by Angela J. Townsend on 09/05/09 at 6:15 am
Is Valley Forge haunted? Witnesses claim that the old landmark is a hot spot of paranormal activity. Plenty of soldiers died while at Valley Forge, and experts say no human graves exist. But old eighteenth-century documents state otherwise. Do these shallow graves contain the bones of livestock? Or something else?
A few miles from Philadelphia Pennsylvania, Valley Forge rests in the arms of rolling hills and protective dogwood trees. At night, some have claimed to hear the strangled moans of suffering men, the clink of an empty kettle and even the soft murmur of a soldier tending to his bleeding feet.
The only battles fought at Valley Forge between December of 1777 to June of 1778 were against the elements. Men marched until their boots fell apart, leaving only strips of cloth in which to cover their freezing feet. Thin slats of wood protruding from walls of damp and dirty cabins served as crude beds.
Shortages of supplies forced soldiers to forage for food in the nearby wilderness and farm lands. Others resorted to drastic measures, making soup from burned leaves and eating leather from what remained of their footwear.
Many became ill and thousands were declared unfit for service. Typhoid, dysentery, and other diseases killed over 2,000 men. General Washington pleaded repeatedly for Congress to help. But help wasn’t available and the soldiers continued to die.
Some claim that the suffering was so horrific at Valley Forge, a supernatural impression has been burned into the very soil. Many people also claim to hear the cries of disembodied voices, the haunting sound of a flute and the shuffle of weary men marching into camp at night. Some have even witnessed floating apparitions or spirits entering the makeshift cabins at night and the toll of a phantom drum.
George Washington himself, claimed to be visited by spirits at Valley Forge. Specters, that showed him visions of a future America and relayed messages of hope.
Experts agree that no graves exist at Valley Forge. But some eighteenth-century documents do reveal references to burials at Valley Forge even though no graves have been uncovered. Some experts insist that the only possible graves at Valley Forge are for the bones of animals slaughtered for rations.
A local legend says that on stormy nights, ghostly campfires and phantoms soldiers gather around the hillsides. So if you happen to visit Valley Forge, and see a guide or park visitor dressed as a soldier, don’t assume that they are part of a re-enactment. They just might be a ghost.