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Marketing Approach: Funnel or Circle?

Karon Thackston discusses the idea of authors creating a marketing circle rather than the traditional funnel approach. I have to agree that keeping my readers informed and engaged is a top priority, but easier said than done!

An Industry Pining for Bookstores | The Scholarly Kitchen

As brick and mortar book stores disappear, how does one “discover” new titles? Once discovered, what motivates the consumer to choose print or digital? Can we really blame Amazon, or are they just at the right place at the right time?

I do have to disagree with one of Mr. Esposito’s conclusions: I write because I have to and would do so even if my books didn’t generate any revenue!

An Industry Pining for Bookstores | The Scholarly Kitchen.

How the Best – Top 100 Global Brands use YouTube for Marketing

YouTube is an area of social media that I find the most challenging: when to use it, how to use it, and what level of professional videography is required? According to this article by Chris Atkinson, I may have been over thinking it!

How the Best – Top 100 Global Brands use YouTube for Marketing.

Why Wall Street Should Care About Marketing Data – Russell Glass – Voices – AllThingsD

Do I really want ads that are specifically targeted to me based on my past behavior? Call me old fashioned, but I prefer to decide what I need or want!

Why Wall Street Should Care About Marketing Data – Russell Glass – Voices – AllThingsD.

Dowsing the Dead

I ran across a clipping in my archives (read: piles of paper on one of my many “desks” at home) reprinted in the Gettysburg Times by Tony Gonzalez of The Tennessean titled, “Historians use divining rods to find old cemeteries.”

Now, the historians I know are probably going crazy right now. Dowsing falls in the category of the paranormal which, to them, has no place in providing information from the past. The problem for me is that I’ve seen too many times when the documented history has validated paranormally obtained information.

Like the time in the Gettysburg Hotel when Laine Crosby, an Investigative Medium, was “communicating” with a man she said had worked in the hotel when it was a bank. However, she saw him in the blue uniform of a Union soldier and he said that he was from Gettysburg. I told her, indeed, there was a unit that fought at Gettysburg that had been recruited in Adams County, of which Gettysburg is the seat. I asked could she ask him his name. Hesitatingly, as if listening to something that was hard to discern, she said “Cul…bert…son. I don’t know if that’s his whole name or if he’s telling me he’s Culbert’s son.”

Later research confirmed there was a Culbertson who fought with the unit. Skeptics will say she looked it up ahead of time, but from her reaction when we were talking, I’m convinced she didn’t even know there was a unit from Gettysburg. Later, she came up with the name again, while visiting the David Stewart Farm outside of Gettysburg. The Civil War era Culbertson never lived there, but the family later bought the place, and it was a WW II era Culbertson that was communicating with her. This was all confirmed later by the current owner who had the deeds and records of the farm.

As far as dowsing is concerned, I have had several personal experiences that convinced me that something is going on that can’t be explained.

My first experience was with the late Cecil Downing, a soft-spoken, unassuming man who had discovered several hundred wells for people all over the state of Pennsylvania. He dowsed a site on the battlefield known for its numerous camera fails. As he walked with his forked plastic rod, it would dip suddenly toward the ground. He spent well over an hour walking back and forth and determined there were “ley lines”—lines of energy—radiating from one specific area. It was his contention that spirits could travel more easily along these naturally-occurring paths of energy.

It made sense to me. I have the theory that ghosts are “energy thieves.” Since they cannot create their own energy by eating (like living beings create their energy) they have to get it from somewhere, like batteries, natural sources, or living human beings.

My second experience in dowsing was with my wife Carol. Keep in mind she was a biology major in college, in retail for a while and finally ended up in computers. Needless to say, she has a scientific, inquisitive, analytical mind. So when she first picked up dowsing rods, it was with a heavy dose of skepticism.

We were in an abandoned churchyard near Bowling Green, VA. We were told there were emptied graves nearby.  It was fall and the leaves lay in an even carpet through the woods. Carol began walking with the copper rods—two wires bent at a 90 degree angle inserted into a sleeve so they would turn freely. As she walked along, the rods began to cross. She then stepped into a depression which was once a former grave. She backed out of the depression, and the rods uncrossed. This happened several times during the session.

Also sometime in the fall, again with leaves obscuring any depressions in the ground, we were at one of the temporary cemeteries established after the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. These graves, too, had been emptied years before, the bodies taken to the Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Again, as Carol walked along, the rods began to cross, then she stepped into a depression. She back out, and the rods uncrossed.

