In July of 2017, We traveled to the Antietam Battlefield and came across this hidden gem off the beaten bath so to speak. The Pry House, which during the battle was General McClellan's Headquarters, but is now a Civil War Medical Museum.
After traveling through the Antietam Battlefields, we went off course a little bit to a field hospital. Homes (or buildings) being used as field hospitals is not uncommon throughout the south and locations that saw several battles during the civil war, but the Pry Field Hospital was one of those hidden gems that Marianne found while doing some research before the trip.
It was an extremely hot that day, again not unusual for July in the southern states, but the temperature was pushing 95 with a heat index of over 100. As we ventured out towards the hospital, we almost drove by it, since it sits back a ways form the road.
In fact, as you drive back towards the house, you start to get this creepy feeling as if you were being watched or maybe you are trespassing on someone's property and shouldn’t be there. This is probably the same feeling that the Union troops felt as they approached the house to take it over for the headquarters of General McClellan.
We really did not know what to expect as when we pulled up to the house, there was nobody else around. We were not even sure the place was open since it looked as if it was all locked up at the time. The house sits on top of a rather large hill far from the driveway (and parking in front of the barn). We started walking towards the house and noticed the sign with the hours of operation, I checked my watch, and we were definitely within the posted time frame.
As we approached the house, it was hard to determine how to get into it. The walkway leading up to the front porch was quite steep and there was a picket fence that was closed, as if it was blocking off that walk way.
When we got up the hill a little farther, we notice what used to be a driveway or buggy path that wrapped around the far side of the house towards the back, so we continued to walk up that slower grade around the house. Again, did I mention how hot it was outside? That added grade of the hill didn’t help matters.
After getting to the far side of the house, there was a posted sign pointing to go farther towards the back of the house, and around even more.
Marianne walked up to the doors in the back and tried to open them. They appeared to be locked, so we continued walking around towards the front of the house again, Someone yelled down from the second floor and said that we were right with the doors that she tried to open. This time, when she went to open them, they were unlocked. Yet the only person in the house was the docent who was upstairs.
Before stopping at this location, we broke one of our rules and did not really perform much research on the location, so we were not familiar with the paranormal claims or even the history of the place until we go there and took the tour. All we knew was it was a field hospital. I won’t go into too much details about the history and things of that nature, you can read about that on the Location Page for this house and property; however, I will tell you this. One of the reported claims was that doors would shut and lock on their own. Now that we are aware of that claim, we believe that we experienced that, and will be adding it as evidence to the location.
Marianne started her recorder when she got out of the car, and we listened to the time it took from when she first tried the door, until the yelling down from the second floor, to her opening the door. It was 8 seconds, and as we were walking in the building, the docent was coming down the stairs. He couldn’t of unlocked the door.
Now, he did tell us, oh that door sticks sometimes. Well, those of you who know my wife can contest… if the door was locked, it was locked. She wanted to get into the building to see the medical items badly.
The above photo is our best shot of those doors. If you look at the door that is on the bottom floor, next to the window on the right, that is the door that first appeared to be locked, and then magically opened.
Once inside (and in the air condition), we relaxed a bit as our tour guide walked us through the house on our private tour. Again, we were not aware of all of the paranormal claims, but Marianne had her recorder running and was snapping off pictures like the professional forensic photographer (not her profession, but she acts like one) that she plays when we go on these trips. In fact we have over 100 photos just from this location. She can see there all here.
Each room of the house is setup with a different theme dedicated to Civil War medicine, with different instruments that was used (or developed), and there were a few things that once belonged to the Pry Family. Later, while researching the house, we found out that these Pry items were donated to the museum by decedents of the Pry’s, which was neat to see these items returned since the house was gutted by fire in 1976.
One thing to point out here… The house was renovated and restored, then changed into a museum, and those of you who study the paranormal know, this is great fuel for the attraction of paranormal activity.
In fact, one of the claims that we discovered was a recurring claim that began during the fire. It turns out that firefighters witnessed a women in period clothing standing and looking out the window on the second floor. Later they discovered, that couldn’t of happened since there was nobody in the house, and the second floor had already collapsed.
Later on, workers who were commissioned to work on the house witnessed the same thing. Problem was, the floor was not put back yet.
On another occasion, the curator’s son witnessed a woman in period clothing, walking through a room upstairs, then she disappeared into a wall. He later asked his dad who the woman was and how she did that.
This is the room (above photo) were the woman has been seen the most. Most believe it is the wife of General Richardson who died in this room. Mrs. Richardson traveled from Michigan to this location to be with her husband while we was recovering in the room. He later died.
As we were leaving the location, we were told that the barn was also used as a field hospital and that there was an authentic ambulance carriage out in the barn. Of course we had to stop in there and take a look.
During our research, we found that there were paranormal claims within the barn as well. There have been strange lights reported at night, voices have been heard, and singing has been heard coming from the barn too. If we were aware of this, we would of conducted a more thorough EVP session while out in the barn.
Maybe next time.
As of the time of this writing, we have not found any audible evidence yet on Marianne’s recordings. We have listened to it only once so far, but plan on going back over it again. We will post updates if we find anything
Find out more about Shawn and Marianne Donley on our About Page.