- Religion and Philosophy
The Ghosts of Fort Mifflin
Is Fort Mifflin Haunted?
Fort Mifflin is known as the Fort that Saved America. This is a very deserving title. It was built by the British in 1771 and is the site of the largest bombardment the North American continent had ever witnessed. It held off the British just long enough for General George Washington to make his way to Valley Forge. Some say that had this had never happened we would all be speaking the King's English. It was a bloody battle to say the least. Thousands of cannonballs bombarded the Fort over a 5-day period. Many gave their lives to defend this country but in the end the British eventually seized the Fort.
So having been your typical bloody battle, as a paranormal researcher it is my job to see if ghosts exist in a place where death was frequent and in abundance. It is also my job to sort out the stories and urban legend that have been passed through the lines over the years. Fort Mifflin has many of them.
The first one I am going to tell you about is the story of the "Screaming Woman". She does have a name and it is Elizabeth Pratt. Or is it? I will give more on her identity in a minute. Ok the story goes (inhales deeply) Elizabeth lived in the Officer's quarters with her husband and family. He daughter wanted to marry an enlisted man, which at the time was considered marrying down. Mother and daughter fought, daughter eventually dies of typhoid fever (rumored), and mother is distraught having never reconciled with and hangs herself over the second floor railing of the balcony. Of course screaming to her death over the loss of her daughter. (Exhales last bit of breath) Sounds like a typical ghost story? Now there have been many claims by staff and guests that they have heard a women screaming. Even the skeptical current caretaker has experienced this event first hand with no explanation. The Philadelphia Police have been called out to the location in fear that a murder was being committed because reports of a women screaming had been called in. When they show up and find nothing they leave scratching their heads and possibly thinking that it may have been a prank call. Was it the ghost of Elizabeth? Someday someone will be able to answer that question. Now I mentioned before that her name might not be Elizabeth Pratt. This is the name that has been used to tell this story for many years. Some recent information has been brought to the forefront about the facts of these stories and I believe they are being published in a book that came out later. So it is likely that her name is not Elizabeth Pratt but the story of the screaming woman still exists.
So have I ever experienced the "Screaming Woman"? I've investigated the Fort plenty of times, too many to count in fact, and I have yet to experience that actual screaming. I've had some personal experiences up in her room and I have captured some audio evidence to support my experiences. Does she really exist though? As a paranormal researcher the only way to answer that question is by doing more research. Sorry to be so inclusive. It's best to form your own opinions anyway. It's more fun.
Moving on to our next ghost, the Blacksmith. Almost in the middle of the Fort sits the Blacksmith's shop. Jacob was the Blacksmith. He was known for always getting in trouble for wanted to keep the door open. This was against his Commandants orders. I know I'd want to keep the doors open in such a small shop working with such intense heat. It is said that his spirit still haunts the shop. There have been numerous problems with keeping the door shut. To this day it is still a mystery.
Probably one of the most famous ghosts at the Fort is the spirit that haunts Casemate 5. This story has changed quite a bit over the years as well. It was originally thought that the faceless ghost seen in this area was William Howe. William Howe was a deserter of the civil war and was eventually convicted of murder. He was the only person ever hung at the Fort. Recently a new underground casemate was discovered. This underground find resembled what looked to be a jail cell. William Howe's signature was found written on the wall in one of the cells. So is it Billy that haunts Casemate 5? Who knows? He was held in that Casemate for a little bit of time but did he stay around to haunt it? There is some spirit energy in there and supposedly he isn't too found of painted blondes.
There are some other miscellaneous spirits that roam around the Fort as well. These are just some of the main stories. Having been to the Fort countless times to investigate and to volunteer I have had too many unexplained personal experiences for me to say that it something isn't going on there. I am a hardcore skeptic when it comes to this field. I am constantly pushing myself to seek the truth and find explanations behind hauntings. I use a lot of scientific equipment as well. It is in my strong opinion that Fort Mifflin, The Fort that Saved America is indeed haunted.