This unassuming field in southeastern Pennsylvania is actually the site of the 9th bloodiest battle of the Revolutionary War, and there’s a mass grave on the site to prove it.
Around midnight on the night of September 20th, 1777 and into the early hours of the 21st, the British attacked the Continental troops who were camped at the farmland location. Fencing surrounded the campsite, and it ended up playing a critical role in the number of fatalities. Washington had ordered that troops were not to destroy personal property of those who lived on the land, so when a canon broke down in an opening in the fence line during the retreat, it trapped the men inside and hindered their ability to quickly exit the area.
The next morning, the soil was stained red and the smell of death polluted the air. Where the canon had broken down, 52 bodies lay motionless, bloodstained and mutilated from battle. It was on this very location that a mass grave was dug for the men, and a monument was erected in their honor. The battle later became known as the “Paoli Massacre.”
But there were actually 53 American fatalities that night. Somewhere along the tree line lay another body, and it was decided he would remain where he fell. Although it is unclear exactly where this grave was dug, it is believed he has made his presence known during investigations of the site. Strange orbs can be seen in the forest along the field, and the feeling of not being alone in certain areas can be felt.
Through the use of spirit boxes, dowsing rods, voice recorders, cameras, and good-old sensory perception, there have been numerous times when spirits have actually communicated with the living at the battlefield site. One example follows, which was conveyed Kelly Schmitt, a member of the Malvern Paranormal Society, on one occasion she was using dowsing rods:
Question: Are there British here?
Question: Are there Continental Soldiers here?
(Addressed to the Continental Soldiers) Do you know you can move on?
(Addressed to the Continental Soldiers) Do you want to move on?
(Addressed to the Continental Soldiers) Are you going to move on?
(Addressed to the British Soldiers) Do you want to move on?
Based on this conversation, Kelly said she concluded that the Continental Soldiers were willing to stay and fulfill their duty to fight the British so long as the British remained there.
The Paoli Battlefield Preservation Fund holds ghost hunts twice a year at the location (May & October). For more information, visit their website.
Paoli Battlefield | Monument & Wayne Avenues, Malvern, PA 19355