by Tony Harrington
War is ugly. That is a stone cold truth that has been etched into countless textbooks, film, newspapers and other social media throughout time. Even cave drawings from before when man walked completely upright show opposing tribes locked in bloody combat.
We go to war for many reasons: to protect our freedoms, to help our allies, to liberate foreign nations under oppressive regime rule, and many other reasons.
Is it therefore appropriate that some of the most haunted spots in America and abroad are the battlefields where so many young men and women lost their lives? The supernatural and war have long been intertwined and it is easy to understand why. When someone loses their life suddenly and in terrifying conditions it makes sense to think that they would stick around. Either because they do not know they are dead, they feel they have unfinished business (to get back home to their loved ones perhaps), or because they are angry and stick around out of spite to terrorize the living as a penance for our actions of participating in the war that cost the spirit its life.
Gettysburg, PA claims to be the most haunted city in America. Having visited there myself I can not say for certain that this claim is valid. There are a lot of old homes and businesses with bullet holes in them and massive graves of fallen soldiers, many unidentified. As you walk the battlefields and through the streets of the city you are reminded by the constant flow of motor vehicles pumping loud music and the sounds of college kids screaming out their windows not to believe the stories of ghosts and hauntings being told by your tour guide that this is a modern town that happens to have historical value. There is a conflict raging today in the streets of Gettysburg between what once was and what is threatening to be.
Regardless of the naysayers, one must draw their own conclusions, even if you do not see the spirit of Jennie Wade or the apparitions of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who lost their life, it is impossible not to feel the heavy pall in the air as you recognize that the ground on which your feet are planted once flowed red with the blood of the dead and dying.
But I digress, this story is not solely about Gettysburg and the ghosts of the past. It is about something more shocking and surreal. This article tells the stories about the role the supernatural and paranormal played in shaping wars.
This story is hotly debated as there is no direct written account by the President himself, but stories from his advisors and close friends. This particular instance does not deal with shaping a war as much as it puts a final nail in the coffin of the most tragic war in U.S. History.
It was April 9, 1865 when Confederate commander Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House signifying the end of the civil conflict. Though the war had come to an end smaller skirmishes still carried out and a plan was put into place by a band of Confederate sympathizers to assassinate the President.
Lincoln would ultimately meet his fate at the hands of an assassin’s bullet while attending a play at Ford’s Theater. He was shot and killed on April 14th, 1865, but just ten days prior while the country was still at war he made the following statement, an eerie premonition that came true.
“About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. ‘Who is dead in the White House?’ I demanded of one of the soldiers, ‘The President,’ was his answer; ‘he was killed by an assassin.’ Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since.”
An intriguing footnote in US History related to two presidents who were assassinated 100 years apart shows that history repeats itself with almost supernatural precision. I submit, for your consideration the strange case of the Lincoln/Kennedy Parallels
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.
Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.
The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.
Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost children while living in the White House.
Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head.
Lincoln’s secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy’s secretary was named Lincoln.
Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners.
Both successors were named Johnson.
Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.
John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.
Both assassins were known by their three names.
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.
Lincoln was shot at the theater named “Ford’s”.
Kennedy was shot in a car called “Lincoln – made by Ford Motor Co”.
Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse.
Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.
Both John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald were assassinated before their trials.
The rise of the Nazi regime which led to the occupation of several countries and the extraction and eradication of countless Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, aged, disabled and children did not happen by accident. It was a calculated move by the leader of the regime Adolf Hitler.
Hitler grew to power in an almost seemingly divine manner and by all accounts it never should have happened. He was short, unimpressive in looks and composure but he did have charisma and that trait coupled with the ability to stir pride within a people who were devastated after the events of World War I got the German people listening. This little man with a skill for public speaking rocketed to icon status after he was arrested for his failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch.