Finally, for my book, Civil War Ghost Trails we were conducting a “mini-investigation” at Shiloh Battlefield in Tennessee. I was using a recorder to get EVP. We had heard that after the battle, there were so many Confederate dead that they were forced to bury them in mass graves. The Park Service knows that there were eleven or twelve mass graves, but the 19th Century commission could only locate five. Carol, using her dowsing rods, with me video recording the event, tested the ability of the rods to find graves over a known mass grave. Indeed, they reacted. Carol then moved behind the site and the rods began to react again. Individual graves now lost? Possibly.

Writing Blood and Ghosts with Katherine Ramsland and working with Gregg McCrary, former FBI profiler taught me that investigators should not rule out any method that leads to clues or evidence. In conversation, Gregg said, “Whatever works.” Perhaps historians’ and other investigators’ concerns about obtaining evidence paranormally can be summed up by one of the historians working in Tennessee to locate graves with dowsing rods before they are destroyed by modern development: “I can dowse, but I do not trust this method. It can’t be explained why it works.”

But it does work.

Mark Nesbitt Ghosts of Gettysburg Quote

Gettysburg at 150: The Show’s Over, The Ghosts Remain – Paul Greenberg – Page full

I might not agree with all the facts Mr. Greenberg included in his article, but I like his approach to the epic event that the Battle of Gettysburg represents.

Gettysburg at 150: The Show’s Over, The Ghosts Remain – Paul Greenberg – Page full.

July 9 Gettysburg Campaign: The Aftermath

The armies left Gettysburg—or what is left of the armies. One third of the soldiers who marched into the Battle of Gettysburg did not march out. They lay dead, dying, wounded or are “missing,” throughout the fields and town.

First, the wounded.  If they couldn’t walk because of the nature of their wounds or there was no kind-hearted soul to help them, or if the combatants retreated from the area where they fell, the wounded lay suffering in the hot sun or pouring rain, sometimes unable to reach their canteen or food. If they were mobile or helped along, they would somehow make their way to an aid station (sometimes just a shady area in the rear of the battle lines) or field hospital (often a nearby farm house or barn) to be treated.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, the field of antiseptics was not explored until the late 1860s, so successful treatment by a surgeon didn’t mean the wounded man was out of the woods. Gangrene often set in and the soldier might suddenly die two weeks into his recovery.

As the July days went on in Gettysburg, those few left behind to administer to the wounded realized the logistics of feeding and supplying the wounded scattered all over the battlefield in barns, farmhouses and private homes was a near impossible task. So by July 20, Camp Letterman General Hospital was established about a mile out on the York Road for the 4,217 wounded that remained. According to Greg Coco in A Vast Sea of Misery, by July 25, 16,125 wounded had been transported out of Gettysburg.

The spot chosen was part of the farm of George Wolf called “Wolf’s Woods,” had abundant water supplies, and was where the railroad paralleled the York Road for easy transport of the wounded to the railroad cars. Ironically, it had been a favorite picnic spot for the locals. Deaths continued, however, even under the better conditions of the general hospital, so in the compound was a structure known as “The Dead House” and a graveyard. In late November Camp Letterman was closed.

What of the dead? Hardly anyone realizes that virtually every soldier who died at Gettysburg was buried twice.

First they were interred where they were killed on the battlefield, sometimes by comrades, sometimes by local farmers who couldn’t stand the stench. If they were buried in a farmer’s cow pasture, it is easy to see how a wooden headboard with identifying information could be knocked over and the gravesite trampled so that within a year the site would disappear.

As the post-battle rains came and the bodies bloated in decomposition, the women of Gettysburg might look out their kitchen window some morning and see an arm or head emerging from the earth. Horrified, they would tell their husbands to do something. They would contact their political representatives. It got so bad that word reached Andrew Curtin, wartime governor of Pennsylvania, and he assigned the duty of purchasing acreage for an official cemetery for the reburial of the dead to local Gettysburg attorney David Wills (of the Wills House on the Gettysburg Square).

Wills purchased 17 acres on Cemetery Hill, right next to the citizens’ Evergreen Cemetery and, appropriately, a major battlefield landmark. Soon after, exhumations from the battlefields, transportation of the bodies and re-burial in the new cemetery began.

Re-burials were halted in November 1863 while President Abraham Lincoln dedicated the new Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg. Burial crews were still working in the spring of 1864.

But the soldiers buried in the National Cemetery were only the Union soldiers. What happened to the Confederates?

