpshooters, but had retreated after being mortally wounded, a retreat that led them to the dark silence of the house, a seller. And that same seller has been reported to be the location of a number of unusual things over the years. Some claim that an aggressive confederate spirit fills the place which some are quick to blame on the two bodies that the Sweeney women had cupboard there, but there is also a mysterious mirror down there. That seems to have a mind of its own means against one of the walls down in the cellar and while it does have a menacing appearance. Many who have spent time with it come away, feeling, threatened and oppressed. Others have
in ghostly images behind themselves, when looking into the mirror and some have even captured, mysterious shapes on film it's even been known to move overnight, as has the plain white sheet that sometimes covers it. Not the only space in the house, that's reported to be hunted, though, Stairs on the second floor is a room known today as the Sarah Black Room named after one of the previous owners of the building witnesses. Cod the visions had been so strong inside that room that they ve even been photograph from the street below. Although I haven't been able to track down images to back up that claim completely. But if you ask most people in Gettysburg today, what the most famous ghost is in entire house. Nearly everyone will agree that its Jeremy legends as the Jeremy as the ghost of a young boy who died outside in the street, due to a tragic carriage accident, the injured,
I was apparently brought inside for medical attention, but passed away before he could be saved and perhaps because of his painful death, some think the boy has simply refused to move on and find peace. Interestingly, the stories claim that the room he died and eventually became a bathroom. The bathroom. In fact, that's connected to the Sarah Black Room that I mentioned I'm gonna go. Jeremy has also been seen or felt in other parts of the house include. The seller and the kitchen. But it's one particular story that has left many people scratching their heads and if it's true it's more than a little frightening In another room in the house were, Jeremy has been known to frequent. A red wooden toy box has been kept, perhaps to let him know that he's still remember once a visitor used a recording device to listen in the room and apparently captured a small quiet voice that whispered.
Let me read box later in that same room. Another visitor became frustrated by a table lamp that kept switching on and off, despite everything they tried and making sure to press the button firmly until the light came on, it would switch back off a few minutes late, It was only after hearing what they believe to be the gentle laughter of a small child that this gas decided to see. If the lamp perhaps had a faulty cord, they approached the table one more time and then knelt to trace the cord down to the outlet where they hoped to find an answer. Instead, they discovered something that cause them to catch their breath. The lamp you see, hadn't even been plugged in.
everyone wants a good death. We envision a peaceful ending to a lifetime of challenges, enjoys proof ugly, surrounded by those who love us. It's an ideal, and thankfully many people still get to experience that in our modern world, but nothing is guaranteed. That idea of a good death wasn't new in the eighteen sixties, but it had certainly reached its peak in the site geiss TAT day. It was helped along by protestant Christianity and found a foothold. Almost everywhere, including popular literature and books on health and wellness, but the civil war offered it a new stage in the way it was handled can still be seen in the folklore surrounding battles like those at Gettysburg. The war pull people out of their comfortable plants and force them into a situation where death, always around the corner. There is fear and anxiety, but us,
a good amount of plain old coming to terms with it. All I mean you and I go through life thinking about death as a Sunday sort of thing, but the soldiers that converged on Gettysburg knew it was a lot closer than that and if it arrived the next day, it would more than likely not be a good one. War is complex. It's not a black and white issue that we can easily parse and declare fixed its messy and difficult to pin down and it's out of those complex situations that the shadows of life tend to grow tragedy, heartbreak suffering and pain. We are powerless to stop it and that can be absolutely free.
need to many people. So it's no wonder that whole forests of stories have spotted up on the battlefield. Slight gettysburg and honestly its stories like those that show us the full power of folklore in the face of lost records and destroyed, lies those stories help us keep the past alive. Are they always the most accurate? Absolutely not, but they perfectly capture the overwhelming feelings of loss and suffering that the p of Gettysburg felt stories like those about another room in the Sweeneys house. Today, it's no as the Garret room, but in eighteen sixty three, it was most likely the location those confederate sharpshooters were stationed in and where they receive their bloody injuries and for a long while guests in that room have reported unusual things and, though, speak to the tragedy of war. More than one experience from nineteen. Ninety three. According to the tail
a mother and her young son arrived to spend the weekend there, their intent on a tour, all over Gettysburg TAT first day and returned to the Farnsworth House in the evening to get ready for bed because the room didn't have its own bathroom. Each of them took turns using the one on the floor below them. First, and then her son Daniel. But while was gone. The boys mother heard him screen rush down to see if he was all right. She found him curled up on the floor outside the bathroom door crying and covering his face. Other guests arrived as well and together they all to figure out what had happened to the boy when his mother asked him what had happened, Daniel simply replied, Lud, Mommy Lud everywhere, while pointing at the door. One of the guests check the bathroom only to find that it was clean and safe with no signs of blood anywhere after apology,
into the other guests for disturbing them. The mother then led her son back upstairs where he hopefully slept well and forgot all about it, and it's easy to listen to a story like that and let logic take over. Isn't it the boy had spent all day touring civil war sites and his overactive imagination simply got the better of him filling his head with horrible vis but it's difficult to miss the coincidence of a mother and child returning home to a bloody seen, because that's exactly what happened to Catherine and Elizabeth,
Sweeney in the very same house on July. Fourth, a coincidence, because that's the same date that Daniel claim to see the very same thing, one hundred thirty years later to the day The battlefields of our world have played hosts to immeasurable pain and suffering, and few can hold the candle to the fields and streets of Gettysburg. And while I've, given you a glimpse into its shadows, there's one more story. I just half the share stick around after this brief sponsor break and I'll tell you all about it
