The Farnsworth House Inn is a historic building that played a key role in the battle of Gettysburg. On the third day of the battle, Union soldiers stormed the house and killed many of the Confederate snipers who had been posted in the attack to pick off soldiers on the nearby Cemetery Hill. The confrontation led to the deaths of many of the snipers stationed inside the house. As you might expect, many of these soldiers were young men who were not even close to being ready to meet their end making them ideal candidates for lingering spirits. It is no surprise then that many of the apparitions reported here are believed to be soldiers.
Hauntings of Farnsworth House Inn
One of the most common paranormal events that has been reported at The Farnsworth House Inn is that when the property is quiet and the attic is empty, the sound of a Jew’s harp concert filters down from the attic believed to be played by the spirit of a young soldier who refuses to abandon his post even so many years after his death. It is also common for phantom footsteps to be reported on the stairs and pacing the halls. Employees often report being followed as they go about their daily duties, but whenever they turn around there is nobody in sight, despite them having heard heavy footfalls right behind them!
Guests and employees alike have caught glimpses of apparitions and shadow figures out of the corner of their eyes, especially in the dining room area. Guests also report invisible beings sitting on the edge of their beds late at night! The mattress visibly dips under the weight of a person, but nobody can be seen!
One particularly fun story surrounding the hauntings here at The Farnsworth House Inn relates to something that happened one Halloween. A local radio station was doing a special broadcast from the property, but unfortunately the phone lines went out and the crew (who were dressed in a blue uniform) had to run cables all over the house. However, the crew happened to refer to the radio station boss as Captain. The combination of this nickname and the guys in blue apparently caused some panic among the spirits of the Confederate soldiers and activity really ramped up for a little while as the ghostly soldiers once again fought to defend the building from the Union!
It is not only soldiers who are haunting The Farnsworth House Inn. There are also frequent reports of a female spirit who is thought to be the former matron of the house. She is described as being very ‘lifelike’ and is often mistaken for a living member of the staff. She is an older lady and is wearing 1800s attire. She seems to spend most of her time in the hallways between the tavern and the kitchens where she looks over the shelves at the items stored there. She has also been seen in the restaurant where she often appears quite rude or cheeky to the waiting staff. Once waitress describes an unseen force yanking on her apron strings so hard she spun around!
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The Farnsworth House Inn really makes the most of its haunted reputation with a selection of ghost tours, walks and other presentations. The East Cemetery Hill Walk covers several locations in the surrounding area including the attic of The Farnsworth House Inn, the Jennie Wade House, The Witness Tree and The Grove, which was the site of a massive Confederate offensive in July 2nd, 1863. The Confederate Hospital Walk begins in The Farnsworth House Inn’s haunted cellar which was once used as a make shift hospital during the Civil War. The route then heads into the heart of Gettysburg with stories of the various field hospitals and battle sites around town
Alternatively, you may want to take in the presentation in the Mourning Theatre at The Farnsworth House Inn. A guide will take you down to the cellar which is decorated to look like a Victorian Mourning Parlor. There you will be regaled with stories about the inn and some of the best ghost stories from around Gettysburg. There are also regular ghost hunts that take place in the inn on weekends giving you the chance to seek out the resident ghosts with the latest investigation equipment. However, we don’t think you really need to go looking for a ghostly encounter at the Farnsworth House Inn.
The Farnsworth House Inn dates back to around 1810 when it was a family home made predominantly from wood. However, in the 1830s, John McFarland added a 3.5 story brick extension to the property. Today, both of the buildings have their original walls, flooring and rafters.
The property was owned by the Sweeney family during the Civil War – and before/after. However, thanks to the strong brick structure it took the attention of the Confederate soldiers who took control of the property and positioned snipers in the attic where they could pick off Union soldiers on the nearby Cemetery Hill. During the 3 day battle that took place here the Sweeney’s took refuge elsewhere.
It was one of the snipers posted here who was responsible for killing the famous Jennie Wade with a stray bullet. Following the battle, the Union soldiers set up headquarters in the house. Eventually The Sweeny family was able to return, but they were greeted by the sight of hundreds of bullet holes in the brick work which are still visible today.
It wasn’t until the turn of the century that the house became a bed and breakfast taking advantage of the large number of tourists coming to visit Gettysburg Battlefield. It was around this time that the inn was named in honour of a Union officer, General John Farnsworth who along with more than 60 of his men perished while charging the right-hand flank of General Longsteet’s Confederate troops. The inn has added additional accommodation over the years and has proven to be very successful. This is thanks in part to the wonderful displays of Civil War memorabilia and the older rooms in the original wooden building are very historical. Of course, they also make good use of their reputation as one of the most haunted places in Gettysburg!
The Farnsworth House Inn is situated right in the heart of historic Gettysburg and is just yards from Cemetery Hill. Gettysburg Battlefield is close by and there are great public transport links to downtown Gettysburg. Guests can choose from one of the historic rooms in the main part of the house or the newer Garden Rooms in the more modern building. The inn is close to Carroll Valley Resort Golf Course and has good links to the airport.
- Free guest parking
- Free WiFi
- 2 Onsite Restaurants
- Gift Shop
- Beer Garden
- Air Conditioning
- Ticket Service
- Tour Desk
- Designated Smoking area
- Facilities for Disabled Guests
- Garden Area
- Ghost Tours
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