Being the “enemy,” the Confederates remained buried on the battlefield until various “Ladies Memorial Associations” from the South contacted some Gettysburgians who had been instrumental in the Union re-burials. Dr. Rufus Weaver, son of Samuel Weaver who oversaw the Union re-burials, was contracted. He halted his successful college teaching career at a medical college in Philadelphia and worked from 1871 to 1873 at disinterring 3,320 Confederate remains, shipping them to major cities in the South such as Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA, Raleigh, NC, and Richmond, VA. Weaver, per his contract, was owed $9,536.00 for the work. Although he tried to collect until 1887, he was never paid.

When I was a park ranger visitors would ask “Did they get all the dead?” We asked our bosses what we should say and they said to tell them all the bodies were removed. Whether they truly didn’t know for sure or whether they were trying to keep visitors from digging on the park I don’t know. Later studies confirmed that many, many bodies remain unaccounted for. As well as hundreds of Union soldiers, Greg Coco estimated as many as 1,500 individual Confederates remain unrecovered. The most recent remains were found near the Railroad Cut in 1996.

Mark Nesbitt Ghosts of Gettysburg Quote

July 4 Gettysburg Campaign: Worst 4th of July Ever

Happy 4th of July…2013.

I can assure you, your Independence Day is going far better than the July 4th spent by the soldiers who had just fought the battle, their relatives, and the townspeople of Gettysburg in 1863.

I was pleased to hear Superintendent Bob Kirby, in his opening remarks for the commemoration ceremonies, use the same figures for troop strengths and casualties that we had used in the Park Service in the 1970s. The most horrific of all, of course, is the figure of 51,000 casualties.

That’s not the number of dead, but of killed plus wounded plus missing or captured. And it does represent both sides. The numbers are almost beyond comprehension. But keep this in mind: The next time you visit or see Yankee Stadium on TV, it holds about 52,000. Imagine all those people, helpless, thirsty, hungry, bleeding, in need of medical care, lying in the fields or strewn through the small town of Gettysburg  with a population of 2,400. There were about 400 buildings in the town (200 of which still stand) and about 700 structures in the area, including barns, farmhouses and outbuildings. Not all the outbuildings were used as hospitals, nor were some of the houses in town, so the ones that were used filled to overflowing with the broken bodies of men and boys.

Some observers of these buildings from a distance were struck by the odd “pyramids” below the ground floor windows, then horrified when they got closer and saw they were piles of bloody hands, arms, feet and legs amputated and tossed out by harried surgeons working non-stop.

Then there were the dead. The “optics” were something that would make the worst modern 3-D movie pale in comparison. Men, or what appeared to once have been men, were eviscerated, headless, torso-less, limbless. Bits and pieces of humans were tossed about the farmers’ fields gathering flies, waiting for some unfortunate to pick them up.

The smells were probably the worst, and the least mentioned in the histories. One hundred eighty thousand men (probably more), some with acute diarrhea from lousy food, water, and just plain fear, did not observe the niceties of Victorian Society. Who was going to run across a bullet-swept yard to use the outhouse when there was a nice chimney corner two feet away? Multiply that 180,000 by two or three times a day for four days and that’s just one of the smells permeating the town.

Then there were the horses. Ninety thousand horses were used by the armies. A horse produces about 10 pounds of manure per day. That’s 900,000 pounds of manure per day, or 2,700,000 pounds for three days—and 3,600,000 pounds if you include the Glorious Fourth.

And of those 90,000 horses, some 5,000 were killed. After they were left to rot in the hot sun for days, someone realized how hard it is to bury a horse and decided to burn them. Add to the smell of manure the smell of 4,500,000 pounds of rotting horsemeat, bones, and sweat soaked horsehair wafting on the smoke-filled air.

Then there were the human remains. According to one respected source, there were approximately 7,700 dead left on the battlefield when the armies departed. I would add between 1,000 and 2,000 to that figure, because tucked among the 10,800 missing were those so completely mutilated by canister, or liquefied by an exploding shell that they would not be counted among the dead, but were still on the field, “missing.” Adding those figures up and multiplying gives us, in Civil War soldiers’ terms, a “butcher’s bill” of between 1,200,00 and 1,350,000 pounds of putrifying human flesh left lying around for several days in July.

And no one in Gettysburg could escape it. Gettysburg women took to carrying handkerchiefs soaked in rosewater to cover their noses when the wind blew in from the fields. Townsfolk would notice a strange taste and foul smell to their well water that kept getting worse, until they finally dredged up pieces of bodies blown into their water supply. And weeks after the battle, on rainy days, women would look out into their gardens and to their horror see a grizzled arm, or head emerge from a hasty grave.

Suffice it to say, the Gettysburg of today is nothing like the Gettysburg of July 4th 1863.

Mark Nesbitt Ghosts of Gettysburg Quote