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special offer that includes a four week: trial, free postage and a digital scale. No long term commitments or contracts just go to stamps dot. Com click on the microphone at the top of the homepage and then type in the word lure that stamps dot com offer code lure stamps dot com, never go to the post office. Again. Death is frightening, but death on a grand scale is something more complex. Yes, it's disturbing, but it's also easier to distance ourselves from it. All of that tragedy happened over there. We might say, but it didn't follow us home and get he's Burg was no exception, as I mentioned before. The loss of life during those three days of battle is a number that difficult to fight
them, but the casualties totalling over fifty thousand soldiers. More surprising, though, is the fact that, as far as we can tell only one, civilian lost their life during the conflict, meaning for one family. The war did follow them home. the Wade family had lived in Gettysburg for quite some time. Although life wasn't always the easiest, while I haven't been able to track down the father's name, we do know that he was arrested and sent to prison in eighteen, fifty four, the crime Larceny when he returned two years later, his wife took steps to protect her family from him and had him declared insane before sending him away that left MRS Wade before children to care for on her own and by all accounts she did wonderful job, we're oldest Georgia, married a union soldier in eighteen, sixty two and her yet,
your daughter, Jenny became engaged just a year later, her betrothed was actually a childhood friend named Johnson Skelly, although most people just called him Jack, but due to his active thus in the military, and seemed that their wedding would have to wait. Jack Skelly, wouldn't return now, on June, fifteenth of eighteen step three. He was mortally wounded at the battle of Winchester before being taken captive by the confederates before he passed away, though, they brought him comfort in the form of another childhood and the young man they Wesley cope on his death bed. Jack Skelly asked cop to carry a message to his true love: Jenny Wade. We don't know what that means it was, but it safe to assume it was not, unlike the countless other letters from soldiers of loved ones that have been preserved over the years. But we do know that Wesley COPE was guided home by the March of war. Just a couple of weeks later joining his regiment to fight in the battle of Gettysburg,
War had come home for a lot of people, though. As an earlier. The union and confederate forces play tug of war with the homes and businesses of the town and men of those who live, there were forced to find shelter elsewhere. Some, though, stayed neither because they wanted to help or because running, wasn't an option. It was the latter case for Wade's Georgia and her husband welcomed their first child into the world on the first day of Battle July first, and because of that they were essentially trapped at home to help them her sister Jenny end there to younger brothers, along with their mother, all converged on Georgia's house at five. Forty eight Baltimore Street it had to have been a bitter sweet time in the house. On one hand, they had the joy of a new baby to put a smile on their faces, but just now either walls, the rumble of battle, shook them to the core, reminding that, while life was precious, it was also precarious. Death could come for anyone without warning
historians no of at least one hundred fifty bullets that struck their home during the battle. Most people believe that the family would have spent their time hiding the seller. But we also know that Jenny and her mother lend their support to the union troops by making loaves of bread for them. But that of course, meant leaving the safety below in order to work in the kitchen. Above. On July. Third, Jenny was standing in her sisters, kitchen needing the dough that would be used to bake yet another batch of bread when astray shot Pierce the house, A story and say that it passed through the parlour door and the kitchen door without losing its lethal velocity. That's when it struck Jenny from behind just below her shoulder blade, allowing it to penetrate her heart. Jenny slumped into
heat, where she had stood in moments later, her mother discovered her lifeless body on the kitchen floor, there was wailing and tears, but also a rush of panic from fear that more bullets would follow the first still they managed to bring Jenny's body back down into the cellar where they would morn in the darkness by candlelight. That final message from her beloved Jack Skelly would ever reach her ear although it wouldn't have even if she had survived it, seems that less than a mile away, Jack's childhood friend, Westley CALL had also been shot and whenever the message he had been tasked with head truly been. He took with him to the grave. It said the Wesley COPE died on Cold Hill, a piece of land named after his own family, but that wasn't the only coincidence that would haunt the Wade family as they move forward into life with
Jenny. Those steps would be slow because of the battle Jenny's body had to remain in the cold, damp seller of her sisters house when it was over. They quickly buried her in the backyard in a borrowed coffin bubbly out of fear that her body with decay before a proper funeral could be planned. It wasn't it Tell January of eighteen sixty four roughly six months after her death, they descent, her and removed her remains to local graveyard, along with the proper burial service. But Jenny wasn't finished, moving but you had just a year later in eighteen, sixty five. She was moved one last time to be closer to the grave of her beloved Jack Skelly, who had been buried nearby in evergreen cemetery. Both of them had died alone, denied the good. that most people craved, but by moving her body, they would, at the very least, be near each other for eternity. One last thing.
Evergreen cemetery might be home to the tragic couple, Jenny and Jack, but it's also the sight of something else, because less than two years earlier in November of eighteen, sixty three a ceremony was held to dedicate the Gettysburg National Cemetery, which sits right beside the evergreen and to do so locals, built a platform inside evergreen cemetery, where an important dignitary would later stand
and deliver a powerful message, a message that transformed the enormous tragic loss of life into something more meaningful into a good death and the man President's Abraham, Lincoln and his message. The gettysburg address. This episode of Lore was written and produced by me, Erin Monkey with research by Taylor, Haggard Doorn and music by Chad, Lawson more
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-12.