The rise of the Nazi party culminated from a collection of existing occult groups that sprang up in Europe in the late 19th century as a result of advances in materialism and technology of the day. The groups spoke of a new age and the coming of a new messiah that would save Germany. A youthful Hitler was inspired by these tales and began to believe that he was the one prophesied, and a chance encounter with The Spear of Destiny all but sealed the notion. The spear was part of the Hofberg library in Vienna. Hitler overheard a tour guide describe the spear by claiming “This spear is shrouded in mystery; whoever unlocks its secrets will rule the world”A witness to a young twenty-something Hitler’s meeting with the Spear of Destiny describes the change in the soon to be ruthless dictator of the German people.
“Adolf Hitler stood like a man in a trance, a man over whom some dreadful magic spell had been cast…he was swaying on his feet as though caught up in some totally inexplicable euphoria. His entire physiognomy and stance had transformed as though some mighty spirit now inhabited his soul, creating within and around him a kind of evil transformation of its own nature and power.” -Dr. Walter Stein
Hitlers obsession with the dark arts only continued. With his messiah status all but sealed he set about trying to perfect alchemy (the turning of lead into gold). He also came to believe that Germany could be elevated by creating a race of super-beings, the next step in the evolution of man. He saw this race as fair-haired and blue-eyed, the supreme race gifted with strength, will and resolve. He authorized countless tests to be performed on twins, convinced these anomalies of the human race held the key to evolution locked in their brains.
Hitler and his henchmen held secret meetings that borrowed heavily from the masons, the Thule society and a variety of other brotherhoods masked in rituals, sacrifice and conjuring of the spirits.
When one makes deals with the devil it comes at a cost. The rise to power typically means that the way down is a long way to fall and ultimately Hitler ended up taking his own life rather than face a tribunal for his crimes. Hitler’s control over the dark forces of the occult was most impressive as evidenced by his followers belief that he was indeed the chosen one. Joachim Von Ribbentrop said at the Nuremberg trials of his former leader: “Even with all I know, if in this cell Hitler should come to me and say ‘Do this!’, I would still do it.”
Many Americans believe General George Patton to be the finest example of military leadership in the history of the armed forces. What made him such an effective leader? Other than his ability to incite pride and valor and deliver soul-stirring speeches that could rally the fighting forces of the USA he was a dynamic military force. He knew his enemies, he was brilliant at establishing offensive and defensive maneuvers. Some say that he had more than a lifetime of experience in combat and he would most likely agree.
Patton believed in reincarnation and believed that he had lived previously as a Carthaginian and even as Napoleon himself. He wrote poetry speaking of his past lives as soldiers in many wars and the experiences he brought with him from life to life:
“Through the travail of the ages,
Midst the pomp and toil of war,
Have I fought and strove and perished,
Countless times upon this star.
So as through a glass, and darkly
The age-long strife I see
Where I fought in many guises,
Many names, – but always me.” -George S. Patton
Psychics and Remote Viewing (The Stargate Project)
It sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but the fact that it exists and has been admitted by the government is an amazing thing in and of itself. I am talking about “The Stargate Project” and other remote viewing projects used during wars. Fully sanctioned and government-funded programs designed so that psychics could remotely view enemy strongholds, targets and other data during the time of war. That’s correct, the government had and still has psychics in their employ. This section is a bit convoluted and the vast history of the programs which ultimately inspired the book and film “The Men Who Stare at Goats”can get muddled. Rather than put research into my own words, I will allow the kind people at Wikipedia to speak on my behalf. Click here to read all about remote viewing and how it shaped the theater of war.
These are just a few examples of how war and the supernatural are intricately tied. The point of the article is not to imply that the paranormal/supernatural and war are mutually exclusive, it just goes to show that even in the most brutal of times there is still a fascination with the things we can’t understand or fully grasp. Sometimes the desire to understand topics beyond our scope of comprehension can lead us to do horrible things or it can lead to great or just slightly odd things. Regardless of the outcome of each example above, the very presence of the supernatural in times of war is unique.