Though most people know of the Battle of Gettysburg, most only think of the open battlefields and certain famous events such as Pickettes Charge. Most people do not realize that from July 1st through July 3rd of 1863, fighting raged through the very streets and homes of the town. With many of the able-bodied men off fighting in the Union Army, most of the remaining residents were left with no choice but to take to the safety of their basements and hide during the battles, often coming upstairs afterwards to find wounded and dead soldiers in the streets, inside their homes and even in their beds.
During the battle, the house at 231 Baltimore Street was residence and office to Dr. John Runkel, his second wife Elmira and his daughter, Annie. They, like most others, took refuge in the basement of the home for the 3 days of battle and emerged to the carnage surrounding and throughout their town. Though Dr. Runkel had long since stopped practicing medicine actively, being a doctor surrounded by an estimated 46,000 to 51,000 casualties it is easy to see that his skills were in high demand. Though no official records of Dr. Runkel assisting in the war have been found, the double arched doorway to his office and exam area tells another story. It was commonly known that doors were often used as makeshift stretchers for the wounded and while one door has never been found, the other door was recovered and blood stains were revealed with the use of a black light.
After the death of Dr. Runkel on April 19th 1880, Elmira completed her mourning period in the home before leaving his daughter Annie to stay alone in the house until it was sold in 1912. The next owners were Dr. Diehl and his wife Harriet. Dr. Diehl was a physician and the city coroner. Dr. Diehl lived here while the Spanish Influenza claimed the lives of 200 residents and soldiers in nearby Camp Colt. Since then the building has been a boarding house through the Great Depression and set up as apartments through the mid 1980’s. On March 2010, the International Museum of Spiritual Investigation opened its doors to the public, located on the first floor and basement of this very active and historical house.
For more information about 231 Baltimore Street including a more complete history of the house and surrounding area, newspaper articles and the residents, past and present, both living and departed, please visit the I.M.S.I website and ask about the history that is soon to be published.
Investigation date: 7/20/12
Investigators: Mark, Terri, Irvin and Sara Final Report: Irvin
Equipment: 2-K2 meters, Mel meter w/rem, 2 motion sensors, 2 still camera’s , 1 Sony handicam in night shot mode, 1 full spectrum camcorder, Ovilus X w/dtd, digital recorders, IR still camera.
Temp: 70° to 75°-first floor/ 68°-basement EMF: within limits <1.0
Video: 2.0 hours recorded Ir stills: 32 Photos: 227
The investigation began after a tour of the location at about 10 p.m. Investigator Sara and myself took baselines throughout the location as Mark and Terri took baseline photo's and set up equipment. Set up included video cameras in the Residual (front) room and Time Slip room/ hallway, motion detectors in hallway and Time Slip room, digital recorder in Time Slip room and office. Base of operations was set up in the frat (rear) room.
I first noticed paranoia and body responses in the bathroom during the tour, so that was the first place Sara and I investigated. During our investigation of the bathroom, Sara began to feel a chill and displayed her left arm, showing that it was specifically chilled and had goose bumps. We left the bathroom and went to the residual room, at which point Sara said her arm felt like "it was on fire." An examination of her arm revealed a welt approximately 4 inches long which grew in brightness and definition under investigation. Sara said she did not bump or scratch her arm on anything and that was the location from which the burning sensation was emanating. I was with Sara the entire time and did not observe her arm coming in contact with anything. She was also wearing long sleeves and there was no sleeve damage.
Scratch on arm
Later, Mark and I were investigating unusually high EMF readings in the Time Room on the map wall and decided to see if they were coming from the basement below. During the investigation of the basement, Mark reports that he saw a black mass moving to his left, which would have put it a couple feet beyond the base of the basement steps. With no other activity forthcoming we took our investigation back upstairs.
During an investigation of the Time Room, Sara noticed an unusual scent. This scent was tracked back to a candle on the far side of the room, but there was no indication as to why the scent would come and go. It only wafted through the room briefly twice. On the second occasion I noticed it as well.
During this time the team conducted EVP sessions and took K2 readings in the room. There was no activity until Mark decided to try environmental cues by playing "Dixie" and "The Battle hymn of the Republic", songs closely identified with the South and North, respectively, during the Civil War. The K2 meter began to spike in an unusual way, only increasing when level and decreasing when turned at a 90 degree angle. In case of malfunction, another K2 meter was brought in and behaved the same way. The high EMF field moved from the closet area, across a table to the map wall. At this point the high EMF field appeared to be generally centered on the portion of a map of the United States and then only on the southern states that would have been involved with the Civil War.
No other potentially paranormal events were detected that night.