Antietam Battlefield Nighttime Investigation

The bloodiest day of the entire Civil War occurred on September 15, 1862 here at Antietam. Confederate General Robert E. Lee positioned his army along a ridge west of Antietam Creek. Confederate General James Longstreet commanded the line's center and right, and General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson held its left flank. Behind them a Potomac River ford allowed retreat to Virginia. On September 15th and 16th Union Gen. George B. McClellan deployed his forces east of the creek. His plan: attack Lee's left and when "matters looked favorably" attack the Confederate right. Succeeding in either he hoped to strike Lee's center. His plan was good but his instructions to commanders ambiguous. 

The 12 hour battle began at dawn, September 17th. Three morning Union attacks struck the Confederate left, north to south. Gen. Joseph Hooker's First Corps made the initial assault, followed by Gen. Joseph Mansfield's Twelfth Corps. Part of Gen. Edwin Sumner's Second Corps made the final attack. McClellan's battle broke down in uncoordinated advances.






From 6am to10am savage combat raged across the Cornfield, East Woods and West Woods. By late morning, fighting shifted towards the Confederate center (Sunken Road) in a three-hour stalemate that left the road forever known as "Bloody Lane." Most contested of the three brigades Union forces used to cross Antietam Creek was the lower. At 10am Union Gen. Ambrose Burnside's Ninth Corps began its assault on the Lower Bridge. By 1pm Federals had driven the Confederates from the bluff overlooking the creek. Over the next two hours Burnside moved his men across the bridge and deployed them. When he again advanced on the Confederate right, Gen. A.P. Hill's reinforcements, arriving in late afternoon from Harper's Ferry, stopped him. The battle ended about 6pm. The lines of battle had not shifted significantly from that morning. Of nearly 100,000 soldiers engaged in battle, about 23,000 were killed, wounded, or missing. Late on September 18th, Lee forded the Potomac to Virginia. The Union Army held the field.

Hauntings: There are a number of places on the battlefield often associated with ghosts including the Dunker Church where initially the first shots were fired from. Many EVPs have been captured and shadowy figures have been seen in the far left-had corner of this building built in 1852. Numerous reports circulate about Bloody Lane from disembodied voices, cold spots, EVPs, the sounds of cries and gunfire, strange photographs to many personal experiences from battlefield visitors.

Burnside Bridge is yet another area frequently mentioned as paranormally active. While any part of this battlefield especially places like the Cornfield and Blood Lane where vast amounts of people were killed to any of of the buildings later used as field hospitals such as the Pry House could be haunted. 



The Ghost Research Society investigated Antietam Battlefield on July 17, 2010 from 9:30pm to approximately 5:30am. Team members included: Dale Kaczmarek, Mari Bushway, Chuck & Dixie Saunders, Mary Garafolo, John Sabol and Rod Herring.








Equipment setup:  

Dunker Church: Full spectrum camera was used to monitor the Geophone and a K-II meter. Other devices employed were digital recorders, IR lamps, EM Pump and Nightshot camera. Nothing was detected on the full spectrum, Geophone or K-II meter.  

Maryland Monument: Located across the street from the Dunker Church. Mari, Rod and I conducted an EVP session there, took some digital IR pictures, regular digital and Nightshot video. Just before the session I thought I saw a chestnut colored shadow not more than 60 feet away from me move from left to right on the battlefield. Later Mari saw a darker shadow which I also thought I saw a little while later along the trail to the Visitor Center.  

West Woods: We split up into three teams and wandered the area conducting EVP and full spectrum video sessions. There were some strange flashes in the woods that I'm pretty certain weren't caused by someone else's flash unit. We all walked directly towards that area and I picked up a very strange matrixing effect on both the full spectrum camera and digital in the tree line. Later in walking back towards the parking lot, I saw a brief flash of a red light where none of our team had been. It could not have been car taillights as the woods were too thick and not facing the proper direction to see car taillights.  

North Woods: We split up into two larger groups and explored the area taking photographs using the Video Ovilus and EVP sessions. Nothing out of the ordinary was experienced here.  

Mumma Cemetery:  A static IR camera along with IR lamp, Melmeter, along with digital recorders were used in conjunction with an EVP session. Mari saw a black shadow move at the far end of the cemetery and in trying to trace down this figure, the Melmeter spiked to a .3 and then back to zero quickly. We also heard some very strange sounds and noises in the distance.  

Mumma Farm: A static IR camera and IR lamp was placed to record the front of the farm and the only original shed in the back of the house. Rod, Mari and I wandered around the back of the house conducting some EVP and taking pictures when I suddenly noticed a very dark figure quickly dart either around the building or into the side door. I couldn't be sure which. I can only hope he went around the building and was captured on the IR camera.  

Bloody Lane: A static IR camera and IR lamp along with an EM Pump was positioned at the sloop of the hill facing downwards. Mari and the ranger conducted a talking EVP session and later Rod using my authentic Civil War bullets and a musket he had brought along for trigger objects tried coaxing the spirits to come out. A Melmeter was also employed without any spikes detected and IR digital pictures were taken. The other team used a FLIR camera towards the tower area and cornfield behind.  

Burnside Bridge: Two static IR cameras, IR lamp were placed on the Confederate side of the bridge. The whole team positioned themselves in the center of the bridge for an EVP session while I videotaped, took IR digital pictures and used the Melmeter for temperature and EMF deviations.

The investigation concluded around 5:30am.


Video and audio evidence:  

Breathing.MPG sounds like breathing near the Mumma House that was picked up on the IR video camcorder.  

Bridgesplash.MPG was a splash we all clearly heard in the water by Burnside Bridge. I suppose it could be a fish, turtle or natural sound so I'm not giving it much paranormal thought at this moment.  

Crack.MPG was a sound reminiscent of a musket or gunshot in the distance that Mari, Rod and I all audibly heard while investigating Mumma Cemetery. 

Help me.MPG during an EVP session, an EVP saying, "help me" was captured.

Oddnoise.MPG was a strange sound Mari and I both audibly heard while we were at the Bloody Lane. It was captured on the audio track of the IR camcorder.  

Voice.MPG is the most interesting of the clips as it was also captured on the IR static camcorder at the Mumma House and sounds like someone saying, "Get out".  Perhaps this is a residual voice of someone telling those in the house to get out before the house was burned during the Civil War.  No one was nearby as our team was on the other side of the house and the other team was in the Mumma Cemetery. The closest person was the ranger in his car.  

Overall opinion:

This investigation was awesome and due to the small amount of people we had, contamination was minimal. I believe most had some personal experiences during the night. I know I had quite a number throughout the evening.  This battlefield definitely warrants another investigation with additional EVP sessions, trigger object sessions and minor provocations at some locations. While it would have been nice to be able to split the group to various locations on the battlefield, this could not be done due to the eventual size of the group and the rules for the investigation and safety concerns. I believe that we did encounter some minor brushes of the paranormal during our investigation of Antietam.

Ghost Research Society (
© 2010 Dale Kaczmarek. All rights reserved.
Web site created by Dale Kaczmarek